Gene Summary

Gene:MLLT1; MLLT1 super elongation complex subunit
Aliases: ENL, LTG19, YEATS1
Databases:OMIM, HGNC, Ensembl, GeneCard, Gene
Protein:protein ENL
Source:NCBIAccessed: 30 August, 2019


What does this gene/protein do?
Show (8)

Cancer Overview

Research Indicators

Publications Per Year (1994-2019)
Graph generated 30 August 2019 using data from PubMed using criteria.

Literature Analysis

Mouse over the terms for more detail; many indicate links which you can click for dedicated pages about the topic.

  • fms-Like Tyrosine Kinase 3
  • Acute Myeloid Leukaemia
  • Transcription Factors
  • MLL
  • Cancer DNA
  • MLLT1
  • Proto-Oncogenes
  • Wilms Tumour
  • Transduction
  • Neoplastic Cell Transformation
  • Neoplasm Proteins
  • Gene Rearrangement
  • Transplantation, Haploidentical
  • DNA Sequence Analysis
  • Messenger RNA
  • Chromosome 19
  • Precursor B-Cell Lymphoblastic Leukemia-Lymphoma
  • Newborns
  • Transcriptional Elongation Factors
  • Tamoxifen
  • Oncogene Fusion Proteins
  • HEK293 Cells
  • Cancer Gene Expression Regulation
  • KMT2A
  • Virus Diseases
  • Nuclear Proteins
  • Leukaemia
  • FISH
  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • Transcription
  • Adolescents
  • DNA-Binding Proteins
  • Childhood Cancer
  • Biomarkers, Tumor
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Infant
  • Chromosome 11
  • Base Sequence
  • Promoter Regions
  • Acute Lymphocytic Leukaemia
  • Histone-Lysine N-Methyltransferase
Tag cloud generated 30 August, 2019 using data from PubMed, MeSH and CancerIndex

Specific Cancers (5)

Data table showing topics related to specific cancers and associated disorders. Scope includes mutations and abnormal protein expression.

Note: list is not exhaustive. Number of papers are based on searches of PubMed (click on topic title for arbitrary criteria used).

Latest Publications: MLLT1 (cancer-related)

Capela de Matos RR, Ney Garcia DR, Othman MAK, et al.
A New Complex Karyotype Involving a KMT2A-r Variant Three-Way Translocation in a Rare Clinical Presentation of a Pediatric Patient with Acute Myeloid Leukemia.
Cytogenet Genome Res. 2019; 157(4):213-219 [PubMed] Related Publications
Patients with childhood acute myeloid leukemia (AML) with complex karyotypes (CKs) have a dismal outcome. However, for patients with a KMT2A rearrangement (KMT2A-r), the prognosis appears to depend on the fusion partner gene rather than the karyotype structure. Thus, a precise characterization of KMT2A-r and the fusion partner genes, especially in CKs, is of interest for managing AML. We describe the clinical and molecular features of a child who presented with a large abdominal mass, AML, and a new CK, involving chromosomes 11, 16, and 19 leading to a KMT2A-MLLT1 fusion and 2 extra copies of the ELL gene, thus resulting in the concurrent overexpression of MLLT1 and ELL. Molecular cytogenetic studies defined the karyotype as 47,XY,der(11)t(11;16)(q23.3;p11.2),der(16)t(16;19)(p11.2;p13.3),der(19)t(11;19)(q23.3;p13.3),+der(19)t(16;19)(16pter→p11.2::19p13.3→19q11::19p11→19p13.3::16p11.2→16pter). Array CGH revealed a gain of 30.5 Mb in the 16p13.3p11.2 region and a gain of 18.1 Mb in the 19p13.3p12 region. LDI-PCR demonstrated the KMT2A-MLLT1 fusion. Reverse sequence analysis showed that the MLLT1 gene was fused to the 16p11.2 region. RT-qPCR quantification revealed that ELL and MLLT1 were overexpressed (4- and 10-fold, respectively). In summary, this is a pediatric case of AML presenting a novel complex t(11;16;19) variant with overexpression of ELL and MLLT1.

Peterson JF, Baughn LB, Pearce KE, et al.
KMT2A (MLL) rearrangements observed in pediatric/young adult T-lymphoblastic leukemia/lymphoma: A 10-year review from a single cytogenetic laboratory.
Genes Chromosomes Cancer. 2018; 57(11):541-546 [PubMed] Related Publications
T-lymphoblastic leukemia/lymphoma (T-ALL/LBL) accounts for approximately 15% of pediatric and 25% of adult ALL. While the underlying frequency of KMT2A (MLL) gene rearrangements has been identified in approximately 4-8% of T-ALL/LBL cases, a paucity of literature is available to characterize further the KMT2A rearrangements in pediatric/young adult T-ALL/LBL. A 10-year retrospective review was performed to identify KMT2A rearrangements in specimens sent for T-ALL/LBL fluorescence in situ hybridization studies in patients under the age of 30 years. Of 806 T-ALL/LBL FISH studies performed on unique individuals, 27 (3.3%) harbored KMT2A rearrangements. Nineteen patients were male and eight were female (M:F ratio, 2.4:1) with ages ranging from 1 to 20 years (mean 12, median 12). Of the 27 cases, nine (33%) had KMT2A/MLLT1 fusions, eight (30%) had KMT2A/AFDN fusions, two (7%) had KMT2A/ELL fusions, and one (4%) had a KMT2A/MLLT10 fusion. In addition, five (19%) had KMT2A rearrangements with unidentified gene fusion partners and two (7%) had 3'KMT2A deletions. Our results indicate that MLLT1 and AFDN account for the majority (63%) of KMT2A gene partners in pediatric/young adult T-ALL/LBL, while no KMT2A/AFF1 or KMT2A/MLLT3 fusions were observed despite their common identification in B-ALL and acute myeloid leukemia, respectively. In addition to diagnostic and prognostic value, detecting specific KMT2A fusions may also be of clinical importance in the era of targeted therapies.

