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Hum Mol Genet. 2001 Apr;10(7):769-75.

Oncogenes and tumor suppressors in the molecular pathogenesis of acute promyelocytic leukemia.

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  • Department of Human Genetics and Molecular Biology Program, Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, 1275 York Avenue, New York, NY 10021, USA. p-pandolfi@ski.mskcc.org


Acute promyelocytic leukemia (APL) is associated with reciprocal chromosomal translocations always involving the retinoic acid receptor alpha (RARalpha) gene on chromosome 17 and variable partner genes (X genes) on distinct chromosomes. RARalpha fuses to the PML gene in the vast majority of APL cases, and in a few cases to the PLZF, NPM, NuMA and Stat5b genes, respectively, leading to the generation of RARalpha-X: and X:-RARalpha fusion genes. Both fusion proteins can exert oncogenic functions through their ability to interfere with the activities of X and RARalpha proteins. Here, it will be discussed in detail how an extensive biochemical analysis as well as a systematic in vivo genetic approach in the mouse has allowed the definition of the multiple oncogenic activities of PML-RARalpha, and how it has become apparent that this oncoprotein is able to impair RARalpha at the transcription level and the tumor suppressive function of the PML protein.

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