Analysis of Rho GTPase expression in T-ALL identifies RhoU as a target for Notch involved in T-ALL cell migration.

Oncogene

PubMedID: 22349824

Bhavsar PJ, Infante E, Khwaja A, Ridley AJ. Analysis of Rho GTPase expression in T-ALL identifies RhoU as a target for Notch involved in T-ALL cell migration. Oncogene. 2013;32(2):198-208.
NOTCH1 is frequently mutated in T-cell acute lymphoblastic leukaemia (T-ALL), and can stimulate T-ALL cell survival and proliferation. Here we explore the hypothesis that Notch1 also alters T-ALL cell migration. Rho GTPases are well known to regulate cell adhesion and migration. We have analysed the expression levels of Rho GTPases in primary T-ALL samples compared with normal T cells by quantitative PCR. We found that 5 of the 20 human Rho genes are highly and consistently upregulated in T-ALL, and 3 further Rho genes are expressed in T-ALL but not detectable in normal T cells. Of these, RHOU expression is highly correlated with the expression of the Notch1 target DELTEX-1. Inhibition of Notch1 signalling with a ?-secretase inhibitor (GSI) or Notch1 RNA interference reduced RhoU expression in T-ALL cells, whereas constitutively active Notch1 increased RhoU expression. In addition, Notch1 or RhoU depletion, or GSI treatment, inhibits T-ALL cell adhesion, migration and chemotaxis. These results indicate that NOTCH1 mutation stimulates T-ALL cell migration through RhoU upregulation that could contribute to the leukaemia cell dissemination.