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Blood. 2009 Dec 24;114(27):5499-511. doi: 10.1182/blood-2009-03-206524. Epub 2009 Oct 23.

Comprehensive genomic screens identify a role for PLZF-RARalpha as a positive regulator of cell proliferation via direct regulation of c-MYC.

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  • 1Division of Hematology/Oncology, Northwestern University, Robert H. Lurie Comprehensive Cancer Center, Chicago, IL, USA.


The t(11;17)(q23;q21) translocation is associated with a retinoic acid (RA)-insensitive form of acute promyelocytic leukemia (APL), involving the production of reciprocal fusion proteins, promyelocytic leukemia zinc finger-retinoic acid receptor alpha (PLZF-RARalpha) and RARalpha-PLZF. Using a combination of chromatin immunoprecipitation promotor arrays (ChIP-chip) and gene expression profiling, we identify novel, direct target genes of PLZF-RARalpha that tend to be repressed in APL compared with other myeloid leukemias, supporting the role of PLZF-RARalpha as an aberrant repressor in APL. In primary murine hematopoietic progenitors, PLZF-RARalpha promotes cell growth, and represses Dusp6 and Cdkn2d, while inducing c-Myc expression, consistent with its role in leukemogenesis. PLZF-RARalpha binds to a region of the c-MYC promoter overlapping a functional PLZF site and antagonizes PLZF-mediated repression, suggesting that PLZF-RARalpha may act as a dominant-negative version of PLZF by affecting the regulation of shared targets. RA induced the differentiation of PLZF-RARalpha-transformed murine hematopoietic cells and reduced the frequency of clonogenic progenitors, concomitant with c-Myc down-regulation. Surviving RA-treated cells retained the ability to be replated and this was associated with sustained c-Myc expression and repression of Dusp6, suggesting a role for these genes in maintaining a self-renewal pathway triggered by PLZF-RARalpha.

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