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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 1997 Aug 5;94(16):8732-7.

MLL is fused to CBP, a histone acetyltransferase, in therapy-related acute myeloid leukemia with a t(11;16)(q23;p13.3).

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University of Chicago, Department of Medicine, Section of Hematology/Oncology, Chicago, IL 60637-1470, USA.


The recurring translocation t(11;16)(q23;p13.3) has been documented only in cases of acute leukemia or myelodysplasia secondary to therapy with drugs targeting DNA topoisomerase II. We show that the MLL gene is fused to the gene that codes for CBP (CREB-binding protein), the protein that binds specifically to the DNA-binding protein CREB (cAMP response element-binding protein) in this translocation. MLL is fused in-frame to a different exon of CBP in two patients producing chimeric proteins containing the AT-hooks, methyltransferase homology domain, and transcriptional repression domain of MLL fused to the CREB binding domain or to the bromodomain of CBP. Both fusion products retain the histone acetyltransferase domain of CBP and may lead to leukemia by promoting histone acetylation of genomic regions targeted by the MLL AT-hooks, leading to transcriptional deregulation via aberrant chromatin organization. CBP is the first partner gene of MLL containing well defined structural and functional motifs that provide unique insights into the potential mechanisms by which these translocations contribute to leukemogenesis.

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