Zhou J, Ng Y, Chng WJ
ENL: structure, function, and roles in hematopoiesis and acute myeloid leukemia.
Cell Mol Life Sci. 2018; 75(21):3931-3941 [PubMed] Related Publications
ENL/MLLT1 is a distinctive member of the KMT2 family based on its structural homology. ENL is a histone acetylation reader and a critical component of the super elongation complex. ENL plays pivotal roles in the regulation of chromatin remodelling and gene expression of many important proto-oncogenes, such as Myc, Hox genes, via histone acetylation. Novel insights of the key role of the YEATS domain of ENL in the transcriptional control of leukemogenic gene expression has emerged from whole genome Crisp-cas9 studies in acute myeloid leukemia (AML). In this review, we have summarized what is currently known about the structure and function of the ENL molecule. We described the ENL's role in normal hematopoiesis, and leukemogenesis. We have also outlined the detailed molecular mechanisms underlying the regulation of target gene expression by ENL, as well as its major interacting partners and complexes involved. Finally, we discuss the emerging knowledge of different approaches for the validation of ENL as a therapeutic target and the development of small-molecule inhibitors disrupting the YEATS reader pocket of ENL protein, which holds great promise for the treatment of AML. This review will not only provide a fundamental understanding of the structure and function of ENL and update on the roles of ENL in AML, but also the development of new therapeutic strategies.

Magnani CF, Mezzanotte C, Cappuzzello C, et al.
Preclinical Efficacy and Safety of CD19CAR Cytokine-Induced Killer Cells Transfected with Sleeping Beauty Transposon for the Treatment of Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia.
Hum Gene Ther. 2018; 29(5):602-613 [PubMed] Related Publications
Infusion of patient-derived CD19-specific chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T cells engineered by viral vectors achieved complete remission and durable response in relapsed and refractory (r/r) B-lineage neoplasms. Here, we expand on those findings by providing a preclinical evaluation of allogeneic non-viral cytokine-induced killer (CIK) cells transfected with the Sleeping Beauty (SB) transposon CD19CAR (CARCIK-CD19). Specifically, thanks to a large-scale 18-day manufacturing process, it was possible to achieve stable CD19CAR expression (62.425 ± 6.399%) and efficient T-cell expansion (23.36 ± 3.00-fold). Frozen/thawed CARCIK-CD19 remained fully functional both in vitro and in an established patient-derived xenograft (PDX) of MLL-ENL rearranged acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL). CARCIK-CD19 showed a dose-dependent antitumor response and prolonged persistence in a PDX, bearing the feature of a Philadelphia-like ALL with PAX5/AUTS2 translocation, and in a survival model of lymphoma, achieving complete eradication of disseminated tumors. Finally, the infusion of CARCIK-CD19 proved to be safe and well tolerated in a biodistribution and toxicity model. The infused cells persisted in the hematopoietic and post-injection perfused organs until the end of the study and consisted of CD8

Hsu CC, Shi J, Yuan C, et al.
Recognition of histone acetylation by the GAS41 YEATS domain promotes H2A.Z deposition in non-small cell lung cancer.
Genes Dev. 2018; 32(1):58-69 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Histone acetylation is associated with active transcription in eukaryotic cells. It helps to open up the chromatin by neutralizing the positive charge of histone lysine residues and providing binding platforms for "reader" proteins. The bromodomain (BRD) has long been thought to be the sole protein module that recognizes acetylated histones. Recently, we identified the YEATS domain of AF9 (ALL1 fused gene from chromosome 9) as a novel acetyl-lysine-binding module and showed that the ENL (eleven-nineteen leukemia) YEATS domain is an essential acetyl-histone reader in acute myeloid leukemias. The human genome encodes four YEATS domain proteins, including GAS41, a component of chromatin remodelers responsible for H2A.Z deposition onto chromatin; however, the importance of the GAS41 YEATS domain in human cancer remains largely unknown. Here we report that

Burillo-Sanz S, Morales-Camacho RM, Caballero-Velázquez T, et al.
MLL-rearranged acute myeloid leukemia: Influence of the genetic partner in allo-HSCT response and prognostic factor of MLL 3' region mRNA expression.
Eur J Haematol. 2018; 100(5):436-443 [PubMed] Related Publications
OBJECTIVE: MLL gene is involved in more than 80 known genetic fusions in acute leukemia. To study the relevance of MLL partner gene and selected gene's expression, in this work, we have studied a cohort of 20 MLL-rearranged acute myeloid leukemia (AML).
METHODS: Twenty MLL-rearranged AML patients along with a control cohort of 138 AML patients are included in this work. By RT-PCR and sequencing, MLL genetic fusion was characterized, and relative gene expression quantification was carried out for EVI1, MEIS1, MLL-3', RUNX1, SETBP1, HOXA5, and FLT3 genes. Risk stratification and association of MLL genetic partner and gene expression to overall survival, in the context of received therapy, were performed.
RESULTS: MLLr cohort showed to have an OS more similar to intermediate-risk AML. Type of MLL genetic partner showed to be relevant in allo-HSCT response; having MLLT1 and MLLT3, a better benefit from it. Expression of MLL-3' region, EVI1 and FLT3, showed association with OS in patients undergoing allo-HSCT.
CONCLUSION: We show that the MLL genetic partner could have implications in allo-HSCT response, and we propose three genes whose expression could be useful for the prognosis of this leukemia in patients undergoing allo-HSCT: 3' region of MLL, EVI1, and FLT3.

