Constitutive Activation of JAKs and STATs in BCR-Abl-Expressing Cell Lines and Peripheral Blood Cells Derived from Leukemic Patients

Sylvia K. Chai, Gwen L. Nichols, Paul Rothman

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226 Scopus citations


An important step in the oncogenic transformation of hemopoietic cells and the subsequent development of leukemia is the proliferation of tumor cells in the absence of exogenous growth factors. In most cases of chronic myelocytic leukemia and in some cases of acute myelocytic leukemia and acute lymphocytic leukemia, the bcr-abl oncogene is involved in this process. Although the BCR-Abl oncoprotein demonstrates enhanced tyrosine kinase activity in leukemic cells, the mechanism by which this leads to growth factor independence remains poorly defined. One proposed mechanism is the activation of cytokine signal transduction pathways, possibly by an autocrine loop involving IL-3 and/or granulocyte-macrophage CSF. Examination of several different cell lines expressing BCR-Abl demonstrates that some of these cells have constitutive activation of the JAK/STAT signaling pathway. We have found the constitutive activation of STAT5 in most, but not all, cell lines expressing BCR-Abl. This constitutive activation of STAT5 is variably associated with a corresponding activation of JAK kinases. Ab blocking studies show that the activation of STAT5 in these cell lines cannot be attributed to the activation of an IL-3/granulocyte-macrophage CSF-driven autocrine loop. Interestingly, samples of peripheral blood cells derived from patients with acute myelocytic leukemia and chronic myelocytic leukemia, which express BCR-Abl, demonstrate constitutive activation of STAT family members. These studies suggest that in a variety of leukemic states, BCR-Abl may use a bypass mechanism to activate cytokine signal transduction pathways.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)4720-4728
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Immunology
Issue number10
StatePublished - Nov 15 1997
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Immunology


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