The AML1-CBFβ transcription factor complex is essential for the definitive hematopoiesis of all lineages and is the most frequent target of chromosomal rearrangements in human leukemia. In the t(8;21) translocation associated with acute myeloid leukemia (AML), the AML1(CBFA2/PEBP2αB) gene is juxtaposed to the MTG8(ETO/CDR) gene. We show here that the resultant AML1-MTG8 gene product specifically and strongly interacts with an 85-kDa phosphoprotein. Molecular cloning of cDNA indicated that the AML1-MTG8-binding protein (MTGR1) is highly related to MTG8 and similar to Drosophila Nervy. Comparison of amino acid sequences among MTGR1, MTG8, and Nervy revealed four evolutionarily conserved regions (NHR1 to NHR4). Ectopic expression of AML1-MTG8 in L-G murine myeloid progenitor cells inhibits differentiation to mature neutrophils and induces cell proliferation in response to granulocyte colony-stimulating factor (G-CSF). Analysis with C-terminal deletion mutants of AML1-MTG8 indicated that the region of 51 residues (488 to 538), which contains NHR2, is essential for the induction of G-CSF-dependent cell proliferation. Immunoprecipitation analysis indicates that this region is required for AML1-MTG8 to form a stable complex with MTGR1. Overexpression of MTGR1 stimulates AML1-MTG8 to induce G-CSF-dependent proliferation of L-G cells and to interfere with AML1-dependent transcription. These results suggest that AML1-MTG8 could function as a complex with MTGR1 and that the complex might be important in promoting leukemogenesis.
The myeloid translocation gene (MTG) proteins are non-DNA-binding transcriptional regulators capable of interacting with chromatin modifying proteins. As a consequence of leukemia-associated chromosomal translocations, two of the MTG proteins, MTG8 and MTG16, are fused to the DNA-binding domain of AML1, a transcriptional activator crucial for hematopoiesis. The AML1-MTG fusion proteins, as the wild type MTGs, display four conserved homology regions (NHR1-4) related to the Drosophila nervy protein. Structural protein analyses led us to test the hypothesis that specific MTG domains may mediate RNA binding.
By using an RNA-binding assay based on synthetic RNA homopolymers and a panel of MTG deletion mutants, here we show that all the MTG proteins can bind RNA. The RNA-binding properties can be traced to two regions: the Zinc finger domains in the NHR4, which mediate Zinc-dependent RNA binding, and a novel short basic region (SBR) upstream of the NHR2, which mediates Zinc-independent RNA binding. The two AML1-MTG fusion proteins, retaining both the Zinc fingers domains and the SBR, also display RNA-binding properties.
Evidence has been accumulating that RNA plays a role in transcriptional control. Both wild type MTGs and chimeric AML1-MTG proteins display in vitro RNA-binding properties, thus opening new perspectives on the possible involvement of an RNA component in MTG-mediated chromatin regulation.
The chimeric fusion protein, AML1-ETO, generated by translocation of t(8;21), abnormally recruits histone deacetylase (HDAC) to the promoters of AML1 target genes, resulting in transcriptional repression of the target genes and development of t(8;21) acute myeloid leukemia. Abnormal expression of cyclin-dependent kinase inhibitors, especially p21, is considered a possible mechanism of the arrested maturation and differentiation seen in leukemia cells. A new generation of HDAC inhibitors is becoming an increasing focus of attention for their ability to induce differentiation and apoptosis in tumor cells and to block the cell cycle. Our previous research had demonstrated that valproic acid induces G0/G1 arrest of Kasumi-1 cells in t(8;21) acute myeloid leukemia. In this study, we further confirmed that valproic acid inhibits the growth of Kasumi-1 cells in a murine xenograft tumor model, and that this occurs via upregulation of histone acetylation in the p21 promoter region, enhancement of p21 expression, suppression of phosphorylation of retinoblastoma protein, blocking of transcription activated by E2F, and induction of G0/G1 arrest.
valproic acid; acute myeloid leukemia; AML1-ETO; p21; E2F
Human myelogenous leukemia characterized by either the non random t(8; 21)(q22; q22) or t(16; 21)(q24; q22) chromosome translocations differ for both their biological and clinical features. Some of these features could be consequent to differential epigenetic transcriptional deregulation at AML1 targets imposed by AML1-MTG8 and AML1-MTG16, the fusion proteins deriving from the two translocations. Preliminary findings showing that these fusion proteins lead to transcriptional downregulation of AML1 targets, marked by repressive chromatin changes, would support this hypothesis. Here we show that combining conventional global gene expression arrays with the power of bioinformatic genomic survey of AML1-consensus sequences is an effective strategy to identify AML1 targets whose transcription is epigenetically downregulated by the leukemia-associated AML1-MTG16 protein.