Hetzner K, Garcia-Cuellar MP, Büttner C, Slany RK
The interaction of ENL with PAF1 mitigates polycomb silencing and facilitates murine leukemogenesis.
Blood. 2018; 131(6):662-673 [PubMed] Related Publications
Eleven-nineteen leukemia (ENL) is a chromatin reader present in complexes stimulating transcriptional elongation. It is fused to mixed-lineage leukemia (MLL) in leukemia, and missense mutations have been identified in Wilms tumor and acute myeloid leukemia. Here we demonstrate that ENL overcomes polycomb silencing through recruitment of PAF1 via the conserved YEATS domain, which recognizes acetylated histone H3. PAF1 was responsible for antirepressive activities of ENL in vitro, and it determined the transforming potential of MLL-ENL. MLL-ENL target loci showed supraphysiological PAF1 binding, hyperubiquitination of histone H2B and hypomodification with H2AUb, resulting in accelerated transcription rates. YEATS mutations induced a gain of function, transforming primary hematopoietic cells in vitro and in transplantation assays through aberrant transcription and H2B ubiquitination of

Afrin S, Zhang CRC, Meyer C, et al.
Targeted Next-Generation Sequencing for Detecting
Mol Cancer Res. 2018; 16(2):279-285 [PubMed] Related Publications
Mixed lineage leukemia (

Gadd S, Huff V, Walz AL, et al.
A Children's Oncology Group and TARGET initiative exploring the genetic landscape of Wilms tumor.
Nat Genet. 2017; 49(10):1487-1494 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
We performed genome-wide sequencing and analyzed mRNA and miRNA expression, DNA copy number, and DNA methylation in 117 Wilms tumors, followed by targeted sequencing of 651 Wilms tumors. In addition to genes previously implicated in Wilms tumors (WT1, CTNNB1, AMER1, DROSHA, DGCR8, XPO5, DICER1, SIX1, SIX2, MLLT1, MYCN, and TP53), we identified mutations in genes not previously recognized as recurrently involved in Wilms tumors, the most frequent being BCOR, BCORL1, NONO, MAX, COL6A3, ASXL1, MAP3K4, and ARID1A. DNA copy number changes resulted in recurrent 1q gain, MYCN amplification, LIN28B gain, and MIRLET7A loss. Unexpected germline variants involved PALB2 and CHEK2. Integrated analyses support two major classes of genetic changes that preserve the progenitor state and/or interrupt normal development.

Yang H, Cao T, Gao L, et al.
The incidence and distribution characteristics of MLL rearrangements in Chinese acute myeloid leukemia patients by multiplex nested RT-PCR.
Technol Health Care. 2017; 25(S1):259-265 [PubMed] Related Publications
Occurrence of MLL (Mixed Lineage Leukemia) gene rearrangements indicates poor prognosis in acute myeloid leukemia (AML) patients. This is the first study to report the positive rate and distribution characteristics of MLL rearrangements in AML patients in north China. We used multiplex nested real time PCR (RT-PCR) to screen for incidence of 11 MLL rearrangements in 433 AML patients. Eleven MLL rearrangements included (MLL-PTD, MLL-AF9, MLL-ELL, MLL-AF10, MLL-AF17, MLL-AF6, MLL-ENL, MLL-AF1Q, MLL-CBP, MLL-AF1P, MLL-AFX1). There were 68 AML patients with MLL rearrangements, and the positive rate was 15.7%. MLL-PTD (4.84%) was detected in 21 patients, MLL-AF9 in 15, (3.46%), MLL-ELL in 10 (2.31%), MLL-AF10 in 8 (1.85%), MLL-AF1Q in 2 (0.46%), 3 cases each of MLL-AF17, MLL-AF6, MLL-ENL (0.69% each), a and single case each of MLL-CBP, MLL-AF1P, and MLL-AFX1 (0.23% each). The highest rate of MLL rearrangements was found in 24 patients with M5 subtype AML, occurring in 24 cases (35.3%). MLL rearrangements occurred in 21 patients with M2 subtype AML (30.9%), and in 10 patients with M4 subtype AML (14.7%). Screening fusion genes by multiplex nested RT-PCR is a convenient, fast, economical, and accurate method for diagnosis and predicting prognosis of AML.

