Torrano, V., Procter, J., Cardus, P., Greaves, M. & Ford, A.M.
(2011). ETV6-RUNX1 promotes survival of early B lineage progenitor cells via a dysregulated erythropoietin receptor. Blood,
Ford, A.M., Palmi, C., Bueno, C., Hong, D., Cardus, P., Knight, D., Cazzaniga, G., Enver, T. & Greaves, M.
(2009). The TEL-AML1 leukemia fusion gene dysregulates the TGF-beta pathway in early B lineage progenitor cells. J clin invest,
Chromosome translocation to generate the TEL-AML1 (also known as ETV6-RUNX1) chimeric fusion gene is a frequent and early or initiating event in childhood acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL). Our starting hypothesis was that the TEL-AML1 protein generates and maintains preleukemic clones and that conversion to overt disease requires secondary genetic changes, possibly in the context of abnormal immune responses. Here, we show that a murine B cell progenitor cell line expressing inducible TEL-AML1 proliferates at a slower rate than parent cells but is more resistant to further inhibition of proliferation by TGF-beta. This facilitates the competitive expansion of TEL-AML1-expressing cells in the presence of TGF-beta. Further analysis indicated that TEL-AML1 binds to a principal TGF-beta signaling target, Smad3, and compromises its ability to activate target promoters. In mice expressing a TEL-AML1 transgene, early, pre-pro-B cells were increased in number and also showed reduced sensitivity to TGF-beta-mediated inhibition of proliferation. Moreover, expression of TEL-AML1 in human cord blood progenitor cells led to the expansion of a candidate preleukemic stem cell population that had an early B lineage phenotype (CD34+CD38-CD19+) and a marked growth advantage in the presence of TGF-beta. Collectively, these data suggest a plausible mechanism by which dysregulated immune responses to infection might promote the malignant evolution of TEL-AML1-expressing preleukemic clones..
Isoda, T., Ford, A.M., Tomizawa, D., van Delft, F.W., de Castro, D.G., Mitsuiki, N., Score, J., Taki, T., Morio, T., Takagi, M., et al.
(2009). Immunologically silent cancer clone transmission from mother to offspring. P natl acad sci usa,
Rare cases of possible materno-fetal transmission of cancer have been recorded over the past 100 years but evidence for a shared cancer clone has been very limited. We provide genetic evidence for mother to offspring transmission, in utero, of a leukemic cell clone. Maternal and infant cancer clones shared the same unique BCR-ABL1 genomic fusion sequence, indicating a shared, single-cell origin. Microsatellite markers in the infant cancer were all of maternal origin. Additionally, the infant, maternally- derived cancer cells had a major deletion on one copy of chromosome 6p that included deletion of HLA alleles that were not inherited by the infant (i.e., foreign to the infant), suggesting a possible mechanism for immune evasion..
Greaves, M.F., Maia, A.T., Wiemels, J.L. & Ford, A.M.
(2003). Leukemia in twins: lessons in natural history. Blood,
Identical infant twins with concordant leukemia were first described in 1882, and since that time many such pairs of infants and older children have been described. It has long been recognized that this situation offers a unique opportunity to identify aspects of the developmental timing, natural history, and molecular genetics of pediatric leukemia in general. We reviewed both the older literature and more recent molecular biologic studies that have uncovered the basis of concordance of leukemia. Molecular markers of clonality, including unique, genomic fusion gene sequences, have provided unequivocal evidence that twin pairs of leukemia have a common clonal origin. The only plausible basis for this, first suggested more than 40 years ago, is that following initiation of leukemia in one twin fetus, clonal progeny spread to the co-twin via vascular anastomoses within a single, monochorionic placenta. This explanation has been endorsed by the identification of clonotypic gene fusion sequences in archived neonatal blood spots of individuals who subsequently developed leukemia. These analyses of twin leukemias have thrown considerable light on the natural history of disease. They reveal a frequent prenatal origin and an early or initiating role for chromosome translocations. Further, they provide evidence for a variable and often protracted latency and the need, in childhood acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL)/acute myeloblastic leukemia (AML), for further postnatal exposures and/or genetic events to produce clinical disease. We argue that these insights provide a very useful framework for attempts to understand etiologic mechanisms..
Ford, A.M., Fasching, K., Panzer-Grümayer, E.R., Koenig, M., Haas, O.A. & Greaves, M.F.