We interrogated mouse gene expression microarrays with probes generated either from 32D cells infected with a retroviral vector carrying AML1-MTG16 and unable of granulocyte differentiation and proliferation in response to the granulocyte colony stimulating factor (G-CSF), or from 32D cells infected with the cognate empty vector. From the analysis of differential gene expression alone (using as criteria a p value < 0.01 and an absolute fold change > 3), we were unable to conclude which of the 37 genes downregulated by AML1-MTG16 were, or not, direct AML1 targets. However, when we applied a bioinformatic approach to search for AML1-consensus sequences in the 10 Kb around the gene transcription start sites, we closed on 17 potential direct AML1 targets. By focusing on the most significantly downregulated genes, we found that both the AML1-consensus and the transcription start site chromatin regions were significantly marked by aberrant repressive histone tail changes. Further, the promoter of one of these genes, containing a CpG island, was aberrantly methylated.
This study shows that a leukemia-associated fusion protein can impose a distinct epigenetic repressive signature at specific sites in the genome. These findings strengthen the conclusion that leukemia-specific oncoproteins can induce non-random epigenetic changes.
The t(8;21) abnormality occurs in a minority of acute myeloid leukemia (AML) patients. The translocation results in an in-frame fusion of two genes, resulting in a fusion protein of one N-terminal domain from the AML1 gene and four C-terminal domains from the ETO gene. This protein has multiple effects on the regulation of the proliferation, the differentiation, and the viability of leukemic cells. The translocation can be detected as the only genetic abnormality or as part of more complex abnormalities. If t(8;21) is detected in a patient with bone marrow pathology, the diagnosis AML can be made based on this abnormality alone. t(8;21) is usually associated with a good prognosis. Whether the detection of the fusion gene can be used for evaluation of minimal residual disease and risk of leukemia relapse remains to be clarified. To conclude, detection of t(8;21) is essential for optimal handling of these patients as it has both diagnostic, prognostic, and therapeutic implications.
Von Recklinghausen's disease is a relatively common familial genetic disorder characterized by inactivating mutations of the Neurofibromatosis-1 (NF1) gene that predisposes these patients to malignancies, including an increased risk for juvenile myelomonocytic leukemia. However, NF1 mutations are not common in acute myeloid leukemia (AML). Given that the RUNX1 transcription factor is the most common target for chromosomal translocations in acute leukemia, we asked if NF1 might be regulated by RUNX1. In reporter assays, RUNX1 activated the NF1 promoter and cooperated with C/EBPα and ETS2 to activate the NF1 promoter over 80-fold. Moreover, the t(8;21) fusion protein RUNX1-MTG8 (R/M), which represses RUNX1-regulated genes, actively repressed the NF1 promoter. R/M associated with the NF1 promoter in vivo and repressed endogenous NF1 gene expression. In addition, similar to loss of NF1, R/M expression enhanced the sensitivity of primary myeloid progenitor cells to granulocyte-macrophage colony-stimulating factor. Our results indicate that the NF1 tumor suppressor gene is a direct transcriptional target of RUNX1 and the t(8;21) fusion protein, suggesting that suppression of NF1 expression contributes to the molecular pathogenesis of AML.
Nuclear receptor corepressor (CoR)-histone deacetylase (HDAC) complex recruitment is indispensable for the biological activities of the retinoic acid receptor fusion proteins of acute promyelocytic leukemias. We report here that ETO (eight-twenty-one or MTG8), which is fused to the acute myelogenous leukemia 1 (AML1) transcription factor in t(8;21) AML, interacts via its zinc finger region with a conserved domain of the corepressors N-CoR and SMRT and recruits HDAC in vivo. The fusion protein AML1-ETO retains the ability of ETO to form stable complexes with N-CoR/SMRT and HDAC. Deletion of the ETO C terminus abolishes CoR binding and HDAC recruitment and severely impairs the ability of AML1-ETO to inhibit differentiation of hematopoietic precursors. These data indicate that formation of a stable complex with CoR–HDAC is crucial to the activation of the leukemogenic potential of AML1 by ETO and suggest that aberrant recruitment of corepressor complexes is a general mechanism of leukemogenesis.
