Gene Summary

Gene:SPI1; Spi-1 proto-oncogene
Aliases: OF, PU.1, SFPI1, SPI-1, SPI-A
Summary:This gene encodes an ETS-domain transcription factor that activates gene expression during myeloid and B-lymphoid cell development. The nuclear protein binds to a purine-rich sequence known as the PU-box found near the promoters of target genes, and regulates their expression in coordination with other transcription factors and cofactors. The protein can also regulate alternative splicing of target genes. Multiple transcript variants encoding different isoforms have been found for this gene. [provided by RefSeq, Jul 2008]
Databases:VEGA, OMIM, HGNC, Ensembl, GeneCard, Gene
Protein:transcription factor PU.1
Source:NCBIAccessed: 09 March, 2017


What does this gene/protein do?
Show (30)

Cancer Overview

Research Indicators

Publications Per Year (1992-2017)
Graph generated 09 March 2017 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.

  • Transcriptional Activation
  • Mutation
  • Core Binding Factor Alpha 2 Subunit
  • Messenger RNA
  • Hematopoiesis
  • p53 Protein
  • Drug Resistance
  • DNA Methylation
  • Retinoic Acid
  • Transcription Factor AP-1
  • Leukemic Gene Expression Regulation
  • Cancer Gene Expression Regulation
  • Cell Differentiation
  • Chromosome Banding
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins
  • Chromosome 11
  • fms-Like Tyrosine Kinase 3
  • Transcription Factors
  • Lung Cancer
  • Base Sequence
  • MicroRNAs
  • Gene Expression Profiling
  • Oncogene Fusion Proteins
  • Promoter Regions
  • Signal Transduction
  • Epigenetics
  • Oncogenes
  • Stem Cells
  • Biomarkers, Tumor
  • Translocation
  • ras Proteins
  • Leukemia, Radiation-Induced
  • Trans-Activators
  • Acute Myeloid Leukaemia
  • Leukemia, Promyelocytic, Acute
  • Transcriptome
  • Cell Lineage
  • Gene Expression Regulation
  • Gene Regulatory Networks
Tag cloud generated 09 March, 2017 using data from PubMed, MeSH and CancerIndex

Latest Publications: SPI1 (cancer-related)

Grassilli S, Nika E, Lambertini E, et al.
A network including PU.1, Vav1 and miR-142-3p sustains ATRA-induced differentiation of acute promyelocytic leukemia cells - a short report.
Cell Oncol (Dordr). 2016; 39(5):483-489 [PubMed] Related Publications
PURPOSE: Reduced expression of miR-142-3p has been found to be associated with the development of various subtypes of myeloid leukemia, including acute promyelocytic leukemia (APL). In APL-derived cells, miR-142-3p expression can be restored by all-trans retinoic acid (ATRA), which induces the completion of their maturation program. Here, we aimed to assess whether PU.1, essential for ATRA-induced gene transcription, regulates the expression of miR-142-3p in APL-derived cells and, based on the established cooperation between PU.1 and Vav1 in modulating gene expression, to evaluate the role of Vav1 in restoring the expression of miR-142-3p.
METHODS: ATRA-induced increases in PU.1 and Vav1 expression in APL-derived NB4 cells were counteracted with specific siRNAs, and the expression of miR-142-3p was measured by quantitative real-time PCR (qRT-PCR). The recruitment of PU.1 and/or Vav1 to the regulatory region of miR-142 was assessed by quantitative chromatin immunoprecipitation (Q-ChIP). Synthetic inhibitors or mimics for miR-142-3p were used to assess whether this miRNA plays a role in regulating the expression of PU.1 and/or Vav1.
RESULTS: We found that the expression of miR-142-3p in differentiating APL-derived NB4 cells is dependent on PU.1, and that Vav1 is essential for the recruitment of this transcription factor to its cis-binding element on the miR-142 promoter. In addition, we found that in ATRA-treated NB4 cells miR-142-3p sustains agonist-induced increases in both PU.1 and Vav1.
CONCLUSIONS: Our results suggest the existence of a Vav1/PU.1/miR-142-3p network that supports ATRA-induced differentiation in APL-derived cells. Since selective regulation of miRNAs may play a role in the future treatment of hematopoietic malignancies, our results may provide a basis for the development of new therapeutic strategies to restore the expression of miR-142-3p.

Liu W, Rodgers GP
Olfactomedin 4 expression and functions in innate immunity, inflammation, and cancer.
Cancer Metastasis Rev. 2016; 35(2):201-12 [PubMed] Related Publications
Olfactomedin 4 (OLFM4) is an olfactomedin domain-containing glycoprotein. Multiple signaling pathways and factors, including NF-κB, Wnt, Notch, PU.1, retinoic acids, estrogen receptor, and miR-486, regulate its expression. OLFM4 interacts with several other proteins, such as gene associated with retinoic-interferon-induced mortality 19 (GRIM-19), cadherins, lectins, nucleotide oligomerization domain-1 (NOD1) and nucleotide oligomerization domain-2 (NOD2), and cathepsins C and D, known to regulate important cellular functions. Recent investigations using Olfm4-deficient mouse models have provided important clues about its in vivo biological functions. Olfm4 inhibited Helicobacter pylori-induced NF-κB pathway activity and inflammation and facilitated H. pylori colonization in the mouse stomach. Olfm4-deficient mice exhibited enhanced immunity against Escherichia coli and Staphylococcus aureus infection. Olfm4 deletion in a chronic granulomatous disease mouse model rescued them from S. aureus infection. Olfm4 deletion in mice treated with azoxymethane/dextran sodium sulfate led to robust intestinal inflammation and intestinal crypt hyperplasia. Olfm4 deletion in Apc (Min/+) mice promoted intestinal polyp formation as well as adenocarcinoma development in the distal colon. Further, Olfm4-deficient mice spontaneously developed prostatic epithelial lesions as they age. OLFM4 expression is correlated with cancer differentiation, stage, metastasis, and prognosis in a variety of cancers, suggesting its potential clinical value as an early-stage cancer marker or a therapeutic target. Collectively, these data suggest that OLFM4 plays important roles in innate immunity against bacterial infection, gastrointestinal inflammation, and cancer. In this review, we have summarized OLFM4's initial characterization, expression, regulation, protein interactions, and biological functions.

