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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2007 Jun 26;104(26):10980-5. Epub 2007 Jun 20.

Oncogenic All1 fusion proteins target Drosha-mediated microRNA processing.

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*Department of Molecular Virology, Immunology, and Medical Genetics and Comprehensive Cancer Center, Ohio State University, Columbus, OH 43210.


MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are noncoding small RNA of approximately 22 bases, which suppress expression of target genes through translational block or degradation of a target's transcript. Recent studies uncovered specific miRNA expression profiles in human malignancies. Nevertheless, the mechanisms underlying cancer-specific miRNA expression are largely unknown. miRNA biogenesis consists of a series of steps beginning with generation of a primary transcript, termed pri-miRNA, and continuing into excision of a stem-loop hairpin structure within pri-miRNA by the nuclear RNaseIII enzyme Drosha, transportation to the cytoplasm, and further processing by a second RNaseIII enzyme Dicer, into a 22-base mature duplex RNA. In principle, alteration in any step during this maturation process could affect miRNA production. The ALL-1 (also termed MLL) gene was originally isolated by virtue of its involvement in recurrent chromosome translocations associated with acute leukemias, particularly in infant and therapy-related leukemias. These translocations result in the fusion of ALL-1 with partner genes and the consequent production of chimeric leukemogenic proteins. Here, we identify specific miRNAs up-regulated in leukemias triggered by All1 fusions. Further, we demonstrate coimmunoprecipitation of the All1/Af4 and All1/Af9 fusions with Drosha, disrupted by treatment with DNase I. Finally, we present evidence from ChIP experiments for All1 fusion protein-mediated recruitment of Drosha to target genes encoding miRNAs. Such recruitment may underlie the enhanced expression of the relevant miRNAs.

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