Epigenetic alterations in a murine model for chronic lymphocytic leukemia

Shih Shih Chen, Mara H. Sherman, Erin Hertlein, Amy J. Johnson, Michael A. Teitell, John C. Byrd, Christoph Plass

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations


Early stages in the development of chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) have not been explored mainly due to the inability to study normal B-cells en route to transformation. In order to determine such early events of leukemogenesis, we have used a well established mouse model for CLL. Overexpression of human TCL1, a known CLL oncogene in murine B-cells leads to the development of mature CD19+/CD5+/IgM+ clonal leukemia with a disease phenotype similar to that seen in human CLL. Herein, we review our recent study using this TCL1-driven mouse model for CLL and corresponding human CLL samples in a cross-species epigenomics approach to address the timing and relevance of epigenetic events occurring during leukemogenesis. We demonstrated that the mouse model recapitulates the epigenetic events that have been reported for human CLL, affirming the power and validity of this mouse model to study early epigenetic events in cancer progression. Epigenetic alterations are detected as early as three months after birth, far before disease manifests at about 11 months of age. These mice undergo NFκB repressor complex mediated inactivation of the transcription factor Foxd3, whose targets become aberrantly methylated and silenced in mouse and human CLL. Overall, our data suggest the accumulated epigenetic alterations during CLL pathogenesis as a consequence of gene silencing through TCL1 and NFκB repressor complex, suggesting the relevance for NFκB as a therapeutic target in CLL.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3663-3667
Number of pages5
JournalCell Cycle
Issue number22
StatePublished - Nov 15 2009
Externally publishedYes


  • CLL
  • Epigenetics
  • Genetics
  • Methylation
  • TCL1

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Developmental Biology
  • Cell Biology


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