Burda P, Vargova J, Curik N, et al.
GATA-1 Inhibits PU.1 Gene via DNA and Histone H3K9 Methylation of Its Distal Enhancer in Erythroleukemia.
PLoS One. 2016; 11(3):e0152234 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
GATA-1 and PU.1 are two important hematopoietic transcription factors that mutually inhibit each other in progenitor cells to guide entrance into the erythroid or myeloid lineage, respectively. PU.1 controls its own expression during myelopoiesis by binding to the distal URE enhancer, whose deletion leads to acute myeloid leukemia (AML). We herein present evidence that GATA-1 binds to the PU.1 gene and inhibits its expression in human AML-erythroleukemias (EL). Furthermore, GATA-1 together with DNA methyl Transferase I (DNMT1) mediate repression of the PU.1 gene through the URE. Repression of the PU.1 gene involves both DNA methylation at the URE and its histone H3 lysine-K9 methylation and deacetylation as well as the H3K27 methylation at additional DNA elements and the promoter. The GATA-1-mediated inhibition of PU.1 gene transcription in human AML-EL mediated through the URE represents important mechanism that contributes to PU.1 downregulation and leukemogenesis that is sensitive to DNA demethylation therapy.

Anguita E, Gupta R, Olariu V, et al.
A somatic mutation of GFI1B identified in leukemia alters cell fate via a SPI1 (PU.1) centered genetic regulatory network.
Dev Biol. 2016; 411(2):277-86 [PubMed] Related Publications
We identify a mutation (D262N) in the erythroid-affiliated transcriptional repressor GFI1B, in an acute myeloid leukemia (AML) patient with antecedent myelodysplastic syndrome (MDS). The GFI1B-D262N mutant functionally antagonizes the transcriptional activity of wild-type GFI1B. GFI1B-D262N promoted myelomonocytic versus erythroid output from primary human hematopoietic precursors and enhanced cell survival of both normal and MDS derived precursors. Re-analysis of AML transcriptome data identifies a distinct group of patients in whom expression of wild-type GFI1B and SPI1 (PU.1) have an inverse pattern. In delineating this GFI1B-SPI1 relationship we show that (i) SPI1 is a direct target of GFI1B, (ii) expression of GFI1B-D262N produces elevated expression of SPI1, and (iii) SPI1-knockdown restores balanced lineage output from GFI1B-D262N-expressing precursors. These results table the SPI1-GFI1B transcriptional network as an important regulatory axis in AML as well as in the development of erythroid versus myelomonocytic cell fate.

Murata T, Noda C, Narita Y, et al.
Induction of Epstein-Barr Virus Oncoprotein LMP1 by Transcription Factors AP-2 and Early B Cell Factor.
J Virol. 2016; 90(8):3873-89 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
UNLABELLED: Latent membrane protein 1 (LMP1) is a major oncogene essential for primary B cell transformation by Epstein-Barr virus (EBV). Previous studies suggested that some transcription factors, such as PU.1, RBP-Jκ, NF-κB, and STAT, are involved in this expression, but the underlying mechanism is unclear. Here, we identified binding sites for PAX5, AP-2, and EBF in the proximal LMP1 promoter (ED-L1p). We first confirmed the significance of PU.1 and POU domain transcription factor binding for activation of the promoter in latency III. We then focused on the transcription factors AP-2 and early B cell factor (EBF). Interestingly, among the three AP-2-binding sites in the LMP1 promoter, two motifs were also bound by EBF. Overexpression, knockdown, and mutagenesis in the context of the viral genome indicated that AP-2 plays an important role in LMP1 expression in latency II in epithelial cells. In latency III B cells, on the other hand, the B cell-specific transcription factor EBF binds to the ED-L1p and activates LMP1 transcription from the promoter.
IMPORTANCE: Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) latent membrane protein 1 (LMP1) is crucial for B cell transformation and oncogenesis of other EBV-related malignancies, such as nasopharyngeal carcinoma and T/NK lymphoma. Its expression is largely dependent on the cell type or condition, and some transcription factors have been implicated in its regulation. However, these previous reports evaluated the significance of specific factors mostly by reporter assay. In this study, we prepared point-mutated EBV at the binding sites of such transcription factors and confirmed the importance of AP-2, EBF, PU.1, and POU domain factors. Our results will provide insight into the transcriptional regulation of the major oncogene LMP1.

Shen L, Zhu J, Chen F, et al.
RUNX1-Evi-1 fusion gene inhibited differentiation and apoptosis in myelopoiesis: an in vivo study.
BMC Cancer. 2015; 15:970 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
BACKGROUND: Acute myeloid leukemia (AML) 1-Evi-1 is a chimeric gene generated by the t (3; 21) (q26; q22) translocation, which leads into malignant transformation of hematopoietic stem cells by unclear mechanisms. This in vivo study aimed to establish a stable line of zebrafish expressing the human RUNX1-Evi-1 fusion gene under the control of a heat stress-inducible bidirectional promoter, and investigate its roles in hematopoiesis and hematologic malignancies.
METHODS: We introduced human RUNX1-Evi-1 fusion gene into embryonic zebrafish through a heat-shock promoter to establish Tg(RE:HSE:EGFP) zebrafish. Two males and one female mosaic F0 zebrafish embryos (2.1%) were identified as stable positive germline transgenic zebrafish.
RESULTS: The population of immature myeloid cells and hematopoietic blast cells were accumulated in peripheral blood and single cell suspension from kidney of adult Tg(RE:HSE:EGFP) zebrafish. RUNX1-Evi-1 presented an intensive influence on hematopoietic regulatory factors. Consequently, primitive hematopoiesis was enhanced by upregulation of gata2 and scl, while erythropoiesis was downregulated due to the suppression of gata1. Early stage of myelopoiesis was flourishing with the high expression of pu.1, but it was inhibited along with the low expression of mpo. Microarray analysis demonstrated that RUNX1-Evi-1 not only upregulated proteasome, cell cycle, glycolysis/gluconeogenesis, tyrosine metabolism, drug metabolism, and PPAR pathway, but also suppressed transforming growth factor β, Jak-STAT, DNA replication, mismatch repair, p53 pathway, JNK signaling pathway, and nucleotide excision repair. Interestingly, histone deacetylase 4 was significantly up-regulated. Factors in cell proliferation were obviously suppressed after 3-day treatment with histone deacetylase inhibitor, valproic acid. Accordingly, higher proportion of G1 arrest and apoptosis were manifested by the propidium iodide staining.
CONCLUSION: RUNX1-Evi-1 may promote proliferation and apoptosis resistance of primitive hematopoietic cell, and inhibit the differentiation of myeloid cells with the synergy of different pathways and factors. VPA may be a promising choice in the molecular targeting therapy of RUNX1-Evi-1-related leukemia.

