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Leukemia. 2003 Jan;17(1):9-16.

New mechanisms of AML1 gene alteration in hematological malignancies.

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  • 1Laboratoire d'hématologie A, CHRU, Lille, France.


The human AML1 gene (also named CBFA2 or RUNX1), located in the 21q22 chromosomal band, encodes for one of the two subunits forming a heterodimeric transcription factor, the human core binding factor (CBF). AML1 protein contains a highly evolutionary conserved domain of 128 amino acids called runt domain, responsible for both heterodimerization with the beta subunit of CBF and for DNA binding. AML1 is normally expressed in all hematopoietic lineages and acts to regulate the expression of various genes specific to hematopoiesis playing a pivotal role in myeloid differentiation. AML1 is one of the genes most frequently deregulated in leukemia through different mechanisms including translocation, mutation and amplification. Translocations lead to the formation of fusion genes encoding for chimerical proteins such as AML1-ETO which induces leukemogenesis. Recently, new mechanisms of AML1 deregulation by point mutations or amplification have been reported. To our knowledge, 51 patients (among 805 studied) with AML1 point mutations have been described. Forty of them have acute myeloid leukemia (AML) most often M0 AML. In this subtype of AML, the frequency of AML1 mutation is significantly higher; 21.5% of patients mutated (34/158). Mutations have also been found with lower frequency in other FAB subtype AML (6 cases), in myeloproliferative disorders (6 cases), in myelodysplastic syndrome (3 cases) and rarely in acute lymphoblastic leukemia (1 case). AML1 gene amplification has been found essentially in childhood ALL (12 cases) and more rarely in myeloid malignancies (4 cases). Here, we reviewed all these cases of AML1 point mutations and amplification and focused on the mechanisms of AML1 deregulation induced by these alterations.

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