The MTG8 (ETO) locus is involved in a reciprocal exchange with runx1 in the t(8;21) of acute myeloid leukemia. It is a member of a small gene family encoding transcriptional regulators that interact with corepressors and histone deacetylase. However, the physiologic cellular processes controlled by MTG8 are not known. In order to gain an insight into the latter, we have generated mutant mice with an insertional inactivation at the locus, which disrupts transcription of exon 2. The postnatal viability of homozygous mutants was greatly reduced. In approximately 25% the midgut was missing, whereas practically all pups surviving past the first 2 days showed severe growth impairment, which was likely due to a gross disruption of the gut architecture. The latter phenotype could be traced back to late embryonic development. No difference in gut cell differentiation or proliferation was found compared to wild-type littermates. Levels of factors known to be involved in gut morphogenesis were also unchanged. MTG8 is expressed in the outermost layers of the developing gut from at least E9.5. Thus, MTG8 plays a novel, essential role in the gastrointestinal system.
The AML-1/CBF beta transcription factor complex is targeted by both the t(8;21) and the inv(16) chromosomal alterations, which are frequently observed in acute myelogenous leukemia. AML-1 is a site-specific DNA-binding protein that recognizes the enhancer core motif TGTGGT. The t(8;21) translocation fuses the first 177 amino acids of AML-1 to MTG8 (also known as ETO), generating a chimeric protein that retains the DNA-binding domain of AML-1. Analysis of endogenous AML-1 DNA-binding complexes suggested the presence of at least two AML-1 isoforms. Accordingly, we screened a human B-cell cDNA library and isolated a larger, potentially alternatively spliced, form of AML1, termed AML1B. AML-1B is a protein of 53 kDa that binds to a consensus AML-1-binding site and complexes with CBF beta. Subcellular fractionation experiments demonstrated that both AML-1 and AML-1/ETO are efficiently extracted from the nucleus under ionic conditions but that AML-1B is localized to a salt-resistant nuclear compartment. Analysis of the transcriptional activities of AML-1, AML-1B, and AML-1/ETO demonstrated that only AML-1B activates transcription from the T-cell receptor beta enhancer. Mixing experiments indicated that AML-1/ETO can efficiently block AML-1B-dependent transcriptional activation, suggesting that the t(8;21) translocation creates a dominant interfering protein.
RUNX1/AML1 is required for definitive hematopoiesis and is frequently targeted by chromosomal translocation in acute myeloid leukemias (AML). The t(8;21) related AML1-ETO fusion protein blocks differentiation of myeloid progenitors. Here, we show by immunofluorescence microscopy that during interphase, endogenous AML1-ETO localizes to nuclear microenvironments distinct from those containing native RUNX1/AML1 protein. At mitosis, we clearly detect binding of AML1-ETO to nucleolar organizing regions (NORs) in AML derived Kasumi-1 cells and binding of RUNX1/AML1 to NORs in Jurkat cells. Both RUNX1/AML1 and AML1-ETO occupy ribosomal DNA repeats during interphase, as well as interact with the endogenous RNA Pol I transcription factor UBF-1. Promoter cytosine methylation analysis indicates that RUNX1/AML1 binds to rDNA repeats that are more highly CpG methylated than those bound by AML1-ETO. Down-regulation by RNA interference reveals that RUNX1/AML1 negatively regulates rDNA transcription, while AML1-ETO is a positive regulator in Kasumi-1 cells. Taken together, our findings identify a novel role for the leukemia-related AML1-ETO protein in epigenetic control of cell growth through upregulation of RNA Pol I-mediated ribosomal gene transcription, consistent with the hyper-proliferative phenotype of myeloid cells in AML patients.
