Abstract

MicroRNAs (miRNAs) have been extensively reported to be associated with hematological malignancies. The loss of miR-15a/16-1 at chromosome 13q14 is a hallmark of most of human chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL). Deletion of murine miR-15a/16-1 and miR-15b/16-2 has been demonstrated to promote B cell malignancies. Here, we evaluate the biological role of miR-15/16 clusters, crossbreeding miR-15a/16-1 and miR-15b/16-2 knockout mice. Unexpectedly, the complete deletion of both clusters promoted myeloproliferative disorders in the majority of the mice by the age of 5 months with a penetrance of 70%. These mice showed a significant enlargement of spleen and abnormal swelling of lymph nodes. Flow cytometry characterization demonstrated an expanded CD11b/Gr-1 double-positive myeloid population both in spleen and in bone marrow. The transplantation of splenocytes harvested from double- KO mice into wild-type recipient mice resulted in the development of myeloproliferative disorders, as observed in the donors. In vivo, miR-15/16 cluster deletion up-regulated the expression of Cyclin D1, Cyclin D2, and Bcl-2. Taken together, our findings identify a driver oncogenic role for miR-15/16 cluster deletion in different leukocytic cell lineages.