Reimer J, Knöß S, Labuhn M, et al.
CRISPR-Cas9-induced t(11;19)/MLL-ENL translocations initiate leukemia in human hematopoietic progenitor cells
Haematologica. 2017; 102(9):1558-1566 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Chromosomal translocations that generate oncogenic fusion proteins are causative for most pediatric leukemias and frequently affect the

Germano G, Morello G, Aveic S, et al.
ZNF521 sustains the differentiation block in MLL-rearranged acute myeloid leukemia.
Oncotarget. 2017; 8(16):26129-26141 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Zinc finger protein 521 (ZNF521) is a multiple zinc finger transcription factor and a strong candidate as regulator of hematopoietic stem cell homeostasis. Recently, independent gene expression profile studies have evidenced a positive correlation between ZNF521 mRNA overexpression and MLL-rearranged acute myeloid leukemia (AML), leaving open the question on the role of ZNF521 in this subtype of leukemia. In this study, we sought to analyze the effect of ZNF521 depletion on MLL-rearranged AML cell lines and MLL-AF9 xenograft primary cells. Knockdown of ZNF521 with short-hairpin RNA (shRNA) led to decreased leukemia proliferation, reduced colony formation and caused cell cycle arrest in MLL-rearranged AML cell lines. Importantly, we showed that loss of ZNF521 substantially caused differentiation of both MLL-rearranged cell lines and primary cells. Moreover, gene profile analysis in ZNF521-silenced THP-1 cells revealed a loss of MLL-AF9-directed leukemic signature and an increase of the differentiation program. Finally, we determined that both MLL-AF9 and MLL-ENL fusion proteins directly interacted with ZNF521 promoter activating its transcription. In conclusion, our findings identify ZNF521 as a critical effector of MLL fusion proteins in blocking myeloid differentiation and highlight ZNF521 as a potential therapeutic target for this subtype of leukemia.

Okuda H, Stanojevic B, Kanai A, et al.
Cooperative gene activation by AF4 and DOT1L drives MLL-rearranged leukemia.
J Clin Invest. 2017; 127(5):1918-1931 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
The eleven-nineteen leukemia (ENL) protein family, composed of ENL and AF9, is a common component of 3 transcriptional modulators: AF4-ENL-P-TEFb complex (AEP), DOT1L-AF10-ENL complex (referred to as the DOT1L complex) and polycomb-repressive complex 1 (PRC1). Each complex associates with chromatin via distinct mechanisms, conferring different transcriptional properties including activation, maintenance, and repression. The mixed-lineage leukemia (MLL) gene often fuses with ENL and AF10 family genes in leukemia. However, the functional interrelationship among those 3 complexes in leukemic transformation remains largely elusive. Here, we have shown that MLL-ENL and MLL-AF10 constitutively activate transcription by aberrantly inducing both AEP-dependent transcriptional activation and DOT1L-dependent transcriptional maintenance, mostly in the absence of PRC1, to fully transform hematopoietic progenitors. These results reveal a cooperative transcriptional activation mechanism of AEP and DOT1L and suggest a molecular rationale for the simultaneous inhibition of the MLL fusion-AF4 complex and DOT1L for more effective treatment of MLL-rearranged leukemia.

Yoshimi A, Kato K, Hosaka S, et al.
Haploidentical peripheral blood stem cell transplantation without irradiation or busulfan after reduced-intensity conditioning for KMT2A(MLL)-rearranged infant B-cell precursor acute lymphoblastic leukemia: Report of two cases.
Pediatr Transplant. 2017; 21(4) [PubMed] Related Publications
We present two infants with KMT2A(MLL)-gene-R-associated BCP-ALL, who received HLA haploidentical PBSCT after RIC. The patients developed ALL at age 6 months and 3 months, respectively. Case 1 underwent PBSCT at the second CR with detectable KMT2A-AFF1(MLL-AF4) fusion gene transcript at 11 months of age, and Case 2 at the first CR without KMT2A-MLLT1(MLL-ENL) fusion gene transcript at 8 months of age. Both patients received G-CSF-mobilized unmanipulated peripheral blood mononuclear cells from their HLA haploidentical mothers after administration of FLU, MEL, and ATG. Tacrolimus, methotrexate, and mPSL were administered as prophylaxis against GVHD. Engraftment was rapidly obtained with complete chimerism in both patients. Acute adverse events included acute GVHD in Case 1 and bacterial sepsis in Case 2. At last clinical check at age 5 years and 4 years, respectively, both patients were recurrence-free and attained normal growth and development. We conclude that PBSCT from an HLA haploidentical mother with non-TBI and non-BU regimen seems feasible and efficacious, offering favorable life quality for infants.

Zhao D, Li Y, Xiong X, et al.
YEATS Domain-A Histone Acylation Reader in Health and Disease.
J Mol Biol. 2017; 429(13):1994-2002 [PubMed] Related Publications
Histone post-translational modifications (PTMs) carry an epigenetic layer of message to regulate diverse cellular processes at the chromatin level. Many of these PTMs are selectively recognized by dedicated effector proteins for normal cell growth and development, while dysregulation of these recognition events is often implicated in human diseases, notably cancer. Thus, it is fundamentally important to elucidate the regulatory mechanism(s) underlying the readout of PTMs on histones. The Yaf9, ENL, AF9, Taf14, Sas5 (YEATS) domain is an emerging reader module that selectively recognizes histone lysine acylation with a preference for crotonylation over acetylation. In the review, we discuss the recognition of histone acylations by the YEATS domain and the biological significance of this readout from multiple perspectives.

