GSBS Dissertations and Theses

Approval Date

5-10-2013

Document Type

Doctoral Dissertation

Academic Program

Cancer Biology

Department

Molecular, Cell and Cancer Biology Department

First Thesis Advisor

Michelle Kelliher, PhD

Keywords

Notch1 Receptor, Precursor T-Cell Lymphoblastic Leukemia-Lymphoma, myc Genes

Subjects

Dissertations, UMMS; Receptor, Notch1; Precursor T-Cell Lymphoblastic Leukemia-Lymphoma; Genes, myc

Abstract

Although cure rates have significantly improved for children with T-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia (T-ALL), 20-30% undergo induction failure or relapse with most succumbing to disease. Leukemia-initiating cells (L-ICs) are hypothesized to be resistant to conventional chemotherapy and radiation and are thereby responsible for disease recurrence. Using an in vivo limiting dilution assay, we previously showed that the murine T-ALL L-IC is quite rare, with only 0.003-0.05% of cells capable of initiating disease, and demonstrated that the L-IC is a subset of the leukemic DN3 thymic progenitor population. Work described in this thesis validates the L-IC assay using two transplantation methods to rule out effects of homing and/or microenvironment on T-ALL L-IC survival and maintenance. Using this assay, we demonstrate that sustained Notch1 signaling is required for T-ALL initiation in vivo and show that treatment with a Notch1 inhibitor reduces or in some cases eliminates the L-IC population. We further analyze the effects of inhibiting c-Myc, a Notch1-regulated gene, on L-IC frequency and uncover an essential role for c-Myc in L-IC survival and expansion. Suppressing c-Myc by using specific shRNAs or a c-Myc inhibitor reduces the L-IC population and interferes with leukemia initiation. Together, these findings reveal a critical role of the Notch1-c-Myc pathway in T-ALL initiation and suggest that therapeutics targeted at this pathway could be used to treat and/or prevent disease relapse in patients.

DOI

10.13028/M2NC8V

Rights and Permissions

Copyright is held by the author, with all rights reserved.

Share

COinS
 
 

To view the content in your browser, please download Adobe Reader or, alternately,
you may Download the file to your hard drive.

NOTE: The latest versions of Adobe Reader do not support viewing PDF files within Firefox on Mac OS and if you are using a modern (Intel) Mac, there is no official plugin for viewing PDF files within the browser window.