Expression pattern of HOXB6 homeobox gene in myelomonocytic differentiation and acute myeloid leukemia

A. Giampaolo, N. Felli, D. Diverio, O. Morsilli, P. Samoggia, M. Breccia, F. Lo Coco, C. Peschle, U. Testa

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Homeobox genes encode transcription factors known to be important morphogenic regulators during embryonic development. An increasing body of work implies a role for homeobox genes in both hematopoiesis and leukemogenesis. In the present study we have analyzed the role of the homeobox gene, HOXB6, in the program of differentiation of the myeloid cell lines, NB4 and HL60. HOXB6 expression is transiently induced during normal granulocytopoiesis and monocytopoiesis, with an initial induction during the early phases of differentiation, followed by a blockade of expression at early maturation. The enforced expression of HOXB6 in promyelocytic NB4 cells or in myeloblastic HL60 cells elicited inhibition of the granulocytic or monocytic maturation, respectively. Furthermore, HOXB6 was frequently expressed (18 out of 49 cases) in AMLs lacking major translocations while it was expressed at very low frequency (two out of 47 cases) in AMLs characterized by PML/RAR-α, AML-1/ETO, CBFβ/MYH11 fusion and rearrangements of the MLL gene at 11q23. According to these observations, we suggest that a regulated pattern of HOXB6 expression is required for normal granulopoiesis and monocytopoiesis. Abnormalities of the HOXB6 expression may contribute to the development of the leukemic phenotype.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1293-1301
Number of pages9
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 2002


  • Differentiation
  • Expression
  • HoxB6
  • Leukemias
  • Myelomonopoiesis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cancer Research
  • Hematology


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