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Cancer Cell. 2007 Nov;12(5):457-66.

Epigenetic silencing of the myelopoiesis regulator microRNA-223 by the AML1/ETO oncoprotein.

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Department of Histology and Medical Embryology, University La Sapienza, Rome, 00161, Italy.


Hematopoietic transcription factors are involved in chromosomal translocations, which generate fusion proteins contributing to leukemia pathogenesis. Analysis of patient's primary leukemia blasts revealed that those carrying the t(8;21) generating AML1/ETO, the most common acute myeloid leukemia-associated fusion protein, display low levels of a microRNA-223 (miR-223), a regulator of myelopoiesis. Here, we show that miR-223 is a direct transcriptional target of AML1/ETO. By recruiting chromatin remodeling enzymes at an AML1-binding site on the pre-miR-223 gene, AML1/ETO induces heterochromatic silencing of miR-223. Ectopic miR-223 expression, RNAi against AML1/ETO, or demethylating treatment enhances miR-223 levels and restores cell differentiation. Here, we identify an additional action for a leukemia fusion protein linking the epigenetic silencing of a microRNA locus to the differentiation block of leukemia.

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