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Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/1807/17799

Title: The Role of ATM in Promoting Normal T cell Development and Preventing T Cell Leukemogenesis
Authors: Matei, Irina
Advisor: Danska, Jayne
Guidos, Cynthia J.
Department: Medical Biophysics
Keywords: ATM
T cell development
T cell leukemia
Issue Date: 24-Sep-2009
Abstract: The immune system recognizes and eliminates an enormous array of pathogens due to the diverse antigen receptor repertoire of T and B lymphocytes. However, the development of lymphocytes bearing receptors with unique specificities requires the generation of programmed double strand breaks (DSB) coupled with bursts of proliferation, rendering lymphocytes susceptible to mutations and oncogenic transformation. Thus, mechanisms responsible for monitoring global genomic integrity, such as those coordinated by the ATM (ataxia-telangiectasia mutated) kinase, must be activated during lymphocyte development to limit the oncogenic potential of antigen receptor locus recombination. I show that ATM deficiency compromises TCRα recombination and the post-mitotic survival of T-cell receptor αβ (TCRαβ+) CD4+CD8+ (DP) thymocytes, providing a molecular and developmental basis for the immunodeficiency characteristic of ATM loss. Moreover, I show that in early thymocyte progenitors undergoing TCRβ recombination, ATM loss leads to cell cycle defects and developmental arrest, likely facilitating the acquisition of mutations that contribute to leukemogenesis. Using ATM deficiency as a murine model of T cell precursor acute lymphoblastic leukemia (T-ALL), I demonstrate that IL-7 signaling, a critical survival and proliferation signal during early stages of normal thymocyte development, is also required for leukemic maintenance. Moreover, we show for the first time that in normal and leukemic thymocyte precursors, interleukin 7 receptor (IL-7R) expression and function are controlled by Notch signaling, a key determinant of T cell fate. Collectively, these findings provide insight into the mechanisms by which ATM promotes normal lymphocyte development and protects from neoplastic transformation, while establishing the groundwork for assessing the molecular events that lead to the initiation and stepwise progression of T cell leukemogenesis.
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/1807/17799
Appears in Collections:Doctoral
Department of Medical Biophysics - Doctoral theses

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