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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Transformation of myeloid progenitors by MLL oncoproteins is dependent on Hoxa7 and Hoxa9.

Transcriptional deregulation through the production of dominant-acting chimeric transcription factors derived from chromosomal translocations is a common theme in the pathogenesis of acute leukemias; however, the essential target genes for acute leukemogenesis are unknown. We demonstrate here that primary myeloid progenitors immortalized by various MLL oncoproteins exhibit a characteristic Hoxa gene cluster expression profile, which reflects that preferentially expressed in the myeloid clonogenic progenitor fraction of normal bone marrow. Continued maintenance of this MLL-dependent Hoxa gene expression profile is associated with conditional MLL-associated myeloid immortalization. Moreover, Hoxa7 and Hoxa9 were specifically required for efficient in vitro myeloid immortalization by an MLL fusion protein but not other leukemogenic fusion proteins. Finally, in a bone marrow transduction/transplantation model, Hoxa9 is essential for MLL-dependent leukemogenesis in vivo, a primary requirement detected at the earliest stages of disease initiation. Thus, a genetic reliance on Hoxa7 and Hoxa9 in MLL-mediated transformation demonstrates a gain-of-function mechanism for MLL oncoproteins as upstream constitutive activators that promote myeloid transformation via a Hox-dependent mechanism.[1]


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