(2001). Origins of "late" relapse in childhood acute lymphoblastic leukemia with TEL-AML1 fusion genes. Blood,
Approximately 20% of childhood B-precursor acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) has a TEL-AML1 fusion gene, often in association with deletions of the nonrearranged TEL allele. TEL-AML1 gene fusion appears to be an initiating event and usually occurs before birth, in utero. This subgroup of ALL generally presents with low- or medium-risk features and overall has a very good prognosis. Some patients, however, do have relapses late or after the cessation of treatment, at least on some therapeutic protocols. They usually achieve sustained second remissions. Posttreatment relapses, or even very late relapses (5-20 years after diagnosis), in childhood ALL are clonally related to the leukemic cells at diagnosis (by IGH or T-cell receptor [TCR] gene sequencing) and are considered, therefore, to represent a slow re-emergence or escape of the initial clone seen at diagnosis. Microsatellite markers and fluorescence in situ hybridization identified deletions of the unrearranged TEL allele and IGH/TCR gene rearrangements were analyzed; the results show that posttreatment relapse cells in 2 patients with TEL-AML1-positive ALL were not derived from the dominant clone present at diagnosis but were from a sibling clone. In contrast, a patient who had a relapse while on treatment with TEL-AML1 fusion had essentially the same TEL deletion, though with evidence for microsatellite instability 5(') of TEL gene deletion at diagnosis, leading to extended 5(') deletion at relapse. It is speculated that, in some patients, combination chemotherapy for childhood ALL may fail to eliminate a fetal preleukemic clone with TEL-AML1 and that a second, independent transformation event within this clone after treatment gives rise to a new leukemia masquerading as relapse. (Blood. 2001;98:558-564).
Ford, A.M., Bennett, C.A., Price, C.M., Bruin, M.C., Van Wering, E.R. & Greaves, M.
(1998). Fetal origins of the TEL-AML1 fusion gene in identical twins with leukemia. Proc natl acad sci u s a,
The TEL (ETV6)-AML1 (CBFA2) gene fusion is the most common reciprocal chromosomal rearrangement in childhood cancer occurring in approximately 25% of the most predominant subtype of leukemia- common acute lymphoblastic leukemia. The TEL-AML1 genomic sequence has been characterized in a pair of monozygotic twins diagnosed at ages 3 years, 6 months and 4 years, 10 months with common acute lymphoblastic leukemia. The twin leukemic DNA shared the same unique (or clonotypic) but nonconstitutive TEL-AML1 fusion sequence. The most plausible explanation for this finding is a single cell origin of the TEL-AML fusion in one fetus in utero, probably as a leukemia-initiating mutation, followed by intraplacental metastasis of clonal progeny to the other twin. Clonal identity is further supported by the finding that the leukemic cells in the two twins shared an identical rearranged IGH allele. These data have implications for the etiology and natural history of childhood leukemia..
Ford, A.M., PombodeOliveira, M.S., McCarthy, K.P., MacLean, J.M., Carrico, K.C., Vincent, R.F. & Greaves, M.
(1997). Monoclonal origin of concordant T-cell malignancy in identical twins. Blood,
Acute leukemia has a high concordance rate in young identical twins and in infants this is known, from molecular analysis, to reflect an in utero origin in one twin followed by prenatal metastasis to the other twin via intraplacental anastomoses. The situation in older twins with leukemia has been less clear. We describe a pair of identical twins who were diagnosed with a T-cell malignancy at 9 and 11 years of age, one with T-cell non-Hodgkin's lymphoma and the other with T-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia. Leukemic cells from the twins shared the same TCR beta gene rearrangement with an identical 11 bp N region. The most plausible interpretation of this result is that these malignancies were initiated in one twin fetus in utero, in a single T-lineage cell that had stable bi-allelic TCR beta rearrangements. Progeny of this cell then spread to the other twin before birth via shared placental vasculature. This was then followed by a 9- and 11-year preleukemic latent period before clinical disease manifestation as leukemia or lymphoma. This result has considerable implications for the etiology and natural history of pediatric leukemia. (C) 1997 by The American Society of Hematology..
Ford, A.M., Bennett, C.A., Healy, L.E., Towatari, M., Greaves, M.F. & Enver, T.
