Eur J Haematol. 2020 Oct 24. doi: 10.1111/ejh.13540. Online ahead of print.
OBJECTIVES: Adult T-cell leukemia/lymphoma (ATL) is an intractable T-cell malignancy caused by long-term infection with human T-cell leukemia virus type-1 (HTLV-1). While ATL pathogenesis has been associated with HTLV-1-derived oncogenic proteins, including Tax and HBZ, the contribution of genomic aberrations remains poorly defined.
METHODS: To elucidate the genomic basis of ATL, whole exome sequencing was performed on cells from 47 patients with aggressive ATL.
RESULTS: We discovered the novel mutation RLTPR Q575E in four patients (8.5 %) with a median variant allele frequency of 0.52 (range 0.11-0.68). Despite being reported in cutaneous T-cell lymphoma, three ATL patients carrying RLTPR Q575E lacked skin involvement. Patients carrying RLTPR Q575E also harbored CARD11 (75 %), PLCG1 (25 %), PRKCB (25 %), or IKBKB (25 %) mutations related to TCR/NF-κB signaling. Jurkat cells transfected with RLTPR Q575E cDNA displayed increased NF-κB activity, and significantly increased IL-2 mRNA levels under stimulation. RLTPR Q575E increased the interaction between RLTPR and CARD11, while RLTPR directly interacted with Tax.
CONCLUSIONS: We identified, and functionally validated, a novel gain-of-function mutation in patients with aggressive ATL. During TCR activation by Tax or gain-of-function mutations, RLTPR Q575E selectively upregulates NF-κB signaling and may exert oncogenic effects on ATL pathogenesis.