acute myelogenous leukemia; Runx1; ribosomal DNA transcription; RNA polymerase I; UBF1; nucleolar organizing region
The fusion gene AML1-ETO is the product of t(8;21)(q22;q22), one of the most common chromosomal translocations associated with acute myeloid leukemia. To investigate the impact of AML1-ETO on hematopoiesis, tetracycline-inducible AML1-ETO-expressing cell lines were generated using myeloid cells. AML1-ETO is tightly and strongly induced upon tetracycline withdrawal. The proliferation of AML1-ETO+ cells was markedly reduced, and most of the cells eventually underwent apoptosis. RNase protection assays revealed that the amount of Bcl-2 mRNA was decreased after AML1-ETO induction. Enforced expression of Bcl-2 was able to significantly delay, but not completely overcome, AML1-ETO-induced apoptosis. Prior to the onset of apoptosis, we also studied the ability of AML1-ETO to modulate differentiation. AML1-ETO expression altered granulocytic differentiation of U937T-A/E cells. More significantly, this change of differentiation was associated with the down-regulation of CCAAT/enhancer binding protein α (C/EBPα), a key regulator of granulocytic differentiation. These observations suggest a dichotomy in the functions of AML1-ETO: (i) reduction of granulocytic differentiation correlated with decreased expression of C/EBPα and (ii) growth arrest leading to apoptosis with decreased expression of CDK4, c-myc, and Bcl-2. We predict that the preleukemic AML1-ETO+ cells must overcome AML1-ETO-induced growth arrest and apoptosis prior to fulfilling their leukemogenic potential.
Myeloid Translocation Gene, Related-1 (MTGR1) CBFA2T2 is a member of the Myeloid Translocation Gene (MTG) family of transcriptional corepressors. The remaining two family members, MTG8 (RUNX1T1) and MTG16 (CBFA2T3) are identified as targets of chromosomal translocations in acute myeloid leukemia (AML). Mtgr1−/− mice have defects in intestinal lineage allocation and wound healing. Moreover, these mice show signs of impaired intestinal stem cell function. Based on these phenotypes, we hypothesized that MTGR1 may influence tumorigenesis arising in an inflammatory background. We report that Mtgr1−/− mice were protected from tumorigenesis when injected with azoxymethane (AOM) and then subjected to repeated cycles of dextran sodium sulfate (DSS). Tumor cell proliferation was comparable, but Mtgr1−/− tumors had significantly higher apoptosis rates. These phenotypes were dependent on epithelial injury, the resultant inflammation, or a combination of both as there was no difference in aberrant crypt foci (ACF) or tumor burden when animals were treated with AOM as the sole agent. Gene expression analysis indicated that Mtgr1−/− tumors had significant upregulation of inflammatory networks, and immunohistochemistry (IHC) for immune cell subsets revealed a marked multilineage increase in infiltrates, consisting predominately of CD3+ and natural killer T (NKT) cells as well as macrophages. Transplantation of wild type (WT) bone marrow into Mtgr1−/− mice, and the reciprocal transplant, did not alter the phenotype, ruling out an MTGR1 hematopoietic cell-autonomous mechanism. Our findings indicate that MTGR1 is required for efficient inflammatory carcinogenesis in this model, and implicate its dysfunction in colitis-associated carcinoma. This represents the first report functionally linking MTGR1 to intestinal tumorigenesis.
AML1-ETO fusion protein (AE) is generated by t(8;21)(q22;q22) chromosomal translocation, which is one of the most frequently observed structural abnormalities in acute myeloid leukemia (AML) and displays a pivotal role in leukemogenesis. The histone acetyltransferase p300 promotes self-renewal of leukemia cells by acetylating AE and facilitating its downstream gene expression as a transcriptional coactivator, suggesting that p300 may be a potential therapeutic target for AE-positive AML. However, the effects of p300 inhibitors on leukemia cells and the underlying mechanisms have not been extensively investigated. In the current study, we analyzed the anti-leukemia effects of C646, a selective and competitive p300 inhibitor, on AML cells. Results showed that C646 inhibited cellular proliferation, reduced colony formation, evoked partial cell cycle arrest in G1 phase, and induced apoptosis in AE-positive AML cell lines and primary blasts isolated from leukemic mice and AML patients. Nevertheless, no significant inhibitory effects were observed in granulocyte colony-stimulating factor-mobilized normal peripheral blood stem cells. Notably, AE-positive AML cells were more sensitive to lower C646 doses than AE-negative ones. And C646-induced growth inhibition on AE-positive AML cells was associated with reduced global histone H3 acetylation and declined c-kit and bcl-2 levels. Therefore, C646 may be a potential candidate for treating AE-positive AML.