Polgárová K, Vášková M, Froňková E, et al.
Quantitative expression of regulatory and differentiation-related genes in the key steps of human hematopoiesis: The LeukoStage Database.
Differentiation. 2016 Jan-Mar; 91(1-3):19-28 [PubMed] Related Publications
Differentiation during hematopoiesis leads to the generation of many cell types with specific functions. At various stages of maturation, the cells may change pathologically, leading to diseases including acute leukemias (ALs). Expression levels of regulatory molecules (such as the IKZF, GATA, HOX, FOX, NOTCH and CEBP families, as well as SPI-1/PU1 and PAX5) and lineage-specific molecules (including CD2, CD14, CD79A, and BLNK) may be compared between pathological and physiological cells. Although the key steps of differentiation are known, the available databases focus mainly on fully differentiated cells as a reference. Precursor cells may be a more appropriate reference point for diseases that evolve at immature stages. Therefore, we developed a quantitative real-time polymerase chain reaction (qPCR) array to investigate 90 genes that are characteristic of the lymphoid or myeloid lineages and/or are thought to be involved in their regulation. Using this array, sorted cells of granulocytic, monocytic, T and B lineages were analyzed. For each of these lineages, 3-5 differentiation stages were selected (17 stages total), and cells were sorted from 3 different donors per stage. The qPCR results were compared to similarly processed AL cells of lymphoblastic (n=18) or myeloid (n=6) origins and biphenotypic AL cells of B cell origin with myeloid involvement (n=5). Molecules characteristic of each lineage were found. In addition, cells of a newly discovered switching lymphoblastic AL (swALL) were sorted at various phases during the supposed transdifferentiation from an immature B cell to a monocytic phenotype. As demonstrated previously, gene expression changed along with the immunophenotype. The qPCR data are publicly available in the LeukoStage Database in which gene expression in malignant and non-malignant cells of different lineages can be explored graphically and differentially expressed genes can be identified. In addition, the LeukoStage Database can aid the functional analyses of next-generation sequencing data.

Song G, Shi L, Guo Y, et al.
A novel PAD4/SOX4/PU.1 signaling pathway is involved in the committed differentiation of acute promyelocytic leukemia cells into granulocytic cells.
Oncotarget. 2016; 7(3):3144-57 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
All-trans retinoic acid (ATRA) treatment yields cure rates > 80% through proteasomal degradation of the PML-RARα fusion protein that typically promotes acute promyelocytic leukemia (APL). However, recent evidence indicates that ATRA can also promote differentiation of leukemia cells that are PML-RARα negative, such as HL-60 cells. Here, gene expression profiling of HL-60 cells was used to investigate the alternative mechanism of impaired differentiation in APL. The expression of peptidylarginine deiminase 4 (PADI4), encoding PAD4, a protein that post-translationally converts arginine into citrulline, was restored during ATRA-induced differentiation. We further identified that hypermethylation in the PADI4 promoter was associated with its transcriptional repression in HL-60 and NB4 (PML-RARα positive) cells. Functionally, PAD4 translocated into the nucleus upon ATRA exposure and promoted ATRA-mediated differentiation. Mechanistic studies using RNAi knockdown or electroporation-mediated delivery of PADI4, along with chromatin immunoprecipitation, helped identify PU.1 as an indirect target and SOX4 as a direct target of PAD4 regulation. Indeed, PAD4 regulates SOX4-mediated PU.1 expression, and thereby the differentiation process, in a SOX4-dependent manner. Taken together, our results highlight an association between PAD4 and DNA hypermethylation in APL and demonstrate that targeting PAD4 or regulating its downstream effectors may be a promising strategy to control differentiation in the clinic.

Endo S, Amano M, Nishimura N, et al.
Immunomodulatory drugs act as inhibitors of DNA methyltransferases and induce PU.1 up-regulation in myeloma cells.
Biochem Biophys Res Commun. 2016; 469(2):236-42 [PubMed] Related Publications
Immunomodulatory drugs (IMiDs) such as thalidomide, lenalidomide, and pomalidomide are efficacious in the treatment of multiple myeloma and significantly prolong their survival. However, the mechanisms of such effects of IMiDs have not been fully elucidated. Recently, cereblon has been identified as a target binding protein of thalidomide. Lenalidomide-resistant myeloma cell lines often lose the expression of cereblon, suggesting that IMiDs act as an anti-myeloma agent through interacting with cereblon. Cereblon binds to damaged DNA-binding protein and functions as a ubiquitin ligase, inducing degradation of IKZF1 and IKZF3 that are essential transcription factors for B and T cell development. Degradation of both IKZF1 and IKZF3 reportedly suppresses myeloma cell growth. Here, we found that IMiDs act as inhibitors of DNA methyltransferases (DMNTs). We previously reported that PU.1, which is an ETS family transcription factor and essential for myeloid and lymphoid development, functions as a tumor suppressor in myeloma cells. PU.1 induces growth arrest and apoptosis of myeloma cell lines. In this study, we found that low-dose lenalidomide and pomalidomide up-regulate PU.1 expression through inducing demethylation of the PU.1 promoter. In addition, IMiDs inhibited DNMT1, DNMT3a, and DNMT3b activities in vitro. Furthermore, lenalidomide and pomalidomide decreased the methylation status of the whole genome in myeloma cells. Collectively, IMiDs exert demethylation activity through inhibiting DNMT1, 3a, and 3b, and up-regulating PU.1 expression, which may be one of the mechanisms of the anti-myeloma activity of IMiDs.

