Common molecular machineries between hematopoietic stem cell (HSC) maintenance and leukemia prevention have been highlighted. The tumor suppressor Fbxw7 (F-box and WD-40 domain protein 7), a subunit of an SCF-type ubiquitin ligase complex, induces the degradation of positive regulators of the cell cycle. We demonstrate that inactivation of Fbxw7 in hematopoietic cells causes premature depletion of HSCs due to active cell cycling and p53-dependent apoptosis. Interestingly, Fbxw7 deletion also confers a selective advantage to cells with suppressed p53 function, eventually leading to development of T-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia (TALL). Thus, Fbxw7 functions as a fail-safe mechanism against both premature HSC loss and leukemogenesis.
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