Mutant IL7R collaborates with MYC to induce T-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia

Mariana L. Oliveira, Alexandra Veloso, Elaine G. Garcia, Sowmya Iyer, Clara Pereira, Vasco M. Barreto, David M. Langenau, João T. Barata

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)
13 Downloads (Pure)


T-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia (T-ALL) is an aggressive pediatric cancer. Amongst the wide array of driver mutations, 10% of T-ALL patients display gain-of-function mutations in the IL-7 receptor α chain (IL-7Rα, encoded by IL7R), which occur in different molecular subtypes of this disease. However, it is still unclear whether IL-7R mutational activation is sufficient to transform T-cell precursors. Also, which genes cooperate with IL7R to drive leukemogenesis remain poorly defined. Here, we demonstrate that mutant IL7R alone is capable of inducing T-ALL with long-latency in stable transgenic zebrafish and transformation is associated with MYC transcriptional activation. Additionally, we find that mutant IL7R collaborates with Myc to induce early onset T-ALL in transgenic zebrafish, supporting a model where these pathways collaborate to drive leukemogenesis. T-ALLs co-expressing mutant IL7R and Myc activate STAT5 and AKT pathways, harbor reduced numbers of apoptotic cells and remake tumors in transplanted zebrafish faster than T-ALLs expressing Myc alone. Moreover, limiting-dilution cell transplantation experiments reveal that activated IL-7R signaling increases the overall frequency of leukemia propagating cells. Our work highlights a synergy between mutant IL7R and Myc in inducing T-ALL and demonstrates that mutant IL7R enriches for leukemia propagating potential.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1533-1540
Number of pages8
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 17 May 2022


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