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Blood. 2010 Feb 18;115(7):1433-43. doi: 10.1182/blood-2009-06-227413. Epub 2009 Dec 9.

Cbfb/Runx1 repression-independent blockage of differentiation and accumulation of Csf2rb-expressing cells by Cbfb-MYH11.

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  • 1Genetics and Molecular Biology Branch, National Human Genome Research Institute, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, MD, USA.


It is known that CBFB-MYH11, the fusion gene generated by inversion of chromosome 16 in human acute myeloid leukemia, is causative for oncogenic transformation. However, the mechanism by which CBFB-MYH11 initiates leukemogenesis is not clear. Previously published reports showed that CBFB-MYH11 dominantly inhibits RUNX1 and CBFB, and such inhibition has been suggested as the mechanism for leukemogenesis. Here we show that Cbfb-MYH11 caused Cbfb/Runx1 repression-independent defects in both primitive and definitive hematopoiesis. During primitive hematopoiesis, Cbfb-MYH11 delayed differentiation characterized by sustained expression of Gata2, Il1rl1, and Csf2rb, a phenotype not found in Cbfb and Runx1 knockout mice. Expression of Cbfb-MYH11 in the bone marrow induced the accumulation of abnormal progenitor-like cells expressing Csf2rb in preleukemic mice. The expression of all 3 genes was detected in most human and murine CBFB-MYH11(+) leukemia samples. Interestingly, Cbfb-MYH11(+) preleukemic progenitors and leukemia-initiating cells did not express Csf2rb, although the majority of leukemia cells in our Cbfb-MYH11 knockin mice were Csf2rb(+). Therefore Csf2rb can be used as a negative selection marker to enrich preleukemic progenitor cells and leukemia-initiating cells from Cbfb-MYH11 mice. These results suggest that Cbfb/Runx1 repression-independent activities contribute to leukemogenesis by Cbfb-MYH11.

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