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Blood. 2003 Nov 1;102(9):3323-32. Epub 2003 Jun 19.

A novel EVI1 gene family, MEL1, lacking a PR domain (MEL1S) is expressed mainly in t(1;3)(p36;q21)-positive AML and blocks G-CSF-induced myeloid differentiation.

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  • 1Department of Biochemistry, Miyazaki Medical College, Kiyotake, Miyazaki, 889-1692, Japan.


We have identified a novel gene MEL1 (MDS1/EVI1-like gene 1) encoding a zinc finger protein near the breakpoint of t(1; 3)(p36;q21)-positive human acute myeloid leukemia (AML) cells. Here, we studied the structure, expression pattern, and function of MEL1 in leukemia cells. In this study, we have identified 3 transcription start sites, 1 in exon 1 and 2 in exon 2, and 2 kinds of translation products, 170 kDa (MEL1) and 150 kDa (MEL1S). Notably, the 150-kDa band of MEL1S was detected mainly in the t(1;3)(p36;q21)-positive AML cells. By immunoblot analysis and proteolytic mapping, it is suggested that the 150-kDa band of MEL1S in the leukemia cells is translated from the internal initiation codon ATG597 in exon 4 and is mostly lacking the amino-terminal PR domain of MEL1. By the cyclic amplification and selection of targets (CASTing) method for identifying consensus sequences, it was shown that the consensus sequences of MEL1 were included in 2 different consensus sequences for DNA-binding domain 1 and 2 (D1-CONS and D2-CONS) of EVI1. In reporter gene assays, MEL1S activated transcription via binding to D2-CONS; however, the fusion of MEL1 or MEL1S to GAL4 DNA-binding domain (DBD) made them GAL4 binding site-dependent transcriptional repressors. Moreover, overexpression of MEL1S blocked granulocytic differentiation induced by granulocyte colony-stimulating factor (G-CSF) in interleukin-3 (IL-3)-dependent murine myeloid L-G3 cells, while MEL1 could not block the differentiation. Thus, it is likely that overexpression of the zinc finger protein lacking the PR domain (EVI1 and MEL1S) in the leukemia cells is one of the causative factors in the pathogenesis of myeloid leukemia.

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