Acute megakaryoblastic leukemia (AMKL) is a form of acute myeloid leukemia (AML) associated with a poor prognosis. The genetics and pathophysiology of AMKL are not well understood. We generated a knockin mouse model of the one twenty-two-megakaryocytic acute leukemia (OTT-MAL) fusion oncogene that results from the t(1;22)(p13;q13) translocation specifically associated with a subtype of pediatric AMKL. We report here that OTT-MAL expression deregulated transcriptional activity of the canonical Notch signaling pathway transcription factor recombination signal binding protein for immunoglobulin kappa J region (RBPJ) and caused abnormal fetal megakaryopoiesis. Furthermore, cooperation between OTT-MAL and an activating mutation of the thrombopoietin receptor myeloproliferative leukemia virus oncogene (MPL) efficiently induced a short-latency AMKL that recapitulated all the features of human AMKL, including megakaryoblast hyperproliferation and maturation block, thrombocytopenia, organomegaly, and extensive fibrosis. Our results establish that concomitant activation of RBPJ (Notch signaling) and MPL (cytokine signaling) transforms cells of the megakaryocytic lineage and suggest that specific targeting of these pathways could be of therapeutic value for human AMKL.
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