Li LJ, Shao ZH
[Abnormal Proliferation and Differentiation of Hematopoietic Cells in Myelodysplastic Syndrome Patients].
Zhongguo Shi Yan Xue Ye Xue Za Zhi. 2015; 23(5):1504-8 [PubMed] Related Publications
Myelodysplastic Syndrome (MDS) is a group of clonal disorders of hematopoietic stem cells characterized by peripheral cytopenia, ineffective hematopoiesis, morphologically apparent multilineage dysplasia, and enhanced risk of evolution towards acute myeloid leukemia (AML). Most of the research findings have verified the abnormal proliferation and differentiation of hematopoietic cells in MDS. The defects of cellular and molecular factors such as transcription factors (GATA-1~GATA-3, FOG1, Pu.1), growth factors (Epo, G-CSF, GM-CSF) and anti-apoptosis genes ultimately affect the cell cycle regulation and mismatch repair of DNA, changes of hematopoietic microenvironment and immune response. These defects result in ineffective hematopoiesis and dysplasia.

Bi L, Yu Z, Wu J, et al.
Honokiol Inhibits Constitutive and Inducible STAT3 Signaling via PU.1-Induced SHP1 Expression in Acute Myeloid Leukemia Cells.
Tohoku J Exp Med. 2015; 237(3):163-72 [PubMed] Related Publications
Constitutive and inducible activation of signal transducer and activator of transcription 3 (STAT3) signaling facilitates the carcinogenesis in most human cancers including acute myeloid leukemia (AML). Negative regulators, such as protein tyrosine phosphatases SHP1, inhibit the activated STAT3 signaling. In this study, we investigated the effect of honokiol (HNK), a constituent of Magnolia officinalis, on the STAT3 signaling. STAT3 signaling and SHP1 expression were measured by quantitative real-time PCR and western blotting in leukemic cell lines and primary AML blasts treated with HNK. HNK decreased the phosphorylated STAT3 but not the total STAT3 through increasing the expression of SHP1. In addition, HNK inhibited transcription activity of STAT3, reduced nuclear translocation of STAT3, and decreased the expression of STAT3 target genes. Knockdown of SHP1 by small hairpin RNA (shRNA) or treatment with vanadate, a protein tyrosine phosphatases inhibitor, abolished HNK-induced STAT3 inhibition, suggesting that SHP1 plays an important role in the inhibition of STAT3 signaling by HNK. Further, HNK increased the expression of transcript factor PU.1, which had been reported to activate the expression of SHP1 via binding SHP1 promoter region. Knockdown of PU.1 reversed HNK-induced upregulation of SHP1 and inactivation of STAT3 signaling. Finally, HNK increased the expression of PU.1 and SHP1 in hematopoietic progenitors isolated from patients with AML. In conclusion, our data have shown a regulatory mechanism underlying the inhibition of STAT3 signaling by HNK. Therefore, as a relative non-toxic compound, HNK may offer a therapeutic advantage in the clinical treatment for AML.

Xu X, Ren X, Wang H, et al.
Identification and functional analysis of acute myeloid leukemia susceptibility associated single nucleotide polymorphisms at non-protein coding regions of RUNX1.
Leuk Lymphoma. 2016; 57(6):1442-9 [PubMed] Related Publications
Little is known about the susceptibility to acute myeloid leukemia. We aim to search non-protein coding regions of key hematopoiesis transcription factors for genetic variations associated with acute myeloid leukemia susceptibility. We genotyped SNPs of RUNX1 P1 promoter, P2 promoter, +23 enhancer, intron 5.2 enhancer, PU.1 promoter, CEBPA promoter, and CEBPE promoter from acute myeloid leukemia patients and healthy controls. Rs2249650 and rs2268276 at RUNX1 intron 5.2 enhancer were found to be associated with acute myeloid leukemia susceptibility. Artificial reporters containing different rs2249650 and rs2268276 alleles showed differential activities in the K562 cell line, a human immortalized myeloid leukemia line. Rs2249650 contributes to reporter activities more than rs2268276. Gel shift assay is consistent with the luciferase assay. Supershift assay indicated that one potential binding protein was PU.1. To sum up, rs2268276 and especially rs2249650 may be qualified as new acute myeloid leukemia susceptibility-associated SNPs.

Will B, Vogler TO, Narayanagari S, et al.
Minimal PU.1 reduction induces a preleukemic state and promotes development of acute myeloid leukemia.
Nat Med. 2015; 21(10):1172-81 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Modest transcriptional changes caused by genetic or epigenetic mechanisms are frequent in human cancer. Although loss or near-complete loss of the hematopoietic transcription factor PU.1 induces acute myeloid leukemia (AML) in mice, a similar degree of PU.1 impairment is exceedingly rare in human AML; yet, moderate PU.1 inhibition is common in AML patients. We assessed functional consequences of modest reductions in PU.1 expression on leukemia development in mice harboring DNA lesions resembling those acquired during human stem cell aging. Heterozygous deletion of an enhancer of PU.1, which resulted in a 35% reduction of PU.1 expression, was sufficient to induce myeloid-biased preleukemic stem cells and their subsequent transformation to AML in a DNA mismatch repair-deficient background. AML progression was mediated by inhibition of expression of a PU.1-cooperating transcription factor, Irf8. Notably, we found marked molecular similarities between the disease in these mice and human myelodysplastic syndrome and AML. This study demonstrates that minimal reduction of a key lineage-specific transcription factor, which commonly occurs in human disease, is sufficient to initiate cancer development, and it provides mechanistic insight into the formation and progression of preleukemic stem cells in AML.