Wan L, Wen H, Li Y, et al.
ENL links histone acetylation to oncogenic gene expression in acute myeloid leukaemia.
Nature. 2017; 543(7644):265-269 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Cancer cells are characterized by aberrant epigenetic landscapes and often exploit chromatin machinery to activate oncogenic gene expression programs. Recognition of modified histones by 'reader' proteins constitutes a key mechanism underlying these processes; therefore, targeting such pathways holds clinical promise, as exemplified by the development of bromodomain and extra-terminal (BET) inhibitors. We recently identified the YEATS domain as an acetyl-lysine-binding module, but its functional importance in human cancer remains unknown. Here we show that the YEATS domain-containing protein ENL, but not its paralogue AF9, is required for disease maintenance in acute myeloid leukaemia. CRISPR-Cas9-mediated depletion of ENL led to anti-leukaemic effects, including increased terminal myeloid differentiation and suppression of leukaemia growth in vitro and in vivo. Biochemical and crystal structural studies and chromatin-immunoprecipitation followed by sequencing analyses revealed that ENL binds to acetylated histone H3, and co-localizes with H3K27ac and H3K9ac on the promoters of actively transcribed genes that are essential for leukaemia. Disrupting the interaction between the YEATS domain and histone acetylation via structure-based mutagenesis reduced the recruitment of RNA polymerase II to ENL-target genes, leading to the suppression of oncogenic gene expression programs. Notably, disrupting the functionality of ENL further sensitized leukaemia cells to BET inhibitors. Together, our data identify ENL as a histone acetylation reader that regulates oncogenic transcriptional programs in acute myeloid leukaemia, and suggest that displacement of ENL from chromatin may be a promising epigenetic therapy, alone or in combination with BET inhibitors, for aggressive leukaemia.

Erb MA, Scott TG, Li BE, et al.
Transcription control by the ENL YEATS domain in acute leukaemia.
Nature. 2017; 543(7644):270-274 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Recurrent chromosomal translocations producing a chimaeric MLL oncogene give rise to a highly aggressive acute leukaemia associated with poor clinical outcome. The preferential involvement of chromatin-associated factors as MLL fusion partners belies a dependency on transcription control. Despite recent progress made in targeting chromatin regulators in cancer, available therapies for this well-characterized disease remain inadequate, prompting the need to identify new targets for therapeutic intervention. Here, using unbiased CRISPR-Cas9 technology to perform a genome-scale loss-of-function screen in an MLL-AF4-positive acute leukaemia cell line, we identify ENL as an unrecognized gene that is specifically required for proliferation in vitro and in vivo. To explain the mechanistic role of ENL in leukaemia pathogenesis and dynamic transcription control, a chemical genetic strategy was developed to achieve targeted protein degradation. Acute loss of ENL suppressed the initiation and elongation of RNA polymerase II at active genes genome-wide, with pronounced effects at genes featuring a disproportionate ENL load. Notably, an intact YEATS chromatin-reader domain was essential for ENL-dependent leukaemic growth. Overall, these findings identify a dependency factor in acute leukaemia and suggest a mechanistic rationale for disrupting the YEATS domain in disease.

Yokoyama A
Transcriptional activation by MLL fusion proteins in leukemogenesis.
Exp Hematol. 2017; 46:21-30 [PubMed] Related Publications
Chromosomal translocations involving the mixed lineage leukemia (MLL) gene cause aggressive leukemia. Fusion proteins of MLL and a component of the AF4 family/ENL family/P-TEFb complex (AEP) are responsible for two-thirds of MLL-associated leukemia cases. MLL-AEP fusion proteins trigger aberrant self-renewal of hematopoietic progenitors by constitutively activating self-renewal-related genes. MLL-AEP fusion proteins activate transcription initiation by loading the TATA-binding protein (TBP) to the TATA element via selectivity factor 1. Although AEP retains transcription elongation and mediator recruiting activities, the rate-limiting step activated by MLL-AEP fusion proteins appears to be the TBP-loading step. This is contrary to prevailing views, in which the recruitment of transcription elongation activities are emphasized. Here, I review recent advances towards elucidating the mechanisms underlying gene activation by MLL-AEP fusion proteins in leukemogenesis.

Bergmann AK, Castellano G, Alten J, et al.
DNA methylation profiling of pediatric B-cell lymphoblastic leukemia with KMT2A rearrangement identifies hypomethylation at enhancer sites.
Pediatr Blood Cancer. 2017; 64(3) [PubMed] Related Publications
Deregulation of the epigenome is an important pathogenetic mechanism in acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) with lysine (K)-specific methyltransferase 2A rearrangement (KMT2Ar). We performed array-based DNA methylation profiling of KMT2Ar ALL cells from 26 children in comparison to normal B-cell precursors. Significant changes in DNA methylation in KMT2Ar ALL were identified in 2,545 CpG loci, influenced by age and the translocation partners AFF1 and MLLT1. In KMT2Ar ALL, DNA methylation loss was enriched at enhancers and for certain transcription factor binding sites such as BCL11A, EBF, and MEF2A. In summary, DNA methylation changes in KMT2Ar ALL target enhancers, genes involved in leukemogenesis and normal hematopoiesis, as well as transcription factor networks.

