Hematopoietic overexpression of the transcription factor Erg induces lymphoid and erythro-megakaryocytic leukemia

Catherine L. Carmichael, Donald Metcalf, Katya J Henley, Elizabeth A. Kruse, Ladina Di Ragoa, Sandra Mifsud, Warren S. Alexander, Benjamin T. Kile

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The transcription factor encoded by the E-twenty-six (ETS)-related gene, ERG, is an essential regulator of hematopoietic stem cell function and a potent human oncoprotein. Enforced expression of ERG in murine hematopoietic cells leads to the development of a well-characterized lymphoid leukemia and a less well-defined non lymphoid disease. To clarify the latter, we generated murine bone marrow chimeras with enforced Erg expression in engrafted hematopoietic progenitor cells. As expected, these mice developed lymphoid leukemia. However, the previously reported non lymphoid disease that developed was shown to be a uniform, transplantable leukemia with both erythroid and megakaryocytic characteristics. In vivo, this disease had the overall appearance of an erythroleukemia, with an accumulation of immature erythroblasts that infiltrated the bone marrow, spleen, liver, and lung. However, when stimulated in vitro, leukemic cell clones exhibited both erythroid and megakaryocytic differentiation, suggesting that transformation occurred in a bipotential progenitor. Thus, in mice, Erg overexpression induces the development of not only lymphoid leukemia but also erythro-megakaryocytic leukemia.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)15437-15442
Number of pages6
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Issue number38
Publication statusPublished - 18 Sep 2012
Externally publishedYes


  • Hematopoiesis
  • Oncogenesis

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