Ndrg1b and fam49ab modulate the PTEN pathway to control T-cell lymphopoiesis in the zebrafish

Roman A. Li, David Traver, Thomas Matthes and Julien Y. Bertrand

Key Points

  • fam49a is a negative regulator of PTEN.

  • fam49a controls T cell differentiation.


During hematopoiesis, the balance between proliferation, differentiation, and apoptosis is tightly regulated in order to maintain homeostasis. Failure in these processes can ultimately lead to uncontrolled proliferation and leukemia. Phosphatase and tensin homolog (PTEN) is one of the molecular pathways involved in this balance. By opposing PI3-kinases, PTEN inhibits proliferation and promotes differentiation and is thus considered a tumor suppressor. Indeed, PTEN is frequently mutated in many cancers, including leukemias. Loss of PTEN often leads to lymphoid cancers. However, little is known about the molecular events that regulate PTEN signaling during lymphopoiesis. In this study, we used zebrafish to address this. We report that N-myc downstream-regulated gene 1b (ndrg1b) rescues lymphoid differentiation after PTEN inhibition. We also show that a previously uncharacterized gene, fam49ab, inhibits T-cell differentiation, a phenotype that can be rescued by ndrg1b. We propose that ndrg1b and fam49ab are 2 new modulators of PTEN signaling that control lymphoid differentiation in the zebrafish thymus.

  • Submitted September 27, 2016.
  • Accepted November 4, 2016.
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