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Mol Cell Biol. 2008 Oct;28(20):6171-81. doi: 10.1128/MCB.00303-08. Epub 2008 Aug 18.

OTT-MAL is a deregulated activator of serum response factor-dependent gene expression.

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  • 1Max Planck Institute of Biochemistry, Department of Molecular Biology, Martinsried, Germany.


The OTT-MAL/RBM15-MKL1 fusion protein is the result of the recurrent translocation t(1;22) in acute megakaryocytic leukemia in infants. How it contributes to the malignancy is unknown. The 3' fusion partner, MAL/MKL1/MRTF-A, is a transcriptional coactivator of serum response factor (SRF). MAL plays a key role in regulated gene expression depending on Rho family GTPases and G-actin. Here we demonstrate that OTT-MAL is a constitutive activator of SRF and target gene expression. This requires the SRF-binding motif and the MAL-derived transactivation domain. OTT-MAL localizes to the nucleus and is not regulated by upstream signaling. OTT-MAL deregulation reflects its independence from control by G-actin, which fails to interact with OTT-MAL in coimmunoprecipitation experiments. Regulation cannot be restored by reintroduction of the entire MAL N terminus into the fusion protein. OTT-MAL also caused a delayed induction of the MAL-independent, ternary complex factor-dependent target genes c-fos and egr-1 and the mitogen-activated protein kinase/Erk pathway. With testing in heterologous tissue culture systems, however, we observed considerable antiproliferative effects of OTT-MAL. Our data suggest that the deregulated activation of MAL-dependent and -independent promoters results in tissue-specific functions of OTT-MAL.

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