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PloS one

Cell fate decisions in malignant hematopoiesis: leukemia phenotype is determined by distinct functional domains of the MN1 oncogene.


PMID 25401736

Abstract

Extensive molecular profiling of leukemias and preleukemic diseases has revealed that distinct clinical entities, like acute myeloid (AML) and T-lymphoblastic leukemia (T-ALL), share similar pathogenetic mutations. It is not well understood how the cell of origin, accompanying mutations, extracellular signals or structural differences in a mutated gene determine the phenotypic identity of leukemias. We dissected the functional aspects of different protein regions of the MN1 oncogene and their effect on the leukemic phenotype, building on the ability of MN1 to induce leukemia without accompanying mutations. We found that the most C-terminal region of MN1 was required to block myeloid differentiation at an early stage, and deletion of an extended C-terminal region resulted in loss of myeloid identity and cell differentiation along the T-cell lineage in vivo. Megakaryocytic/erythroid lineage differentiation was blocked by the N-terminal region. In addition, the N-terminus was required for proliferation and leukemogenesis in vitro and in vivo through upregulation of HoxA9, HoxA10 and Meis2. Our results provide evidence that a single oncogene can modulate cellular identity of leukemic cells based on its active gene regions. It is therefore likely that different mutations in the same oncogene may impact cell fate decisions and phenotypic appearance of malignant diseases.

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