Strauss L, Sangaletti S, Consonni FM, et al.
RORC1 Regulates Tumor-Promoting "Emergency" Granulo-Monocytopoiesis.
Cancer Cell. 2015; 28(2):253-69 [PubMed] Related Publications
Cancer-driven granulo-monocytopoiesis stimulates expansion of tumor promoting myeloid populations, mostly myeloid-derived suppressor cells (MDSCs) and tumor-associated macrophages (TAMs). We identified subsets of MDSCs and TAMs based on the expression of retinoic-acid-related orphan receptor (RORC1/RORγ) in human and mouse tumor bearers. RORC1 orchestrates myelopoiesis by suppressing negative (Socs3 and Bcl3) and promoting positive (C/EBPβ) regulators of granulopoiesis, as well as the key transcriptional mediators of myeloid progenitor commitment and differentiation to the monocytic/macrophage lineage (IRF8 and PU.1). RORC1 supported tumor-promoting innate immunity by protecting MDSCs from apoptosis, mediating TAM differentiation and M2 polarization, and limiting tumor infiltration by mature neutrophils. Accordingly, ablation of RORC1 in the hematopoietic compartment prevented cancer-driven myelopoiesis, resulting in inhibition of tumor growth and metastasis.

Huskova H, Korecka K, Karban J, et al.
Oncogenic microRNA-155 and its target PU.1: an integrative gene expression study in six of the most prevalent lymphomas.
Int J Hematol. 2015; 102(4):441-50 [PubMed] Related Publications
The transcription factor PU.1 and its inhibitory microRNA-155 (miR-155) are important regulators of B-cell differentiation. PU.1 downregulation coupled with oncogenic miR-155 upregulation has been reported in lymphoid malignancies; however, these data have not been studied across different subtypes in relation to clinical outcomes. We studied expression of miR-155 and PU.1 in the six most prevalent human B-cell lymphomas (n = 131) including aggressive (DLBCL, HL, MCL) and indolent (B-CLL/SLL, MZL, FL) types. Levels of miR-155 and PU.1 inversely correlated in DLBCL, B-CLL/SLL, and FL tumor tissues. In HL tissues, an exceptionally high level of miR-155 was found in patients with unfavorable responses to first-line therapy and those who had shorter survival times. PU.1 downregulation was noted in B-CLL/SLL samples positive for the adverse prognostic markers CD38 and ZAP-70. Upregulation of miR-155 and downregulation of PU.1 expression are integral aspects of lymphoma biology that could mark aggressive behavior of some, but not all, lymphoma types.

Lavallée VP, Baccelli I, Krosl J, et al.
The transcriptomic landscape and directed chemical interrogation of MLL-rearranged acute myeloid leukemias.
Nat Genet. 2015; 47(9):1030-7 [PubMed] Related Publications
Using next-generation sequencing of primary acute myeloid leukemia (AML) specimens, we identified to our knowledge the first unifying genetic network common to the two subgroups of KMT2A (MLL)-rearranged leukemia, namely having MLL fusions or partial tandem duplications. Within this network, we experimentally confirmed upregulation of the gene with the most subtype-specific increase in expression, LOC100289656, and identified cryptic MLL fusions, including a new MLL-ENAH fusion. We also identified a subset of MLL fusion specimens carrying mutations in SPI1 accompanied by inactivation of its transcriptional network, as well as frequent RAS pathway mutations, which sensitized the leukemias to synthetic lethal interactions between MEK and receptor tyrosine kinase inhibitors. This transcriptomics-based characterization and chemical interrogation of human MLL-rearranged AML was a valuable approach for identifying complementary features that define this disease.

Sotoca AM, Prange KH, Reijnders B, et al.
The oncofusion protein FUS-ERG targets key hematopoietic regulators and modulates the all-trans retinoic acid signaling pathway in t(16;21) acute myeloid leukemia.
Oncogene. 2016; 35(15):1965-76 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
The ETS transcription factor ERG has been implicated as a major regulator of both normal and aberrant hematopoiesis. In acute myeloid leukemias harboring t(16;21), ERG function is deregulated due to a fusion with FUS/TLS resulting in the expression of a FUS-ERG oncofusion protein. How this oncofusion protein deregulates the normal ERG transcription program is unclear. Here, we show that FUS-ERG acts in the context of a heptad of proteins (ERG, FLI1, GATA2, LYL1, LMO2, RUNX1 and TAL1) central to proper expression of genes involved in maintaining a stem cell hematopoietic phenotype. Moreover, in t(16;21) FUS-ERG co-occupies genomic regions bound by the nuclear receptor heterodimer RXR:RARA inhibiting target gene expression and interfering with hematopoietic differentiation. All-trans retinoic acid treatment of t(16;21) cells as well as FUS-ERG knockdown alleviate the myeloid-differentiation block. Together, the results suggest that FUS-ERG acts as a transcriptional repressor of the retinoic acid signaling pathway.

Sive JI, Basilico S, Hannah R, et al.
Genome-scale definition of the transcriptional programme associated with compromised PU.1 activity in acute myeloid leukaemia.
Leukemia. 2016; 30(1):14-23 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Transcriptional dysregulation is associated with haematological malignancy. Although mutations of the key haematopoietic transcription factor PU.1 are rare in human acute myeloid leukaemia (AML), they are common in murine models of radiation-induced AML, and PU.1 downregulation and/or dysfunction has been described in human AML patients carrying the fusion oncogenes RUNX1-ETO and PML-RARA. To study the transcriptional programmes associated with compromised PU.1 activity, we adapted a Pu.1-mutated murine AML cell line with an inducible wild-type PU.1. PU.1 induction caused transition from leukaemia phenotype to monocytic differentiation. Global binding maps for PU.1, CEBPA and the histone mark H3K27Ac with and without PU.1 induction showed that mutant PU.1 retains DNA-binding ability, but the induction of wild-type protein dramatically increases both the number and the height of PU.1-binding peaks. Correlating chromatin immunoprecipitation (ChIP) Seq with gene expression data, we found that PU.1 recruitment coupled with increased histone acetylation induces gene expression and activates a monocyte/macrophage transcriptional programme. PU.1 induction also caused the reorganisation of a subgroup of CEBPA binding peaks. Finally, we show that the PU.1 target gene set defined in our model allows the stratification of primary human AML samples, shedding light on both known and novel AML subtypes that may be driven by PU.1 dysfunction.

