Acute myeloid leukemia fusion proteins deregulate genes involved in stem cell maintenance and DNA repair

Myriam Alcalay, Natalia Meani, Vania Gelmetti, Anna Fantozzi, Marta Fagioli, Annette Orleth, Daniela Riganelli, Carla Sebastiani, Enrico Cappelli, Cristina Casciari, Maria Teresa Sciurpi, Angela Rosa Mariano, Simone Paolo Minardi, Lucilla Luzi, Heiko Muller, Pier Paolo Di Fiore, Guido Frosina, Pier Giuseppe Pelicci

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Acute myelogenous leukemias (AMLs) are genetically heterogeneous and characterized by chromosomal rearrangements that produce fusion proteins with aberrant transcriptional regulatory activities. Expression of AML fusion proteins in transgenic mice increases the risk of myeloid leukemias, suggesting that they induce a preleukemic state. The underlying molecular and biological mechanisms are, however, unknown. To address this issue, we performed a systematic analysis of fusion protein transcriptional targets. We expressed AML1/ETO, PML/RAR, and PLZF/RAR in U937 hemopoietic precursor cells and measured global gene expression using oligonucleotide chips. We identified 1, 555 genes regulated concordantly by at least two fusion proteins that were further validated in patient samples and finally classified according to available functional information. Strikingly, we found that AML fusion proteins induce genes involved in the maintenance of the stem cell phenotype and repress DNA repair genes, mainly of the base excision repair pathway. Functional studies confirmed that ectopic expression of fusion proteins constitutively activates pathways leading to increased stem cell renewal (e.g., the Jagged1/Notch pathway) and provokes accumulation of DNA damage. We propose that expansion of the stem cell compartment and induction of a mutator phenotype are relevant features underlying the leukemic potential of AML-associated fusion proteins.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1751-1761
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Clinical Investigation
Volume112
Issue number11
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2003

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)

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  • Cite this

    Alcalay, M., Meani, N., Gelmetti, V., Fantozzi, A., Fagioli, M., Orleth, A., Riganelli, D., Sebastiani, C., Cappelli, E., Casciari, C., Sciurpi, M. T., Mariano, A. R., Minardi, S. P., Luzi, L., Muller, H., Di Fiore, P. P., Frosina, G., & Pelicci, P. G. (2003). Acute myeloid leukemia fusion proteins deregulate genes involved in stem cell maintenance and DNA repair. Journal of Clinical Investigation, 112(11), 1751-1761. https://doi.org/10.1172/JCI200317595