Constitutive activation of FMS-like tyrosine kinase 3 (FLT3) by internal tandem duplication (ITD) mutations is one of the most common molecular alterations known in acute myeloid leukemia (AML). To investigate the role FLT3/ITD mutations play in the development of leukemia, we generated a FLT3/ITD knock-in mouse model by inserting an ITD mutation into the juxtamembrane domain of murine Flt3. FLT3wt/ITD mice developed myeloproliferative disease, characterized by splenomegaly, leukocytosis, and myeloid hypercellularity, which progressed to mortality by 6 to 20 months. Bone marrow (BM) and spleen from FLT3wt/ITD mice had an increased fraction of granulocytes/monocytes and dendritic cells, and a decreased fraction of B-lymphocytes. No sign of acute leukemia was observed over the lifetime of these mice. BM from FLT3wt/ITD mice showed enhanced potential to generate myeloid colonies in vitro. BM from FLT3wt/ITD mice also produced more spleen colonies in the in vivo colony-forming unit (CFU)-spleen assay. In the long-term competitive repopulation assay, BM cells from FLT3wt/ITD mice out-grew the wild-type competitor cells and showed increased myeloid and reduced lymphoid expansion activity. In summary, our data indicate that expression of FLT3/ITD mutations alone is capable of conferring normal hematopoietic stem/progenitor cells (HSPCs) with enhanced myeloid expansion. It also appears to suppress B lymphoid maturation. Additional cooperative events appear to be required to progress to acute leukemia.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cell Biology