Salemi D, Cammarata G, Agueli C, et al.
miR-155 regulative network in FLT3 mutated acute myeloid leukemia.
Leuk Res. 2015; 39(8):883-96 [PubMed] Related Publications
BACKGROUND: Acute myeloid leukemia (AML) represents a heterogeneous disorder with recurrent chromosomal alterations and molecular abnormalities. Among AML with normal karyotype (NK-AML) FLT3 activating mutation, internal tandem duplication (FLT3-ITD), is present in about 30% of patients, conferring unfavorable outcome. Our previous data demonstrated specific up-regulation of miR-155 in FLT3-ITD+ AML. miR-155 is known to be directly implicated in normal hematopoiesis and in some pathologies such as myeloid hyperplasia and acute lymphoblastic leukemia.
METHODS AND RESULTS: To investigate about the potential influence of miR-155 de-regulation in FLT3-mutated AML we generated a transcription factors regulatory network and combined this with data from multiple sources that predict miR-155 interactions. From these analyses, we derived a sub-network, called "miR-155 module" that describes functional relationship among miR-155 and transcription factors in FLT3-mutated AML. We found that "miR-155 module" is characterized by the presence of six transcription factors as central hubs: four miR-155 regulators (JUN, RUNX1, FOSb, JUNB) and two targets of miR-155 (SPI1, CEBPB) all known to be "master" genes of myelopoiesis. We found, in FLT3-mutated AML, a significant down-regulation of miR-155 target genes CEBPB and SPI1 and up-regulation of miR-155 regulator genes JUN and RUNX1. We also showed that PKC412-related FLT3 inhibition, in MV4-11 cell line, causes down-regulation of miR-155 and increased level of mRNA and protein of miR-155 target SPI1. We showed in experiments of miR-155 mimic in K562 cell line, a high increase of miR-155 and an inverse correlation with the mRNA levels of its targets SPI1 and CEBPB. Moreover silencing of miR-155 in primary AMLs causes mRNA up-regulation of its target SPI1 and CEBPB.
CONCLUSION: Our results suggest that activating mutation of FLT3 in AML can lead, through the induction of JUN, to an increased expression of miR-155, which then causes down-regulation of SPI1 and CEBPB and consequently may causes block of myeloid differentiation.

Song LJ, Zhang WJ, Chang ZW, et al.
PU.1 Is Identified as a Novel Metastasis Suppressor in Hepatocellular Carcinoma Regulating the miR-615-5p/IGF2 Axis.
Asian Pac J Cancer Prev. 2015; 16(9):3667-71 [PubMed] Related Publications
Invasion and metastasis is the major cause of tumor recurrence, difficulty for cure and low survival rate. Excavating key transcription factors, which can regulate tumor invasion and metastasis, are crucial to the development of therapeutic strategies for cancers. PU.1 is a master hematopoietic transcription factor and a vital regulator in life. Here, we report that, compared to adjacent non-cancerous tissues, expression of PU.1 mRNA in metastatic hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC), but not primary HCC, was significantly down-regulated. In addition, levels of PU.1 mRNA in metastatic hepatoma cell lines MHCC97L and MHCC97H were much lower than in non-metastatic Hep3B cells. Transwell invasion assays after PU.1 siRNA transfection showed that the invasion of hepatoma cell lines was increased markedly by PU.1 knockdown. Oppositely, overexpression of PU.1 suppressed the invasion of these cells. However, knockdown and overexpression of PU.1 did not influence proliferation. Finally, we tried to explore the potential mechanism of PU.1 suppressing hepatoma cell invasion. ChIP-qPCR analysis showed that PU.1 exhibited a high binding capacity with miR-615-5p promoter sequence. Overexpression of PU.1 caused a dramatic increase of pri-, pre- and mature miR-615-5p, as well as a marked decrease of miR-615-5p target gene IGF2. These data indicate that PU.1 inhibits invasion of human HCC through promoting miR-615-5p and suppressing IGF2. These findings improve our understanding of PU.1 regulatory roles and provided a potential target for metastatic HCC diagnosis and therapy.

Roe JS, Mercan F, Rivera K, et al.
BET Bromodomain Inhibition Suppresses the Function of Hematopoietic Transcription Factors in Acute Myeloid Leukemia.
Mol Cell. 2015; 58(6):1028-39 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
The bromodomain and extraterminal (BET) protein BRD4 is a validated drug target in leukemia, yet its regulatory function in this disease is not well understood. Here, we show that BRD4 chromatin occupancy in acute myeloid leukemia closely correlates with the hematopoietic transcription factors (TFs) PU.1, FLI1, ERG, C/EBPα, C/EBPβ, and MYB at nucleosome-depleted enhancer and promoter regions. We provide evidence that these TFs, in conjunction with the lysine acetyltransferase activity of p300/CBP, facilitate BRD4 recruitment to their occupied sites to promote transcriptional activation. Chemical inhibition of BET bromodomains was found to suppress the functional output of each hematopoietic TF, thereby interfering with essential lineage-specific transcriptional circuits in this disease. These findings reveal a chromatin-based signaling cascade comprised of hematopoietic TFs, p300/CBP, and BRD4 that supports leukemia maintenance and is suppressed by BET bromodomain inhibition.

Khalife J, Radomska HS, Santhanam R, et al.
Pharmacological targeting of miR-155 via the NEDD8-activating enzyme inhibitor MLN4924 (Pevonedistat) in FLT3-ITD acute myeloid leukemia.
Leukemia. 2015; 29(10):1981-92 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
High levels of microRNA-155 (miR-155) are associated with poor outcome in acute myeloid leukemia (AML). In AML, miR-155 is regulated by NF-κB, the activity of which is, in part, controlled by the NEDD8-dependent ubiquitin ligases. We demonstrate that MLN4924, an inhibitor of NEDD8-activating enzyme presently being evaluated in clinical trials, decreases binding of NF-κB to the miR-155 promoter and downregulates miR-155 in AML cells. This results in the upregulation of the miR-155 targets SHIP1, an inhibitor of the PI3K/Akt pathway, and PU.1, a transcription factor important for myeloid differentiation, leading to monocytic differentiation and apoptosis. Consistent with these results, overexpression of miR-155 diminishes MLN4924-induced antileukemic effects. In vivo, MLN4924 reduces miR-155 expression and prolongs the survival of mice engrafted with leukemic cells. Our study demonstrates the potential of miR-155 as a novel therapeutic target in AML via pharmacologic interference with NF-κB-dependent regulatory mechanisms. We show the targeting of this oncogenic microRNA with MLN4924, a compound presently being evaluated in clinical trials in AML. As high miR-155 levels have been consistently associated with aggressive clinical phenotypes, our work opens new avenues for microRNA-targeting therapeutic approaches to leukemia and cancer patients.

