Apoptosis and the molecular complementation of bcl-2,myc andp53 in multistep lymphomagenesis

Maria del Carmen Marin-Vieira, The University of Texas Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences at Houston


Follicular lymphoma is the most common lymphoid malignancy in humans. The bcl-2 transgenic mice, which mimic the human follicular lymphoma, initially exhibit a polyclonal hyperplasia due to the overriding of apoptosis by deregulated bcl-2. After a latency period of 15 month 20% of the animals developed clonal lymphomas. Approximately, 50% of these high grade lymphomas presented chromosomal translocations involving c-myc, suggesting that deregulation of this gene is important in the complementation with bcl-2. E$\mu$-myc x bcl-2 double transgenic mice were generated to assess the ability of this two genes to complement in an in vivo system. The double transgenic mice presented a shortened latency (3-4 weeks) and higher incidence of tumor development. Quantification of the extent of programmed cell death indicated that bcl-2 can abrogate the high rate of apoptotic cell death that results from myc deregulation. Bcl-2-Ig, E$\mu$-myc, and bcl-2/E$\mu$-myc lymphomas were examined using PCR-SSCP to detect the presence of p53 mutations in exons 5-9. A high incidence of p53 mutations in E$\mu$-myc lymphomas suggested that inactivating lesions of p53 may represent an important step in the genetic complementation of c-myc in lymphomagenesis. Surprisingly, p53 mutations were quite uncommon in bcl-2 lymphomas suggesting that inactivating mutations of p53 and overexpression of bcl-2 may not cooperate in lymphoma progression. To assess this question, we generated mice that contained a deregulated bcl-2 gene and were nullizygous for p53 (p53KO). No reduction in the tumor latency was observed in the p53KO/bcl-2-Ig hybrid mice when compared with p53 KO mice. Using splenic mononuclear cells isolated from p53KO mice and bcl-2 transgenic mice we demonstrated that bcl-2 suppresses p53 mediated apoptosis in response to DNA damage initiated by $\gamma$-radiation even though p53 protein is induced normally in the bcl-2 overexpressing cells. Western analysis of the expression of p53 target proteins after $\gamma$-radiation showed a correlation between the p53-dependent induction of bax protein after radiation and the ability of p53 to mediate apoptosis.

Subject Area

Cellular biology|Molecular biology|Oncology

Recommended Citation

Marin-Vieira, Maria del Carmen, "Apoptosis and the molecular complementation of bcl-2,myc andp53 in multistep lymphomagenesis" (1996). Texas Medical Center Dissertations (via ProQuest). AAI9732772.