PloS one

SWI/SNF Subunits SMARCA4, SMARCD2 and DPF2 Collaborate in MLL-Rearranged Leukaemia Maintenance.

PMID 26571505


Alterations in chromatin structure caused by deregulated epigenetic mechanisms collaborate with underlying genetic lesions to promote cancer. SMARCA4/BRG1, a core component of the SWI/SNF ATP-dependent chromatin-remodelling complex, has been implicated by its mutational spectrum as exerting a tumour-suppressor function in many solid tumours; recently however, it has been reported to sustain leukaemogenic transformation in MLL-rearranged leukaemia in mice. Here we further explore the role of SMARCA4 and the two SWI/SNF subunits SMARCD2/BAF60B and DPF2/BAF45D in leukaemia. We observed the selective requirement for these proteins for leukaemic cell expansion and self-renewal in-vitro as well as in leukaemia. Gene expression profiling in human cells of each of these three factors suggests that they have overlapping functions in leukaemia. The gene expression changes induced by loss of the three proteins demonstrate that they are required for the expression of haematopoietic stem cell associated genes but in contrast to previous results obtained in mouse cells, the three proteins are not required for the expression of c-MYC regulated genes.