(1996). Regulation of the myeloperoxidase enhancer binding proteins Pu1, C-EBP alpha, -beta, and -delta during granulocyte-lineage specification. P natl acad sci usa,
We have compared the molecular architecture and function of the myeloperoxidase upstream enhancer in multipotential versus granulocyte-committed hematopoietic progenitor cells, We show that the enhancer is accessible in multipotential cell chromatin but functionally incompetent before granulocyte commitment. Multipotential cells contain both Pu1 and C-EBP alpha as enhancer-binding activities. Pu1 is unphosphorylated in both multipotential and granulocyte-committed cells but is phosphorylated in B lymphocytes, raising the possibility that differential phosphorylation may play a role in specifying its lymphoid versus myeloid functions. C-EBP alpha exists as multiple phosphorylated forms in the nucleus of both multipotential and granulocyte-committed cells. C-EBP beta is unphosphorylated and cytoplasmically localized in multipotential cells but exists as a phosphorylated nuclear enhancer-binding activity in granulocyte-committed cells. Granulocyte colony-stimulating factor-induced granulocytic differentiation of multipotential progenitor cells results in activation of C-EBP delta expression and functional recruitment of C-EBP delta and C-EBP beta to the nucleus, Our results implicate Pu1 and the C-EBP family as critical regulators of myeloperoxidase gene expression and are consistent with a model in which a temporal exchange of C-EBP isoforms at the myeloperoxidase enhancer mediates the transition from a primed state in multipotential cells to a transcriptionally active configuration in promyelocytes..
FORD, A., RIDGE, S., CABRERA, M., MAHMOUD, H., STEEL, C., CHAN, L. & GREAVES, M.
(1993). INUTERO REARRANGEMENTS IN THE TRITHORAX-RELATED ONCOGENE IN INFANT LEUKEMIAS. Nature,
THE majority (approximately 75%) of infant acute leukaemias have a reciprocal translocation between chromosome 11q23 and one of several partner chromosomes1. The gene at 11q23 (named MLL, ALL-1, HRX or HTRX-1; refs 2-6) has been cloned and shares homology with the Drosophila developmental gene trithorax3-5. Rearrangements of this gene (called HRX here) occur in introns and cluster in a region of approximately 10 kb; individual patients have different breakpoints3-10. Here we describe three pairs of infant twins with concordant leukaemia who each share unique (clonal) but non-constitutive HRX rearrangements in their leukaemic cells, providing evidence that the leukaemogenic event originates in utero and unequivocal support for the intra-placental 'metastasis' hypothesis for leukaemia concordance in twins11..
FORD, A., WATT, S., FURLEY, A., MOLGAARD, H. & GREAVES, M.
(1988). CELL LINEAGE SPECIFICITY OF CHROMATIN CONFIGURATION AROUND THE IMMUNOGLOBULIN HEAVY-CHAIN ENHANCER. Embo j,
Mills, F.C., Fisher, L.M., Kuroda, R., Ford, A.M. & Gould, H.J.
(1983). DNase I hypersensitive sites in the chromatin of human mu immunoglobulin heavy-chain genes. Nature,
An immunoglobulin polypeptide chain is encoded by multiple gene segments that lie far apart in germ-line DNA and must be brought together to allow expression of an immunoglobulin gene active in B lymphocytes. For the immunoglobulin heavy chain genes, one of many variable (V) region genes becomes joined to one of several diversity (D) segments which are fused to one of several joining (J) segments lying 5' of the constant region (C) genes. Here we show that the rearranged mu genes of an IgM-producing human B-lymphocyte cell line exhibit pancreatic deoxyribonuclease (DNase I) hypersensitive sites in the JH-C mu intron that are absent in naked DNA or the chromatin of other differentiated cell types. DNA sequence analysis reveals that the major hypersensitive site maps to a conserved region of the JH-C mu intron recently shown to function as a tissue-specific enhancer of heavy-chain gene expression. A similar association of an enhancer-like element with a DNase I hypersensitive site has been reported for the mouse immunoglobulin light-chain J kappa-C kappa intron. These results implicate disruption of local chromatin structure in the mechanism of immunoglobulin enhancer function..
Ford, A.M., Molgaard, H.V., Greaves, M.F. & Gould, H.J.
(1983). Immunoglobulin gene organisation and expression in haematopoietic stem cell leukaemia. Embo j,