The chromosome break points of the t(8;21)(q21.3;q22.12) translocation associated with acute myeloid leukemia disrupt the RUNX1 gene (also known as AML1) and the RUNX1T1 gene (also known as CBFA2T3, MTG8 and ETO) and generate a RUNX1–RUNX1T1 fusion protein. Molecular characterization of the translocation break points in a t(5;8)(q32;q21.3) patient with mild-to-moderate mental retardation and congenital heart disease revealed that one of the break points was within the RUNX1T1 gene. Analysis of RUNX1T1 expression in human embryonic and fetal tissues suggests a role of RUNX1T1 in brain and heart development and support the notion that disruption of the RUNX1T1 gene is associated with the patient's phenotype.
RUNX1T1; MTG8; ETO; acute myeloid leukemia (AML); brain development; heart development
AML1/ETO results from the t(8;21) associated with 12-15% of acute myeloid leukemia. The AML1/ETO MYND domain mediates interactions with the co-repressors SMRT and N-CoR and contributes to AML1/ETO's ability to repress proliferation and differentiation of primary bone marrow cells as well as to enhance their self-renewal in vitro. We solved the solution structure of the MYND domain and show it to be structurally homologous to the PHD and RING finger families of proteins. We also determined the solution structure of an MYND-SMRT peptide complex. We demonstrated that a single amino acid substitution that disrupts the interaction between the MYND domain and the SMRT peptide attenuated AML1/ETO's effects on proliferation, differentiation, and gene expression.
A variety of genetic lesions, including chromosomal translocations, internal tandem duplications and mutations have been described in acute myeloid leukaemia (AML). Expression profiling has shown that chromosomal translocations, in particular, are associated with distinctive patterns of gene expression. AML exhibiting the translocation t(8;21), which fuses the AML1 and ETO genes, has such a characteristic expression profile. One gene whose expression is highly correlated with the presence of the AML1/ETO fusion is POU4F1, which encodes the POU homeodomain transcription factor BRN3A. Here we demonstrate using specific siRNA in t(8;21) cells and overexpression studies in progenitor cells that AML1/ETO promotes expression of POU4F1/BRN3A. This effect requires DNA-binding function of AML1/ETO, and accordingly AML1/ETO is bound to the POU4F1 locus in t(8;21) cells. Functionally, while over-expression of Brn3a in murine haematopoietic progenitor cells induces terminal myeloid differentiation, co-expression of AML1/ETO or AML/ETO9a blocks this effect. Furthermore, Brn3a reduction by shRNA impairs AML1/ETO-induced immortalisation of murine progenitors. In summary, we identify POU4F1/BRN3A as a novel potential up-regulated AML1/ETO target gene whose dramatically high expression may co-operate with AML1/ETO in t(8;21) cells.
AML1/ETO; BRN3A; AML; transcription; myeloid
Disruption of Runx1/AML1 subnuclear localization, either by a single amino acid substitution or by a chromosomal translocation (e.g. t(8;21)), is linked to the etiology of acute myeloid leukemia (AML). Here we show that this defect induces a select set of micro-RNAs (miRs) in myeloid progenitor cells and AML patients with t(8;21). Both Runx1 and the t(8;21)-encoded AML1-ETO occupy the miR-24-23-27 locus and reciprocally control miR-24 transcription. miR-24 directly downregulates MAPK Phosphatase-7 and enhances phosphorylation of both JNK and p38 kinases. Expression of miR-24 stimulates myeloid cell growth, renders proliferation independent of IL3 and blocks granulocytic differentiation. Thus, compromised Runx1 function induces a miR-dependent mechanism that, through MAPK signaling, enhances myeloid proliferation but blocks differentiation, key steps that contribute to leukemia.
