Retroviral expression of leukemogenic oncogenes in the murine hematopoietic system is essential but not sufficient to induce acute leukemia. Proviral integration-mediated elevated expression of the meningioma 1 (MN1) oncogene suggested MN1 acting as cooperating event in mixed-lineage leukemia 1 (MLL) and eleven nineteen leukemia (ENL)-induced murine leukemia. Indeed, co-expression of MN1 with MLL-ENL enhanced transformation in vivo, and resulted in a significantly reduced latency for induction of an aggressive acute leukemia when compared with MN1 or MLL-ENL alone. In addition, co-expression of MN1 increased the granulocyte macrophage progenitor cell population with leukemia-initiating properties as shown in secondary transplantation experiments. Gene expression profiling experiments identified putative downstream MN1 targets, of which FMS-like tyrosine kinase 3 (FLT3) and CD34 were upregulated in both MN1-overexpressing murine leukemias and in pediatric acute leukemias with high MN1 levels. Interestingly, small interfering RNA (siRNA)-mediated MN1 knockdown resulted in cell cycle arrest and impaired clonogenic growth of human leukemia cell lines with high MN1 levels. Our work shows for the first time that high MN1 levels are important for the growth of leukemic cells, and that increased MN1 expression can synergize with MLL-ENL and probably other transforming fusion genes in leukemia induction through a distinct gene expression program that is able to expand the leukemia-initiating cell population.
- Acute leukemia
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cancer Research
- Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine