Hhex Is a Critical Gene In The Development Of Normal and Malignant Lymphoid Cells
Goodings C., Smith SB., Mathias E., Smith E., Tripathi R., Elliott NE., Cleveland S., Dave UP., Du Y.
Abstract Hematopoietically expressed homeobox (Hhex) is a T-cell oncogene. It is frequently deregulated in murine retroviral insertional mutagenesis screens and its enforced expression induces T-cell leukemia in bone marrow transduction and transplantation experiments. We discovered that HHEX is a direct transcriptional target of an LIM domain Only-2 (LMO2)-associated protein complex. HHEX clusters with LMO2-overexpressing T-ALLs and is especially overexpressed in Early T-cell Precursor (ETP) – ALL where it is a direct transcriptional target of LMO2. To further understand Hhex's function, we induced a conditional knockout in floxed Hhex mice with the Vav-iCre transgene. Mice were viable and showed normal blood cell counts with highly efficient deletion of Hhex in all hematopoietic tissues. Thymocytes from conditional knockouts showed a normal pattern of development. Most impressively, Hhex conditional knockout markedly prolonged the latency of T-ALL onset in CD2-Lmo2 transgenic mice (figure 1). Hhex conditional knockouts (Hhex cKOs) also had a significant decrease in mature B cells in the spleen and bone marrow. Interestingly, hematopoietic stem and progenitor cells plated on OP9-GFP or OP9-DL1 stromal cells showed proliferative defects and incomplete differentiation towards both B and T lineage. Also under stress conditions such as sublethal irradiation and competitive bone marrow transplants, Hhex conditional knockouts show a marked defect in both B and T lineages but an increase in early progenitor populations. Our experiments show that Hhex is a critical transcription factor in lymphoid development and in LMO2-induced T-ALL.Figure 1Hhex conditional knockout markedly prolonged the latency of T-ALL onset in CD2-Lmo2 transgenic miceFigure 1. Hhex conditional knockout markedly prolonged the latency of T-ALL onset in CD2-Lmo2 transgenic mice Disclosures: No relevant conflicts of interest to declare.