Oncogenic activation loop KIT mutations are observed in acute myeloid leukemia (AML) and systemic mastocytosis (SM); however, unlike the KIT juxtamembrane mutants, the activation loop mutants are insensitive to imatinib mesylate. Furthermore, as prior studies primarily used heterologous cell lines, the molecular mechanism(s) underlying oncogenic KIT-induced transformation in primary cells is poorly understood. We demonstrate that expression of KITD814V in primary hematopoietic stem/progenitor cells (HSC/Ps) and mast cell progenitors (MCps) induces constitutive KIT autophosphorylation, supports ligand-independent hyperproliferation, and promotes promiscuous cooperation with multiple cytokines. Genetic disruption of p85α, the regulatory subunit of class IA lipid kinase phosphoinositol-3-kinase (PI3K), but not of p85β, or genetic disruption of the hematopoietic cellspecific Rho GTPase, Rac2, normalizes KITD814V-induced ligand-independent hyperproliferation. Additionally, deficiency of p85α or Rac2 corrects the promiscuous hyperproliferation observed in response to multiple cytokines in both KITD814V-expressing HSC/Ps and MCps. Treatment of KITD814V-expressing HSC/Ps with a Rac inhibitor (NC23766) or with rapamycin showed a dose-dependent suppression in ligand-independent growth. Taken together, our results identify p85 and Rac2 as potential novel therapeutic targets for the treatment of KITD814V-bearing AML and SM.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cell Biology