A conditional model of MLL-AF4 B-cell tumourigenesis using invertor technology.
Metzler M., Forster A., Pannell R., Arends MJ., Daser A., Lobato MN., Rabbitts TH.
MLL-AF4 fusion is the most common consequence of chromosomal translocations in infant leukaemia and is associated with a poor prognosis. MLL-AF4 is thought to be required in haematopoietic stem cells to elicit leukaemia and may be involved in tumour phenotype specification as it is only found in B-cell tumours in humans. We have employed the invertor conditional technology to create a model of MLL-AF4, in which a floxed AF4 cDNA was knocked into Mll in the opposite orientation for transcription. Cell-specific Cre expression was used to generate Mll-AF4 expression. The mice develop exclusively B-cell lineage neoplasias, whether the Cre gene was controlled by B- or T-cell promoters, but of a more mature phenotype than normally observed in childhood leukaemia. These findings show that the MLL-AF4 fusion protein does not have a mandatory role in multi-potent haematopoietic stem cells to cause cancer and indicates that MLL-AF4 has an instructive function in the phenotype of the tumour.