The NF-kB proteins are transcriptional regulators that bind cognate DNA elements as homo- or heterodimers

ectural defects, with reduced and disorganized medulla and fewer UEA-1+ mTECs than wild-type mice. These defects are restored by adoptive transfer of mature T cells. The combined deficiency of Tcra and Relb, but not Tcra deficiency alone, delayed TEL-JAK2-induced leukemia onset, thus indicating that, contrary to the RelB-deficient thymic defects, those found in TCRa-deficient mice have no detectable impact on leukemia development. Gray et al have recently shown that TCRa-deficient thymi lack MHC IIlo/Ly512 cells, while RelB Promotes Leukemogenesis RelB-deficient thymi additionally lack MHC IIhi/Ly512 cells. It is thus tempting to speculate that specifically mTEChi cells assist TEL-JAK2-induced T-cell leukemogenesis, although we cannot AG-221 site exclude an additional requirement for a RelB-dependent function in other stromal cells including DCs or cortical thymic epithelial cells. Moreover, RelB-dependent thymic stromal cells may assist TEL-JAK2 leukemogenesis either directly, through cell-cell contact or paracrine growth factor stimulation, or indirectly by stimulating other stromal cells to interact with leukemic cells. The nature of the molecular signals emanating from the thymic or lymph node stroma that favor T-cell leukemia initiation or progression remains to be identified. It is likely that RelB activity in mTEC or lymphoid organ stromal cells induces the expression of genes that favor T-cell leukemogenesis. Proteins known to play a role in thymic function include 10336422 cytokine/growth factors, chemokines, cell surface receptors and adhesion molecules . RelB DNA-binding activity can be 17804601 stimulated by RANK and LTbR, two receptors coupled to NF-kB activation and shown to be important for thymic medulla and lymphoid organ formation. Both receptors activate NF-kB through the canonical and noncanonical pathways, with RANK specifically requiring TRAF6. LTbR signaling in thymic mTECs and in lymph node DCs induces expression of Ccl19 and Ccl21, which are known RelB target genes, and of these chemokines as well as MAdCAM1, ICAM-1, and VCAM-1 in lymph node stromal cell organizers. Since TEL-JAK2 leukemic cells express the Ccr7 transcript, encoding the receptor for the Ccl19 and Ccl21 chemokines, and display cell surface expression of the ICAM-1 receptor LFA-1, it is tempting to speculate that these NF-kB signaling-dependent targets may play a role in TEL-JAK2-induced leukemogenesis. Recent studies have shown that the composition of the thymic stroma is dynamic and modulated by particular stimuli . It is thus possible that leukemic T cells analogously induce qualitative and/ or quantitative changes in thymic stromal populations. Our transcriptomic analysis showed higher expression levels of the LTa- and LTb-encoding genes in TEL-JAK2 leukemic cells as compared to normal thymocytes. It is therefore possible that LTa1b2 production by leukemic cells may modulate the thymic microenvironment in its favor through interaction with LTbR-expressing stromal cells and in this way contribute to leukemogenesis. Our data cannot discriminate whether RelB-dependent stromal cells facilitate the initiation or the progression of T-cell leukemia, or both. Nevertheless, the limited tumor burden in thymus and lymph nodes of terminally ill TEL-JAK2;Tcra2/2;Relb2/2 and TEL-JAK2;Tcra2/2RTcra2/2;Relb2/2 mice suggests that the RelB-dependent thymic microenvironment favors the expansion of transformed leukemic cells. During normal T-cell development, Tcra2/2;Relb2/2 thymi presented a

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