Insertional mutagenesis using the Sleeping Beauty transposon system identifies drivers of erythroleukemia in mice

Keith R. Loeb, Bridget T. Hughes, Brian M. Fissel, Nyka J. Osteen, Sue E. Knoblaugh, Jonathan E. Grim, Luke J. Drury, Aaron Sarver, Adam J. Dupuy, Bruce E. Clurman

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5 Scopus citations


Insertional mutagenesis is a powerful means of identifying cancer drivers in animal models. We used the Sleeping Beauty (SB) transposon/transposase system to identify activated oncogenes in hematologic cancers in wild-type mice and mice that express a stabilized cyclin E protein (termed cyclin ET74AT393A). Cyclin E governs cell division and is misregulated in human cancers. Cyclin ET74AT393A mice develop ineffective erythropoiesis that resembles early-stage human myelodysplastic syndrome, and we sought to identify oncogenes that might cooperate with cyclin E hyperactivity in leukemogenesis. SB activation in hematopoietic precursors caused T-cell leukemia/lymphomas (T-ALL) and pure red blood cell erythroleukemias (EL). Analysis of >12,000 SB integration sites revealed markedly different oncogene activations in EL and T-ALL: Notch1 and Ikaros were most common in T-ALL, whereas ETS transcription factors (Erg and Ets1) were targeted in most ELs. Cyclin E status did not impact leukemogenesis or oncogene activations. Whereas most SB insertions were lost during culture of EL cell lines, Erg insertions were retained, indicating Erg’s key role in these neoplasms. Surprisingly, cyclin ET74AT393A conferred growth factor independence and altered Erg-dependent differentiation in EL cell lines. These studies provide new molecular insights into erythroid leukemia and suggest potential therapeutic targets for human leukemia.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number5488
JournalScientific reports
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 1 2019

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was supported by the following grants: NIH R01 CA193808 (B.E.C.), NIH 1R21CA229922 (A.J.D), and American Cancer Society 125006-RSG-13-183-01-CSM (J.E.G). This research was funded in part through the NIH/NCI Cancer Center Support Grant P30 CA015704 and a pilot grant from Core Center of Excellence in Hematology P30 DK 56465. B.E.C is supported by the Rosput Reynolds Endowed Chair.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2019, The Author(s).


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