Deficiency of Wiskott–Aldrich syndrome protein has opposing effect on the pro-oncogenic pathway activation in nonmalignant versus malignant lymphocytes

Seong Su Han, Kuo Kuang Wen, Yatin M. Vyas

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Immunodeficiency is associated with cancer risk. Accordingly, hematolymphoid cancers develop in Wiskott–Aldrich syndrome (WAS), an X-linked primary immunodeficiency disorder (PID) resulting from the deficiency of WAS-protein (WASp) expressed predominantly in the hematolymphoid cell lineages. Despite the correlation between WASp deficiency and hematolymphoid cancers, the molecular mechanism underlying the oncogenic role of WASp is incompletely understood. Employing the WASp-sufficient and WASp-deficient cell-pair model of human T and B lymphocytes, we show that WASp deficiency differentially influences hyperactivation versus inhibition of both CDC42:ERK1/2 and NF-κB:AP-1 pro-oncogenic signaling pathways in nonmalignant versus malignant T and B lymphocytes. Furthermore, WASp deficiency induces a cell-type specific up/down-modulation of the DNA-binding activities of NF-κB, AP-1, and multiple other transcription factors with known roles in oncogenesis. We propose that WASp functions as a putative “tumor-suppressor” protein in normal T and B cells, and “oncoprotein” in a subset of established T and B cell malignancies that are not associated with the NPM-ALK fusion.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)345-354
Number of pages10
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jan 14 2021

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Molecular Biology
  • Genetics
  • Cancer Research

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