Philadelphia (Ph)-positive leukemias invariably contain a chromosomal translocation fusing BCR to ABL. The BCR-ABL protein is responsible for leukemogenesis. Here we show that exposure of bcr-null mutant mice to gram-negative endotoxin led to severe septic shock and increased tissue injury by neutrophils. Neutrophils of bcr (-/-) mice showed a pronounced increase in reactive oxygen metabolite production upon activation and were more sensitive to priming stimuli. Activated (-/-) neutrophils displayed a 3-fold increased p21rac2 membrane translocation compared with (+/+) neutrophils. These results connect Bcr in vivo with the regulation of Rac-mediated superoxide production by the NADPH-oxidase system of leukocytes and suggest a link between Bcr function and the cell type affected in Ph-positive leukemia.
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