The Journal of biological chemistry 2018 03 23() pii 10.1074/jbc.RA118.002417
Granulocyte colony-stimulating factor (G-CSF or CSF3) and its receptor CSF3R regulate granulopoiesis, neutrophil function, and hematopoietic stem cell mobilization. Recent studies have uncovered an oncogenic role of mutations in the CSF3R gene in many hematologic malignancies. To find additional CSF3R mutations that give rise to cell transformation, we performed a cellular transformation assay in which murine interleukin 3 (IL-3)-dependent Ba/F3 cells were transduced with wildtype CSF3R plasmid and screened for spontaneous growth in the absence of IL-3. Any outgrowth clones were sequenced to identify CSF3R mutations with transformation capacity. We identified several novel mutations and determined that they transform cells via four distinct mechanisms: (1) cysteine- and disulfide bond-mediated dimerization (S581C); (2) polar, non-charged amino acid substitution at the transmembrane helix dimer interface at residue Thr-640; (3) increased internalization by a Glu-524 substitution that mimics a low G-CSF dose; and (4) hydrophobic amino acid substitutions in the membrane-proximal residues Thr-612, Thr-615, and Thr-618. Furthermore, the change in signaling activation was related to an altered CSF3R localization. We also found that CSF3R-induced STAT3 and ERK activations require CSF3R internalization, whereas STAT5 activation occurred at the cell surface. Cumulatively, we have expanded the regions of the CSF3R extracellular and transmembrane domains in which missense mutations exhibit leukemogenic capacity and have further elucidated the mechanistic underpinnings that underlie altered CSF3R expression, dimerization, and signaling activation.