Proteins involved in DNA double-strand break (DSB) repair localize within the promyelocytic leukemia nuclear bodies (PML-NBs), whose disruption is at the root of the acute promyelocytic leukemia (APL) pathogenesis. All-trans-retinoic acid (RA) treatment induces PML-RARα degradation, restores PML-NB functions, and causes terminal cell differentiation of APL blasts. However, the precise role of the APL-associated PML-RARα oncoprotein and PML-NB integrity in the DSB response in APL leukemogenesis and tumor suppression is still lacking. Primary leukemia blasts isolated from APL patients showed high phosphorylation levels of H2AX (γ-H2AX), an initial DSBs sensor. By addressing the consequences of ionizing radiation (IR)-induced DSB response in primary APL blasts and RA-responsive and -resistant myeloid cell lines carrying endogenous or ectopically expressed PML-RARα, before and after treatment with RA, we found that the disruption of PML-NBs is associated with delayed DSB response, as revealed by the impaired kinetic of disappearance of γ-H2AX and 53BP1 foci and activation of ATM and of its substrates H2AX, NBN, and CHK2. The disruption of PML-NB integrity by PML-RARα also affects the IR-induced DSB response in a preleukemic mouse model of APL in vivo. We propose the oncoprotein-dependent PML-NB disruption and DDR impairment as relevant early events in APL tumorigenesis.
- Journal Article