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Distinct GAB2 signaling pathways are essential for myeloid and lymphoid transformation and leukemogenesis by BCR-ABL1


Tyrosine kinase inhibitors (TKIs) directed against BCR-ABL1, the product of the Philadelphia (Ph) chromosome, have revolutionized treatment of patients with chronic myeloid leukemia (CML). However, acquired resistance to TKIs is a significant clinical problem in CML, and TKI therapy is much less effective against Ph(+)B-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia (B-ALL). BCR-ABL1, via phosphorylated Tyr177, recruits the adapter GRB2-associated binding protein 2 (GAB2) as part of a GRB2/GAB2 complex. We showed previously that GAB2 is essential for BCR-ABL1-evoked myeloid transformation in vitro. Using a genetic strategy and mouse models of CML and B-ALL, we show here that GAB2 is essential for myeloid and lymphoid leukemogenesis by BCR-ABL1. In the mouse model, recipients of BCR-ABL1-transducedGab2(-/-)bone marrow failed to develop CML-like myeloproliferative neoplasia. Leukemogenesis was restored by expression of GAB2 but not by GAB2 mutants lacking binding sites for its effectors phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase (PI3K) or SRC homology 2-containing phosphotyrosine phosphatase 2 (SHP2). GAB2 deficiency also attenuated BCR-ABL1-induced B-ALL, but only the SHP2 binding site was required. The SHP2 and PI3K binding sites were differentially required for signaling downstream of GAB2. Hence, GAB2 transmits critical transforming signals from Tyr177 to PI3K and SHP2 for CML pathogenesis, whereas only the GAB2-SHP2 pathway is essential for lymphoid leukemogenesis. Given that GAB2 is dispensable for normal hematopoiesis, GAB2 and its effectors PI3K and SHP2 represent promising targets for therapy in Ph(+)hematologic neoplasms.

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