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Exp Hematol. 2015 Nov;43(11):930-935.e6. doi: 10.1016/j.exphem.2015.06.005. Epub 2015 Jun 26.

Inactivation of Eed impedes MLL-AF9-mediated leukemogenesis through Cdkn2a-dependent and Cdkn2a-independent mechanisms in a murine model.

Author information

Center for Cancer and Blood Disorders, Children's Hospital Colorado, and Department of Pediatrics, Section of Pediatric Hematology/Oncology/Bone Marrow Transplantation, University of Colorado Denver, 13123 East 16th Avenue, Aurora, CO 80045, USA.
Human Oncology and Pathogenesis Program, and Leukemia Service, Department of Medicine; Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, Zuckerman Research Center, 417 East 68th Street New York, NY 10065New York, NY 10065, USA.
Dana Farber Cancer Institute and Boston Children's Hospital, Harvard Medical School and HHMI, 450 Brookline Avenue, Boston, MA 02215, USA.
Contributed equally


Polycomb repressive complex 2 (PRC2) is a chromatin regulator with central roles in development and cancer. The canonical function of PRC2 is the trimethylation of histone 3 on lysine residue 27. This epigenetic modification is associated with gene silencing. Both tumor suppressor and oncogenic functions have been reported for PRC2, depending on cellular context. In leukemia mediated by the leukemogenic fusion MLL-AF9, complete ablation of canonical PRC2 function by genetic inactivation of the core component embryonic ectoderm development (Eed) or by combined pharmacologic inhibition of the PRC2 methyltransferases EZH2 and EZH1 has a strong anti-leukemic effect, and this effect has been linked to de-repression of the PRC2 target locus Cdkn2a. We asked whether inactivation of Cdkn2a is sufficient to restore leukemic activity of Eed-inactivated MLL-AF9 leukemia cells, using combined genetic inactivation of Cdkn2a and Eed. We found that Cdkn2a inactivation partially rescues in vitro and in vivo growth of Eed-inactivated MLL-AF9 cells. However, the growth of Eed-null Cdkn2a-null MLL-AF9 cells in the absence of Cdkn2a remained severely compromised in vitro and in vivo, compared with that of their Eed-floxed Cdkn2a-null counterparts. RNA sequencing analysis revealed that several genes previously implicated in inefficient growth of MLL-AF9-transformed cells, including Gata2, Egr1, and Cdkn2b were de-repressed as a consequence of Eed inactivation. Furthermore, we found that direct binding targets of MLL fusion proteins are negatively enriched in Eed-inactivated Cdkn2a-null MLL-AF9-transformed cells. Our data indicate that interference with PRC2 function affects MLL-AF9-mediated leukemogenesis by both Cdkn2a-dependent and Cdkn2a-independent mechanisms.

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