Morgado-Palacin I, Day A, Murga M, et al.
Targeting the kinase activities of ATR and ATM exhibits antitumoral activity in mouse models of MLL-rearranged AML.
Sci Signal. 2016; 9(445):ra91 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Among the various subtypes of acute myeloid leukemia (AML), those with chromosomal rearrangements of the MLL oncogene (AML-MLL) have a poor prognosis. AML-MLL tumor cells are resistant to current genotoxic therapies because of an attenuated response by p53, a protein that induces cell cycle arrest and apoptosis in response to DNA damage. In addition to chemicals that damage DNA, efforts have focused on targeting DNA repair enzymes as a general chemotherapeutic approach to cancer treatment. Here, we found that inhibition of the kinase ATR, which is the primary sensor of DNA replication stress, induced chromosomal breakage and death of mouse AML(MLL) cells (with an MLL-ENL fusion and a constitutively active N-RAS independently of p53. Moreover, ATR inhibition as a single agent exhibited antitumoral activity, both reducing tumor burden after establishment and preventing tumors from growing, in an immunocompetent allograft mouse model of AML(MLL) and in xenografts of a human AML-MLL cell line. We also found that inhibition of ATM, a kinase that senses DNA double-strand breaks, also promoted the survival of the AML(MLL) mice. Collectively, these data indicated that ATR or ATM inhibition represent potential therapeutic strategies for the treatment of AML, especially MLL-driven leukemias.

Ney Garcia DR, de Souza MT, de Figueiredo AF, et al.
Molecular characterization of KMT2A fusion partner genes in 13 cases of pediatric leukemia with complex or cryptic karyotypes.
Hematol Oncol. 2017; 35(4):760-768 [PubMed] Related Publications
In pediatric acute leukemias, reciprocal chromosomal translocations frequently cause gene fusions involving the lysine (K)-specific methyltransferase 2A gene (KMT2A, also known as MLL). Specific KMT2A fusion partners are associated with the disease phenotype (lymphoblastic vs. myeloid), and the type of KMT2A rearrangement also has prognostic implications. However, the KMT2A partner gene cannot always be identified by banding karyotyping. We sought to identify such partner genes in 13 cases of childhood leukemia with uninformative karyotypes by combining molecular techniques, including multicolor banding FISH, reverse-transcriptase PCR, and long-distance inverse PCR. Of the KMT2A fusion partner genes, MLLT3 was present in five patients, all with acute lymphoblastic leukemia, MLLT1 in two patients, and MLLT10, MLLT4, MLLT11, and AFF1 in one patient each. Reciprocal reading by long-distance inverse PCR also disclosed KMT2A fusions with PITPNA in one patient, with LOC100132273 in another patient, and with DNA sequences not compatible with any gene in three patients. The most common KMT2A breakpoint region was intron/exon 9 (3/8 patients), followed by intron/exon 11 and 10. Finally, multicolor banding revealed breakpoints in other chromosomes whose biological and prognostic implications remain to be determined. We conclude that the combination of molecular techniques used in this study can efficiently identify KMT2A fusion partners in complex pediatric acute leukemia karyotypes. Copyright © 2016 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Li WB, Zhou J, Xu L, et al.
Identification of Genes Associated with Papillary Thyroid Carcinoma (PTC) for Diagnosis by Integrated Analysis.
Horm Metab Res. 2016; 48(4):226-31 [PubMed] Related Publications
Papillary thyroid carcinoma (PTC) is the most common type of thyroid carcinoma, and our understanding of its pathogenesis is incomplete. To elucidate the mechanisms underlying such progression and identify novel diagnostic markers, we aimed to discover the underlying gene associated with PTC. Integrated analysis of microarray datasets was performed to identify differentially expressed genes (DEGs) between PTCs and normal tissues. GO enrichment analysis and KEGG pathway enrichment analysis were then performed to uncover the functions of DEGs. Furthermore, the protein-protein interaction (PPI) network of DEGs was constructed. Five GEO datasets were obtained. Totally, 154 DEGs across the studies were identified, including 26 upregulated and 128 downregulated DEGs. In the PPI network, MLLT1, DLG2, and EFEMP1 were the hub proteins, in which DLG2 and EFEMP1 were involved in tumor progression. Among the top 10 up- and downregulated genes, the dysregulation genes of TPO, CDH16, and MPPED2 may be closely related to the tumorigenesis of PTC. By integrated analysis of multiple gene expression profiles, we propose that the dysregulation genes of TPO and MPPED2 will be the promising diagnostic markers for PTCs.

Shields BJ, Jackson JT, Metcalf D, et al.
Acute myeloid leukemia requires Hhex to enable PRC2-mediated epigenetic repression of Cdkn2a.
Genes Dev. 2016; 30(1):78-91 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Unlike clustered HOX genes, the role of nonclustered homeobox gene family members in hematopoiesis and leukemogenesis has not been extensively studied. Here we found that the hematopoietically expressed homeobox gene Hhex is overexpressed in acute myeloid leukemia (AML) and is essential for the initiation and propagation of MLL-ENL-induced AML but dispensable for normal myelopoiesis, indicating a specific requirement for Hhex for leukemic growth. Loss of Hhex leads to expression of the Cdkn2a-encoded tumor suppressors p16(INK4a) and p19(ARF), which are required for growth arrest and myeloid differentiation following Hhex deletion. Mechanistically, we show that Hhex binds to the Cdkn2a locus and directly interacts with the Polycomb-repressive complex 2 (PRC2) to enable H3K27me3-mediated epigenetic repression. Thus, Hhex is a potential therapeutic target that is specifically required for AML stem cells to repress tumor suppressor pathways and enable continued self-renewal.