cancer; leukemia; AML1-ETO; chromosomal translocation; micro RNA; AML
t(8;21) and t(16;21) create two fusion proteins, AML-1–ETO and AML-1–MTG16, respectively, which fuse the AML-1 DNA binding domain to putative transcriptional corepressors, ETO and MTG16. Here, we show that distinct domains of ETO contact the mSin3A and N-CoR corepressors and define two binding sites within ETO for each of these corepressors. In addition, of eight histone deacetylases (HDACs) tested, only the class I HDACs HDAC-1, HDAC-2, and HDAC-3 bind ETO. However, these HDACs bind ETO through different domains. We also show that the murine homologue of MTG16, ETO-2, is also a transcriptional corepressor that works through a similar but distinct mechanism. Like ETO, ETO-2 interacts with N-CoR, but ETO-2 fails to bind mSin3A. Furthermore, ETO-2 binds HDAC-1, HDAC-2, and HDAC-3 but also interacts with HDAC-6 and HDAC-8. In addition, we show that expression of AML-1–ETO causes disruption of the cell cycle in the G1 phase. Disruption of the cell cycle required the ability of AML-1–ETO to repress transcription because a mutant of AML-1–ETO, Δ469, which removes the majority of the corepressor binding sites, had no phenotype. Moreover, treatment of AML-1–ETO-expressing cells with trichostatin A, an HDAC inhibitor, restored cell cycle control. Thus, AML-1–ETO makes distinct contacts with multiple HDACs and an HDAC inhibitor biologically inactivates this fusion protein.
Ca++ signaling is an important component of signal transduction pathways regulating B and T lymphocyte proliferation, but the functional role of Ca++ signaling in regulating myeloid leukemia cell proliferation has been largely unexplored. We observe that the activated (autophosphorylated) Ca++/calmodulin-dependent protein kinase II (CaMKIIγ) is invariably present in myeloid leukemia cell lines as well as in the majority of primary acute myelogenous leukemia (AML) patient samples. In contrast myeloid leukemia cells induced to terminally differentiate or undergo growth arrest display a marked reduction in this CaMKIIγ autophosphorylation. In cells harboring the bcr-abl oncogene, the activation (autophosphorylation) of CaMKIIγ is regulated by this oncogene. Moreover, inhibition of CaMKIIγ activity with pharmacological agents, dominant negative constructs or shRNAs inhibits the proliferation of myeloid leukemia cells, and this is associated with the inactivation/downregulation of multiple critical signal transduction networks involving the MAP kinase, JAK/Stat and GSK3β/β-catenin pathways. In myeloid leukemia cells CaMKIIγ directly phosphorylates Stat3 and enhances its transcriptional activity. Thus CaMKIIγ is a critical regulator of multiple signaling networks regulating the proliferation of myeloid leukemia cells. Inhibiting CaMKIIγ may represent a novel approach in the targeted therapy of myeloid leukemia.
myeloid leukemia; Ca++/calmodulin dependent protein kinase II; bcr-abl oncogene; Stat 3
The Notch signaling pathway regulates gene expression programs to influence the specification of cell fate in diverse tissues. In response to ligand binding, the intracellular domain of the Notch receptor is cleaved by the γ-secretase complex and then translocates to the nucleus. There, it binds the transcriptional repressor CSL, triggering its conversion to an activator of Notch target gene expression. The events that control this conversion are poorly understood. We show that the transcriptional corepressor, MTG16, interacts with both CSL and the intracellular domains of Notch receptors, suggesting a pivotal role in regulation of the Notch transcription complex. The Notch1 intracellular domain disrupts the MTG16-CSL interaction. Ex vivo fate specification in response to Notch signal activation is impaired in Mtg16−/− hematopoietic progenitors, and restored by MTG16 expression. An MTG16 derivative lacking the binding site for the intracellular domain of Notch1 fails to restore Notch-dependent cell fate. These data suggest that MTG16 interfaces with critical components of the Notch transcription complex to affect Notch-dependent lineage allocation in hematopoiesis.
The AML1-ETO fusion protein is generated from the 8;21 chromosome translocation that is commonly identified in acute myeloid leukemia. AML1-ETO is a DNA binding transcription factor and has been demonstrated to play a critical role in promoting leukemogenesis. Therefore, it is important to define the molecular mechanism of AML1-ETO in the regulation of gene expression. Here, we report that the effect of AML1-ETO on the promoter of multidrug resistance-1 (MDR1) gene, a known AML1-ETO target, is highly cell type specific. Besides observing repression of the MDR1 promoter in C33A and CV-1 cells as reported previously, AML1-ETO strongly activated the promoter in K562 and B210 cells. More importantly, this activation required both the AML1 and ETO portions of the fusion protein, but did not depend on the AML1 binding site in MDR1 promoter. Furthermore, results from promoter deletion analysis and chromatin immunoprecipitation assays suggested that this activation effect was likely through the influence of the general transcription machinery rather than promoter-specific factors. Based on these data, we propose that AML1-ETO may have opposing effects on gene expression depending on the various conditions of the cellular environment.