Trombly DJ, Whitfield TW, Padmanabhan S, et al.
Genome-wide co-occupancy of AML1-ETO and N-CoR defines the t(8;21) AML signature in leukemic cells.
BMC Genomics. 2015; 16:309 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
BACKGROUND: Many leukemias result from chromosomal rearrangements. The t(8;21) chromosomal translocation produces AML1-ETO, an oncogenic fusion protein that compromises the function of AML1, a transcription factor critical for myeloid cell differentiation. Because of the pressing need for new therapies in the treatment of acute myleoid leukemia, we investigated the genome-wide occupancy of AML1-ETO in leukemic cells to discover novel regulatory mechanisms involving AML-ETO bound genes.
RESULTS: We report the co-localization of AML1-ETO with the N-CoR co-repressor to be primarily on genomic regions distal to transcriptional start sites (TSSs). These regions exhibit over-representation of the motif for PU.1, a key hematopoietic regulator and member of the ETS family of transcription factors. A significant discovery of our study is that genes co-occupied by AML1-ETO and N-CoR (e.g., TYROBP and LAPTM5) are associated with the leukemic phenotype, as determined by analyses of gene ontology and by the observation that these genes are predominantly up-regulated upon AML1-ETO depletion. In contrast, the AML1-ETO/p300 gene network is less responsive to AML1-ETO depletion and less associated with the differentiation block characteristic of leukemic cells. Furthermore, a substantial fraction of AML1-ETO/p300 co-localization occurs near TSSs in promoter regions associated with transcriptionally active loci.
CONCLUSIONS: Our findings establish a novel and dominant t(8;21) AML leukemia signature characterized by occupancy of AML1-ETO/N-CoR at promoter-distal genomic regions enriched in motifs for myeloid differentiation factors, thus providing mechanistic insight into the leukemic phenotype.

Wang E, Kawaoka S, Roe JS, et al.
The transcriptional cofactor TRIM33 prevents apoptosis in B lymphoblastic leukemia by deactivating a single enhancer.
Elife. 2015; 4:e06377 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Most mammalian transcription factors (TFs) and cofactors occupy thousands of genomic sites and modulate the expression of large gene networks to implement their biological functions. In this study, we describe an exception to this paradigm. TRIM33 is identified here as a lineage dependency in B cell neoplasms and is shown to perform this essential function by associating with a single cis element. ChIP-seq analysis of TRIM33 in murine B cell leukemia revealed a preferential association with two lineage-specific enhancers that harbor an exceptional density of motifs recognized by the PU.1 TF. TRIM33 is recruited to these elements by PU.1, yet acts to antagonize PU.1 function. One of the PU.1/TRIM33 co-occupied enhancers is upstream of the pro-apoptotic gene Bim, and deleting this enhancer renders TRIM33 dispensable for leukemia cell survival. These findings reveal an essential role for TRIM33 in preventing apoptosis in B lymphoblastic leukemia by interfering with enhancer-mediated Bim activation.

McClellan JS, Dove C, Gentles AJ, et al.
Reprogramming of primary human Philadelphia chromosome-positive B cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia cells into nonleukemic macrophages.
Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2015; 112(13):4074-9 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
BCR-ABL1(+) precursor B-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia (BCR-ABL1(+) B-ALL) is an aggressive hematopoietic neoplasm characterized by a block in differentiation due in part to the somatic loss of transcription factors required for B-cell development. We hypothesized that overcoming this differentiation block by forcing cells to reprogram to the myeloid lineage would reduce the leukemogenicity of these cells. We found that primary human BCR-ABL1(+) B-ALL cells could be induced to reprogram into macrophage-like cells by exposure to myeloid differentiation-promoting cytokines in vitro or by transient expression of the myeloid transcription factor C/EBPα or PU.1. The resultant cells were clonally related to the primary leukemic blasts but resembled normal macrophages in appearance, immunophenotype, gene expression, and function. Most importantly, these macrophage-like cells were unable to establish disease in xenograft hosts, indicating that lineage reprogramming eliminates the leukemogenicity of BCR-ABL1(+) B-ALL cells, and suggesting a previously unidentified therapeutic strategy for this disease. Finally, we determined that myeloid reprogramming may occur to some degree in human patients by identifying primary CD14(+) monocytes/macrophages in BCR-ABL1(+) B-ALL patient samples that possess the BCR-ABL1(+) translocation and clonally recombined VDJ regions.

Solomon LA, Li SK, Piskorz J, et al.
Genome-wide comparison of PU.1 and Spi-B binding sites in a mouse B lymphoma cell line.
BMC Genomics. 2015; 16:76 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
BACKGROUND: Spi-B and PU.1 are highly related members of the E26-transformation-specific (ETS) family of transcription factors that have similar, but not identical, roles in B cell development. PU.1 and Spi-B are both expressed in B cells, and have been demonstrated to redundantly activate transcription of genes required for B cell differentiation and function. It was hypothesized that Spi-B and PU.1 occupy a similar set of regions within the genome of a B lymphoma cell line.
RESULTS: To compare binding regions of Spi-B and PU.1, murine WEHI-279 lymphoma cells were infected with retroviral vectors encoding 3XFLAG-tagged PU.1 or Spi-B. Anti-FLAG chromatin immunoprecipitation followed by next generation sequencing (ChIP-seq) was performed. Analysis for high-stringency enriched genomic regions demonstrated that PU.1 occupied 4528 regions and Spi-B occupied 3360 regions. The majority of regions occupied by Spi-B were also occupied by PU.1. Regions bound by Spi-B and PU.1 were frequently located immediately upstream of genes associated with immune response and activation of B cells. Motif-finding revealed that both transcription factors were predominantly located at the ETS core domain (GGAA), however, other unique motifs were identified when examining regions associated with only one of the two factors. Motifs associated with unique PU.1 binding included POU2F2, while unique motifs in the Spi-B regions contained a combined ETS-IRF motif.
CONCLUSIONS: Our results suggest that complementary biological functions of PU.1 and Spi-B may be explained by their interaction with a similar set of regions in the genome of B cells. However, sites uniquely occupied by PU.1 or Spi-B provide insight into their unique functions.

