Open Access Research article

Gene profiling of the erythro- and megakaryoblastic leukaemias induced by the Graffi murine retrovirus

Veronique Voisin12, Philippe Legault1, Diana Paulina Salazar Ospina1, Yaacov Ben-David2 and Eric Rassart1*

Author Affiliations

1 Laboratoire de Biologie Moléculaire, Département des Sciences Biologiques, Centre BioMed, Université du Québec à Montréal, Case Postale 8888 Succursale Centre-ville, Montréal, QC, H3C-3P8, Canada

2 Sunnybrook Health Sciences Center, 2075 Bayview Ave. S223B, Toronto. ON, M4N 3M5, Canada

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BMC Medical Genomics 2010, 3:2  doi:10.1186/1755-8794-3-2

Published: 26 January 2010



Acute erythro- and megakaryoblastic leukaemias are associated with very poor prognoses and the mechanism of blastic transformation is insufficiently elucidated. The murine Graffi leukaemia retrovirus induces erythro- and megakaryoblastic leukaemias when inoculated into NFS mice and represents a good model to study these leukaemias.


To expand our understanding of genes specific to these leukaemias, we compared gene expression profiles, measured by microarray and RT-PCR, of all leukaemia types induced by this virus.


The transcriptome level changes, present between the different leukaemias, led to the identification of specific cancerous signatures. We reported numerous genes that may be potential oncogenes, may have a function related to erythropoiesis or megakaryopoiesis or have a poorly elucidated physiological role. The expression pattern of these genes has been further tested by RT-PCR in different samples, in a Friend erythroleukaemic model and in human leukaemic cell lines.

We also screened the megakaryoblastic leukaemias for viral integrations and identified genes targeted by these integrations and potentially implicated in the onset of the disease.


Taken as a whole, the data obtained from this global gene profiling experiment have provided a detailed characterization of Graffi virus induced erythro- and megakaryoblastic leukaemias with many genes reported specific to the transcriptome of these leukaemias for the first time.