MLL1 and MLL1 fusion proteins have distinct functions in regulating leukemic transcription program

Xu J., Li L., Xiong J., DenDekker A., Ye A., KARATAŞ BRISTOW H., ...More

Cell Discovery, vol.2, 2016 (Scopus) identifier identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 2
  • Publication Date: 2016
  • Doi Number: 10.1038/celldisc.2016.8
  • Journal Name: Cell Discovery
  • Journal Indexes: Scopus
  • Keywords: acute myeloid leukemia, epigenetic therapeutics, menin, MLL1, MLL fusion proteins
  • Istanbul Medipol University Affiliated: Yes


Mixed lineage leukemia protein-1 (MLL1) has a critical role in human MLL1 rearranged leukemia (MLLr) and is a validated therapeutic target. However, its role in regulating global gene expression in MLLr cells, as well as its interplay with MLL1 fusion proteins remains unclear. Here we show that despite shared DNA-binding and cofactor interacting domains at the N terminus, MLL1 and MLL-AF9 are recruited to distinct chromatin regions and have divergent functions in regulating the leukemic transcription program. We demonstrate that MLL1, probably through C-terminal interaction with WDR5, is recruited to regulatory enhancers that are enriched for binding sites of E-twenty-six (ETS) family transcription factors, whereas MLL-AF9 binds to chromatin regions that have no H3K4me1 enrichment. Transcriptome-wide changes induced by different small molecule inhibitors also highlight the distinct functions of MLL1 and MLL-AF9. Taken together, our studies provide novel insights on how MLL1 and MLL fusion proteins contribute to leukemic gene expression, which have implications for developing effective therapies in the future.