Verbiest T, Bouffler S, Nutt SL, Badie C
PU.1 downregulation in murine radiation-induced acute myeloid leukaemia (AML): from molecular mechanism to human AML.
Carcinogenesis. 2015; 36(4):413-9 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
The transcription factor PU.1, encoded by the murine Sfpi1 gene (SPI1 in humans), is a member of the Ets transcription factor family and plays a vital role in commitment and maturation of the myeloid and lymphoid lineages. Murine studies directly link primary acute myeloid leukaemia (AML) and decreased PU.1 expression in specifically modified strains. Similarly, a radiation-induced chromosome 2 deletion and subsequent Sfpi1 point mutation in the remaining allele lead to murine radiation-induced AML. Consistent with murine data, heterozygous deletion of the SPI1 locus and mutation of the -14kb SPI1 upstream regulatory element were described previously in human primary AML, although they are rare events. Other mechanisms linked to PU.1 downregulation in human AML include TP53 deletion, FLT3-ITD mutation and the recurrent AML1-ETO [t(8;21)] and PML-RARA [t(15;17)] translocations. This review provides an up-to-date overview on our current understanding of the involvement of PU.1 in the initiation and development of radiation-induced AML, together with recommendations for future murine and human studies.

Imperato MR, Cauchy P, Obier N, Bonifer C
The RUNX1-PU.1 axis in the control of hematopoiesis.
Int J Hematol. 2015; 101(4):319-29 [PubMed] Related Publications
The differentiation from multipotent hematopoietic stem cells (HSC) to mature and functional blood cells requires the finely tuned regulation of gene expression at each stage of development. Specific transcription factors play a key role in this process as they modulate the expression of their target genes in an exquisitely lineage-specific manner. A large number of important transcriptional regulators have been identified which establish and maintain specific gene expression patterns during hematopoietic development. Hematopoiesis is therefore a paradigm for investigating how transcription factors function in mammalian cells, thanks also to the evolution of genome-wide and the next-generation sequencing technologies. In this review, we focus on the current knowledge of the biological and functional properties of the hematopoietic master regulator RUNX1 (also known as AML1, CBFA2, PEBP2aB) transcription factor and its main downstream target PU.1. We will outline their relationship in determining the fate of the myeloid lineage during normal stem cell development and under conditions when hematopoietic development is subverted by leukemic transformation.

Tamura T, Kurotaki D, Koizumi S
Regulation of myelopoiesis by the transcription factor IRF8.
Int J Hematol. 2015; 101(4):342-51 [PubMed] Related Publications
Interferon regulatory factor-8 (IRF8) is a transcription factor expressed in hematopoietic cells, particularly in mononuclear phagocytes [monocytes/macrophages and dendritic cells (DCs)] and their progenitors. Various studies have demonstrated that IRF8 is essential for the development of monocytes, DCs, eosinophils, and basophils. Conversely, IRF8 suppresses the generation of neutrophils. Accordingly, Irf8 (-/-) mice develop immunodeficiency and a chronic myeloid leukemia (CML)-like disease. Mutations and loss of expression of the human IRF8 gene are also associated with immunodeficiency and CML, respectively. Recent findings have begun to reveal the transcription factor network and epigenetic changes governed by IRF8. For example, in mononuclear phagocyte progenitors, IRF8 cooperates with PU.1 to promote the formation of promoter-distal enhancers to induce monocyte-related genes including the critical downstream transcription factor gene Klf4. On the other hand, IRF8 blocks C/EBPα activity to suppress the neutrophil differentiation program. Indeed, Irf8 (-/-) mononuclear phagocyte progenitors fail to efficiently generate monocytes and DCs and, instead, aberrantly give rise to neutrophils. This article provides an overview of recent advances in our understanding of the role of IRF8 in myelopoiesis and related diseases.

Kim MS, Kang JW, Park YS, et al.
IL-32θ inhibits monocytic differentiation of leukemia cells by attenuating expression of transcription factor PU.1.
Oncotarget. 2015; 6(6):4394-405 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
PU.1 is a key transcription factor regulating the myeloid differentiation. PU.1-induced monocytic differentiation into macrophage is also important for blood cancer development. Therefore, we chose THP-1 monocytic leukemia cells to investigate the function of a recently discovered IL-32θ. Genetic analyses identified differences in the sequences of IL-32θ and IL-32β. Using previously established cell lines that stably express IL-32θ and IL-32β and cell lines transiently expressing IL-32θ, we observed that expression of IL-32θ inhibited phorbol 12-myristate 13-acetate (PMA)-induced monocytic differentiation in both THP-1 and HL-60 cells. IL-32θ also suppressed expression of the macrophage cell surface markers, CD11b, CD18, and CD36. Interestingly, expression of IL-32β or IL-32θ had no effect on the expression levels of cell cycle related factors. As a result, we concluded that these isoforms did not contribute to PMA-induced cell cycle arrest. IL-32θ was found to modulate expression of PU.1, a transcription factor necessary for myeloid lineage commitment. Transient expression of PU.1 in THP-1/IL-32θ cells rescued the observed differentiation defect. Additionally, transient expression of both CCAAT-enhancer-binding protein α (C/EBPα) and PU.1 in THP-1/IL-32θ cells exhibited synergistic effects in rescuing the differentiation defect. These observations indicate that intracellular IL-32θ inhibits the differentiation of monocytes into macrophages by attenuating PU.1 expression.

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