The Smyd2 protein (Set- and Mynd domain containing protein 2) is a methyltransferase that can modify both histones and cytoplasmic proteins. Smyd2 is overexpressed in several cancer types and was shown to be limiting for tumor development in the pancreas. However, genetic evidence for a role of Smyd2 in other cancers or in mouse development was missing to date. Using germ line-deleted mouse strains, we now show that Smyd2 and the related protein Smyd3 are dispensable for normal development. Ablation of Smyd2 did not affect hematopoiesis, but retarded the development of leukemia promoted by MLL-AF9, a fusion oncogene associated with acute myeloid leukemia (AML) in humans. Smyd2-deleted leukemic cells showed a competitive disadvantage relative to wild-type cells, either in vitro or in vivo. The Smyd2 gene was directly activated by the oncogenic transcription factor Myc in either MLL9-AF9-induced leukemias, Myc-induced lymphomas, or fibroblasts. However, unlike leukemias, the development of lymphomas was not dependent upon Smyd2. Our data indicate that Smyd2 has a critical role downstream of Myc in AML.
- Acute myeloid leukemia
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