A transgenic mouse model demonstrating the oncogenic role of mutations in the polycomb-group gene EZH2 in lymphomagenesis.

Tobias Berg, Silvia Thoene, Damian Yap, Tracee Wee, Nathalie Schoeler, Patty Rosten, Emilia Lim, Misha Bilenky, Andrew J Mungall, Thomas Oellerich, Sherry Lee, Courteney K Lai, Patricia Umlandt, Anisa Salmi, Harry Chang, Lisa Yue, David Lai, S-W Grace Cheng, Ryan D Morin, Martin Hirst, Hubert Serve, Marco A Marra, Gregg B Morin, Randy D Gascoyne, Samuel A Aparicio, R Keith Humphries, Blood 123, 3914-24 (2014)


The histone methyltransferase EZH2 is frequently mutated in germinal center-derived diffuse large B-cell lymphoma and follicular lymphoma. To further characterize these EZH2 mutations in lymphomagenesis, we generated a mouse line where EZH2(Y641F) is expressed from a lymphocyte-specific promoter. Spleen cells isolated from the transgenic mice displayed a global increase in trimethylated H3K27, but the mice did not show an increased tendency to develop lymphoma. As EZH2 mutations often coincide with other mutations in lymphoma, we combined the expression of EZH2(Y641F) by crossing these transgenic mice with Eµ-Myc transgenic mice. We observed a dramatic acceleration of lymphoma development in this combination model of Myc and EZH2(Y641F). The lymphomas show histologic features of high-grade disease with a shift toward a more mature B-cell phenotype, increased cycling and gene expression, and epigenetic changes involving important pathways in B-cell regulation and function. Furthermore, they initiate disease in secondary recipients. In summary, EZH2(Y641F) can collaborate with Myc to accelerate lymphomagenesis demonstrating a cooperative role of EZH2 mutations in oncogenesis. This murine lymphoma model provides a new tool to study global changes in the epigenome caused by this frequent mutation and a promising model system for testing novel treatments.