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Mol Cell Biol. 1995 Oct;15(10):5434-43.

Meis1, a PBX1-related homeobox gene involved in myeloid leukemia in BXH-2 mice.

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  • 1Jefferson Cancer Center, Jefferson Medical College, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19107, USA.


Leukemia results from the accumulation of multiple genetic alterations that disrupt the control mechanisms of normal growth and differentiation. The use of inbred mouse strains that develop leukemia has greatly facilitated the identification of genes that contribute to the neoplastic transformation of hematopoietic cells. BXH-2 mice develop myeloid leukemia as a result of the expression of an ecotropic murine leukemia virus that acts as an insertional mutagen to alter the expression of cellular proto-oncogenes. We report the isolation of a new locus, Meis1, that serves as a site of viral integration in 15% of the tumors arising in BXH-2 mice. Meis1 was mapped to a distinct location on proximal mouse chromosome 11, suggesting that it represents a novel locus. Analysis of somatic cell hybrids segregating human chromosomes allowed localization of MEIS1 to human chromosome 2p23-p12, in a region known to contain translocations found in human leukemias. Northern (RNA) blot analysis demonstrated that a Meis1 probe detected a 3.8-kb mRNA present in all BXH-2 tumors, whereas tumors containing integrations at the Meis1 locus expressed an additional truncated transcript. A Meis1 cDNA clone that encoded a novel member of the homeobox gene family was identified. The homeodomain of Meis1 is most closely related to those of the PBX/exd family of homeobox protein-encoding genes, suggesting that Meis1 functions in a similar fashion by cooperative binding to a distinct subset of HOX proteins. Collectively, these results indicate that altered expression of the homeobox gene Meis1 may be one of the events that lead to tumor formation in BXH-2 mice.

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