Publication — IRIC
NrasG12D/+ promotes leukemogenesis by aberrantly regulating hematopoietic stem cell functions.
Oncogenic NRAS mutations are frequently identified in human myeloid leukemias. In mice, expression of endogenous oncogenic Nras (Nras(G12D/+)) in hematopoietic cells leads to expansion of myeloid progenitors, increased long-term reconstitution of bone marrow cells, and a chronic myeloproliferative neoplasm (MPN). However, acute expression of Nras(G12D/+) in a pure C57BL/6 background does not induce hyperactivated granulocyte macrophage colony-stimulating factor signaling or increased proliferation in myeloid progenitors. It is thus unclear how Nras(G12D/+) signaling promotes leukemogenesis. Here, we show that hematopoietic stem cells (HSCs) expressing Nras(G12D/+) serve as MPN-initiating cells. They undergo moderate hyperproliferation with increased self-renewal. The aberrant Nras(G12D/+) HSC function is associated with hyperactivation of ERK1/2 in HSCs. Conversely, downregulation of MEK/ERK by pharmacologic and genetic approaches attenuates the cycling of Nras(G12D/+) HSCs and prevents the expansion of Nras(G12D/+) HSCs and myeloid progenitors. Our data delineate critical mechanisms of oncogenic Nras signaling in HSC function and leukemogenesis.