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Blood. 2012 Jun 21;119(25):6099-108. doi: 10.1182/blood-2011-10-388710. Epub 2012 May 7.

Setbp1 promotes the self-renewal of murine myeloid progenitors via activation of Hoxa9 and Hoxa10.

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  • 1Department of Pediatrics, Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences, 4301 Jones Bridge Rd, Bethesda, MD 20814, USA.


Acquisition of self-renewal capability by myeloid progenitors to become leukemic stem cells during myeloid leukemia development is poorly understood. Here, we show that Setbp1 overexpression efficiently confers self-renewal capability to myeloid progenitors in vitro, causing their immortalization in the presence of stem cell factor and IL-3. Self-renewal after immortalization requires continuous Setbp1 expression. We also found that Hoxa9 and Hoxa10 mRNA are present at dramatically higher levels in Setbp1-immortalized cells compared with other immortalized cells, and are induced shortly after Setbp1 expression in primary myeloid progenitors. Suppression of either gene in Setbp1-immortalized cells drastically reduces their colony-forming capability. Interestingly, Setbp1 protein associates with Hoxa9 and Hoxa10 promoters in chromatin immunoprecipitation assays in these cells, suggesting that both are direct transcriptional targets of Setbp1. Setbp1 also promotes self-renewal of myeloid progenitors in vivo as its coexpression with BCR/ABL transforms primary mouse myeloid progenitors, generating aggressive leukemias in recipient mice resembling chronic myelogenous leukemia (CML) myeloid blast crisis. Increased SETBP1 mRNA levels were also detected in a subset of CML advanced phase/blast crisis patients with high levels of HOXA9 and HOXA10 expression. Thus, Setbp1 activation represents a novel mechanism conferring self-renewal capability to myeloid progenitors in myeloid leukemia development.

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