Interferon consensus sequence binding protein (ICSBP) is a transcription factor of the interferon (IFN) regulatory factor (IRF) family. Mice with a null mutation of ICSBP exhibit two prominent phenotypes related to previously described activities of the IRF family. The first is enhanced susceptibility to virus infections associated with impaired production of IFN(gamma). The second is deregulated hematopoiesis in both ICSBP-/- and ICSBP+/- mice that manifests as a syndrome similar to human chronic myelogenous leukemia. The chronic period of the disease progresses to a fatal blast crisis characterized by a clonal expansion of undifferentiated cells. Normal mice injected with cells from mice in blast crisis developed acute leukemia within 6 weeks of transfer. These results suggest a novel role for ICSBP in regulating the proliferation and differentiation of hematopoietic progenitor cells.
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