Chang KH, Sanchez-Aguilera A, Shen S, Sengupta A, Madhu MN, Ficker AM, et al. Vav3 collaborates with p190-BCR-ABL in lymphoid progenitor leukemogenesis, proliferation, and survival. Blood. 2012 Jul 26;120(4):800-11.
Despite the introduction of tyrosine kinase inhibitor therapy, the prognosis for p190-BCR-ABL(+) acute lymphoblastic leukemia remains poor. In the present study, we present the cellular and molecular roles of the Rho GTPase guanine nucleotide exchange factor Vav in lymphoid leukemogenesis and explore the roles of Vav proteins in BCR-ABL-dependent signaling. We show that genetic deficiency of the guanine nucleotide exchange factor Vav3 delays leukemogenesis by p190-BCR-ABL and phenocopies the effect of Rac2 deficiency, a downstream effector of Vav3. Compensatory up-regulation of expression and activation of Vav3 in Vav1/Vav2-deficient B-cell progenitors increases the transformation ability of p190-BCR-ABL. Vav3 deficiency induces apoptosis of murine and human leukemic lymphoid progenitors, decreases the activation of Rho GTPase family members and p21-activated kinase, and is associated with increased Bad phosphorylation and up-regulation of Bax, Bak, and Bik. Finally, Vav3 activation only partly depends on ABL TK activity, and Vav3 deficiency collaborates with tyrosine kinase inhibitors to inhibit CrkL activation and impair leukemogenesis in vitro and in vivo. We conclude that Vav3 represents a novel specific molecular leukemic effector for multitarget therapy in p190-BCR-ABL-expressing acute lymphoblastic leukemia.