A Knock-In Mouse Model of Thymoma With the GTF2I L424H Mutation

Published:August 29, 2022DOI:



      The pathogenesis of thymic epithelial tumors remains largely unknown. We previously identified GTF2I L424H as the most frequently recurrent mutation in thymic epithelial tumors. Nevertheless, the precise role of this mutation in tumorigenesis of thymic epithelial cells is unclear.


      To investigate the role of GTF2I L424H mutation in thymic epithelial cells in vivo, we generated and characterized a mouse model in which the Gtf2i L424H mutation was conditionally knocked-in in the Foxn1+ thymic epithelial cells. Digital spatial profiling was performed on thymomas and normal thymic tissues with GeoMx-mouse whole transcriptome atlas. Immunohistochemistry staining was performed using both mouse tissues and human thymic epithelial tumors.


      We observed that the Gtf2i mutation impairs development of the thymic medulla and maturation of medullary thymic epithelial cells in young mice and causes tumor formation in the thymus of aged mice. Cell cycle-related pathways, such as E2F targets and MYC targets, are enriched in the tumor epithelial cells. Results of gene set variation assay analysis revealed that gene signatures of cortical thymic epithelial cells and thymic epithelial progenitor cells are also enriched in the thymomas of the knock-in mice, which mirrors the human counterparts in The Cancer Genome Atlas database. Immunohistochemistry results revealed similar expression pattern of epithelial cell markers between mouse and human thymomas.


      We have developed and characterized a novel thymoma mouse model. This study improves knowledge of the molecular drivers in thymic epithelial cells and provides a tool for further study of the biology of thymic epithelial tumors and for development of novel therapies.


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