Perlman EJ, Gadd S, Arold ST, et al.
MLLT1 YEATS domain mutations in clinically distinctive Favourable Histology Wilms tumours.
Nat Commun. 2015; 6:10013 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Wilms tumour is an embryonal tumour of childhood that closely resembles the developing kidney. Genomic changes responsible for the development of the majority of Wilms tumours remain largely unknown. Here we identify recurrent mutations within Wilms tumours that involve the highly conserved YEATS domain of MLLT1 (ENL), a gene known to be involved in transcriptional elongation during early development. The mutant MLLT1 protein shows altered binding to acetylated histone tails. Moreover, MLLT1-mutant tumours show an increase in MYC gene expression and HOX dysregulation. Patients with MLLT1-mutant tumours present at a younger age and have a high prevalence of precursor intralobar nephrogenic rests. These data support a model whereby activating MLLT1 mutations early in renal development result in the development of Wilms tumour.

Buechele C, Breese EH, Schneidawind D, et al.
MLL leukemia induction by genome editing of human CD34+ hematopoietic cells.
Blood. 2015; 126(14):1683-94 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Chromosomal rearrangements involving the mixed-lineage leukemia (MLL) gene occur in primary and treatment-related leukemias and confer a poor prognosis. Studies based primarily on mouse models have substantially advanced our understanding of MLL leukemia pathogenesis, but often use supraphysiological oncogene expression with uncertain implications for human leukemia. Genome editing using site-specific nucleases provides a powerful new technology for gene modification to potentially model human disease, however, this approach has not been used to re-create acute leukemia in human cells of origin comparable to disease observed in patients. We applied transcription activator-like effector nuclease-mediated genome editing to generate endogenous MLL-AF9 and MLL-ENL oncogenes through insertional mutagenesis in primary human hematopoietic stem and progenitor cells (HSPCs) derived from human umbilical cord blood. Engineered HSPCs displayed altered in vitro growth potentials and induced acute leukemias following transplantation in immunocompromised mice at a mean latency of 16 weeks. The leukemias displayed phenotypic and morphologic similarities with patient leukemia blasts including a subset with mixed phenotype, a distinctive feature seen in clinical disease. The leukemic blasts expressed an MLL-associated transcriptional program with elevated levels of crucial MLL target genes, displayed heightened sensitivity to DOT1L inhibition, and demonstrated increased oncogenic potential ex vivo and in secondary transplant assays. Thus, genome editing to create endogenous MLL oncogenes in primary human HSPCs faithfully models acute MLL-rearranged leukemia and provides an experimental platform for prospective studies of leukemia initiation and stem cell biology in a genetic subtype of poor prognosis leukemia.

Yang N, Huh J, Chung WS, et al.
KMT2A (MLL)-MLLT1 rearrangement in blastic plasmacytoid dendritic cell neoplasm.
Cancer Genet. 2015; 208(9):464-7 [PubMed] Related Publications
Blastic plasmacytoid dendritic cell neoplasm (BPDCN) is a rare hematologic malignancy characterized by CD4 and CD56 coexpression without apparent lineage commitment. The molecular pathogenesis of BPDCN has been studied in only a limited number of cases, and specific chromosomal aberrations are lacking thus far. KMT2A (MLL) rearrangements are observed in various types of pediatric and adult leukemia, but only one adult case report has so far showed KMT2A (MLL)-MLLT1 gene rearrangements in BPDCN. We present the first pediatric case of BPDCN with a KMT2A (MLL)-MLLT1 rearrangement confirmed by molecular study. The karyotype demonstrated a t(11;19)(q23;p13.3), trisomy 8, and trisomy 19 in all 20 metaphase cells analyzed: 48,XX,+8,t(11;19)(q23;p13.3),+19[20]. Fluorescence in situ hybridization analysis showed KMT2A (MLL) gene rearrangement in 83% of interphase cells. The KMT2A (MLL)-MLLT1 gene rearrangement was confirmed by multiplex reverse transcriptase polymerase chain reaction. We suggest that the pathogenesis of BPDCN could be associated with KMT2A (MLL) rearrangement (especially with KMT2A (MLL)-MLLT1) and further study on a larger number of cases is needed.

van der Linden MH, Seslija L, Schneider P, et al.
Identification of genes transcriptionally responsive to the loss of MLL fusions in MLL-rearranged acute lymphoblastic leukemia.
PLoS One. 2015; 10(3):e0120326 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
INTRODUCTION: MLL-rearranged acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) in infants (<1 year) is characterized by high relapse rates and a dismal prognosis. To facilitate the discovery of novel therapeutic targets, we here searched for genes directly influenced by the repression of various MLL fusions.
METHODS: For this, we performed gene expression profiling after siRNA-mediated repression of MLL-AF4, MLL-ENL, and AF4-MLL in MLL-rearranged ALL cell line models. The obtained results were compared with various already established gene signatures including those consisting of known MLL-AF4 target genes, or those associated with primary MLL-rearranged infant ALL samples.
RESULTS: Genes that were down-regulated in response to the repression of MLL-AF4 and MLL-ENL appeared characteristically expressed in primary MLL-rearranged infant ALL samples, and often represented known MLL-AF4 targets genes. Genes that were up-regulated in response to the repression of MLL-AF4 and MLL-ENL often represented genes typically silenced by promoter hypermethylation in MLL-rearranged infant ALL. Genes that were affected in response to the repression of AF4-MLL showed significant enrichment in gene expression profiles associated with AF4-MLL expressing t(4;11)+ infant ALL patient samples.
CONCLUSION: We conclude that the here identified genes readily responsive to the loss of MLL fusion expression potentially represent attractive therapeutic targets and may provide additional insights in MLL-rearranged acute leukemias.

