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Pediatr Blood Cancer. 2012 Jul 15;59(1):69-76. doi: 10.1002/pbc.23406. Epub 2011 Nov 21.

Cell cycle-specific function of Ikaros in human leukemia.

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  • 1Pennsylvania State University College of Medicine, Hershey, Pennsylvania, USA.



The loss of Ikaros is associated with the development of B and T cell leukemia. Data on Ikaros function, including its role as a tumor suppressor and a regulator of cell cycle progression, come almost exclusively from murine studies; little is known of the mechanisms that regulate human Ikaros function. Our studies are the first to examine the function and regulation of human Ikaros isoforms during the cell cycle in human ALL.


Electromobility shift assay (EMSA), confocal microscopy, and phosphopeptide mapping were used to study Ikaros function during different stages of the cell cycle.


The DNA-binding activity of human Ikaros complexes undergoes dynamic changes as the cell cycle progresses. In S phase, Ikaros DNA-binding affinity for regulatory regions of its target genes decreases, while its binding to pericentromeric heterochromatin is preserved and correlates with Ikaros pericentromeric localization. These S phase-specific changes in Ikaros function are controlled by phosphorylation via the CK2 kinase pathway. During cell cycle progression, the subcellular pericentromeric localization of the largest human Ikaros isoforms is different from that in mouse cells, suggesting unique functions for human Ikaros.


Our results demonstrate that the function of Ikaros is cell cycle-specific and controlled by CK2-mediated phosphorylation during S phase of the cell cycle in human T-cell and B-cell ALL. The differences we observe in murine and human Ikaros function highlight the importance of using human cells in studies of ALL. These data identify the CK2 pathway as a target for therapies in ALL.

Copyright © 2011 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

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