The leukemia-associated fusion protein RUNX1/ETO is generated by the chromosomal translocation t(8;21) which appears in about 12% of all de novo acute myeloid leukemias (AMLs). Essential for the oncogenic potential of RUNX1/ETO is the oligomerization of the chimeric fusion protein through the nervy homology region 2 (NHR2) within ETO. In previous studies, we have shown that the intracellular expression of peptides containing the NHR2 domain inhibits RUNX1/ETO oligomerization, thereby preventing cell proliferation and inducing differentiation of RUNX1/ETO transformed cells. Here, we show that introduction of a recombinant TAT-NHR2 fusion polypeptide into the RUNX1/ETO growth-dependent myeloid cell line Kasumi-1 results in decreased cell proliferation and increased numbers of apoptotic cells. This effect was highly specific and mediated by binding the TAT-NHR2 peptide to ETO sequences, as TAT-polypeptides containing the oligomerization domain of BCR did not affect cell proliferation or apoptosis in Kasumi-1 cells. Thus, the selective interference with NHR2-mediated oligomerization by peptides represents a challenging but promising strategy for the inhibition of the leukemogenic potential of RUNX1/ETO in t(8;21)-positive leukemia.
The MTG1 gene of Saccharomyces cerevisiae, corresponding
to ORF YMR097c on chromosome XIII, codes for a mitochondrial protein essential
for respiratory competence. A human homologue of Mtg1p capable of partially
rescuing the respiratory deficiency of a yeast mtg1 mutant has also
been localized in mitochondria. Mtg1p is a member of a family of GTPases with
largely unknown functions. The respiratory deficiency of mtg1 mutants
stems from a defect in mitochondrial protein synthesis. Mutations in the 21S
rRNA locus are able to suppress the translation defect of mtg1 null
mutants. This points to the 21S rRNA or the large ribosomal subunit as the
most likely target of Mtg1p action. The presence of mature size 15S and 21S
mitochondrial rRNAs in mtg1 mutants excludes Mtg1p from being
involved in transcription or processing of these RNAs. More likely, Mtg1p
functions in assembly of the large ribosomal subunit. This is consistent with
the peripheral localization of Mtg1p on the matrix side of the inner membrane
and the results of in vivo mitochondrial translation assays in a
temperature-sensitive mtg1 mutant.
The chromosomal translocations found in acute myelogenous leukemia (AML) generate oncogenic fusion transcription factors with aberrant transcriptional regulatory properties. Although therapeutic targeting of most leukemia fusion proteins remains elusive, the posttranslational modifications that control their function could be targetable. We found that AML1-ETO, the fusion protein generated by the t(8;21) translocation, is acetylated by the transcriptional coactivator p300 in leukemia cells isolated from t(8;21) AML patients, and that this acetylation is essential for its self-renewal–promoting effects in human cord blood CD34+ cells and its leukemogenicity in mouse models. Inhibition of p300 abrogates the acetylation of AML1-ETO and impairs its ability to promote leukemic transformation. Thus, lysine acetyltransferases represent a potential therapeutic target in AML.
Two members of the MTG/ETO family of transcriptional corepressors, MTG8 and MTG16, are disrupted by chromosomal translocations in up to 15% of acute myeloid leukemia cases. The third family member, MTGR1, was identified as a factor that associates with the t(8;21) fusion protein RUNX1-MTG8. We demonstrate that Mtgr1 associates with mSin3A, N-CoR, and histone deacetylase 3 and that when tethered to DNA, Mtgr1 represses transcription, suggesting that Mtgr1 also acts as a transcriptional corepressor. To define the biological function of Mtgr1, we created Mtgr1-null mice. These mice are proportionally smaller than their littermates during embryogenesis and throughout their life span but otherwise develop normally. However, these mice display a progressive reduction in the secretory epithelial cell lineage in the small intestine. This is not due to the loss of small intestinal progenitor cells expressing Gfi1, which is required for the formation of goblet and Paneth cells, implying that loss of Mtgr1 impairs the maturation of secretory cells in the small intestine.