Marschalek R
MLL leukemia and future treatment strategies.
Arch Pharm (Weinheim). 2015; 348(4):221-8 [PubMed] Related Publications
Chromosomal rearrangements of the MLL gene are associated with high-risk infant, pediatric, adult, and therapy-induced acute leukemias. So far, about 80 different direct MLL fusions and about 120 reciprocal MLL fusions have been characterized at the molecular level. The common theme in these leukemia-associated genetic rearrangements is the genetic disruption of the MLL gene. This leads to MLL-X fusion proteins that still bind to nuclear factors (e.g., MEN1, LEDGF), which in turn allow them to target promoters and cause ectopic gene transcription. In addition, the most frequent MLL fusions (MLL-AF4, MLL-AF9, MLL-AF10, and MLL-ENL) are all recruiting the wild-type AF4 multiprotein complex that contains the target proteins P-TEFb, BRD4, and DOT1L. Vice versa, reciprocal X-MLL fusions exhibit a PHD domain (H3K4me3 reader domain), sequester the histone acetyltransferases CREBBP and MOF1 and bear a histone methyltransferase domain at their very C-terminus (SET domain). Except for AF4-MLL, the functional consequences deriving from reciprocal fusion proteins are not very well understood. However, based on our knowledge about the above-mentioned MLL fusions, it is reasonable to inhibit their oncogenic activity in a targeted fashion. Recent efforts in developing such inhibitors and their mode of action will be critically discussed.

Aoki Y, Watanabe T, Saito Y, et al.
Identification of CD34+ and CD34- leukemia-initiating cells in MLL-rearranged human acute lymphoblastic leukemia.
Blood. 2015; 125(6):967-80 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Translocation of the mixed-lineage leukemia (MLL) gene with AF4, AF9, or ENL results in acute leukemia with both lymphoid and myeloid involvement. We characterized leukemia-initiating cells (LICs) in primary infant MLL-rearranged leukemia using a xenotransplantation model. In MLL-AF4 patients, CD34(+)CD38(+)CD19(+) and CD34(-)CD19(+) cells initiated leukemia, and in MLL-AF9 patients, CD34(-)CD19(+) cells were LICs. In MLL-ENL patients, either CD34(+) or CD34(-) cells were LICs, depending on the pattern of CD34 expression. In contrast, in patients with these MLL translocations, CD34(+)CD38(-)CD19(-)CD33(-) cells were enriched for normal hematopoietic stem cells (HSCs) with in vivo long-term multilineage hematopoietic repopulation capacity. Although LICs developed leukemic cells with clonal immunoglobulin heavy-chain (IGH) rearrangement in vivo, CD34(+)CD38(-)CD19(-)CD33(-) cells repopulated recipient bone marrow and spleen with B cells, showing broad polyclonal IGH rearrangement and recipient thymus with CD4(+) single positive (SP), CD8(+) SP, and CD4(+)CD8(+) double-positive (DP) T cells. Global gene expression profiling revealed that CD9, CD32, and CD24 were over-represented in MLL-AF4, MLL-AF9, and MLL-ENL LICs compared with normal HSCs. In patient samples, these molecules were expressed in CD34(+)CD38(+) and CD34(-) LICs but not in CD34(+)CD38(-)CD19(-)CD33(-) HSCs. Identification of LICs and LIC-specific molecules in primary human MLL-rearranged acute lymphoblastic leukemia may lead to improved therapeutic strategies for MLL-rearranged leukemia.

Wallingford MC, Filkins R, Adams D, et al.
Identification of a novel isoform of the leukemia-associated MLLT1 (ENL/LTG19) protein.
Gene Expr Patterns. 2015; 17(1):11-5 [PubMed] Related Publications
Genome wide transcriptional profiles offer abundant information regarding mRNA levels in specific tissues, organs or developmental stages. Although these data sets do not offer spatial or cell type-specific information, they can be extremely useful for gene discovery when analyzed by the appropriate techniques. Previously, we proposed and validated the use of combinatorial dataset analysis techniques to identify novel genes required during pre-implantation development. Now we build upon this work to identify genes that have dynamic expression during gametogenesis. Here we present detailed analysis of the expression pattern of leukemia-associated, myeloid/lymphoid or mixed-lineage leukemia; translocated to 1 (Mllt1) gene. We document a novel splice isoform of Mllt1 and confirm that both Mllt1 mRNA isoforms are translated. We provide data supporting that MLLT1 protein isoforms display distinct stage-specific expression during spermiogenesis and adult tissues. Finally, we evaluated genes neighboring the Mllt1 locus, and show dynamic stage specific expression patterns of other genes Catsperd, Prr22, Rfx2 and Slc25a41. We document testes expressed alternative isoforms of Prr22 and Rfx2. These results indicate that transcriptome data mining, combined with specific expression analysis provides a wealth of novel gene expression information.

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