Gene Summary

Gene:TCF12; transcription factor 12
Aliases: HEB, CRS3, HTF4, TCF-12, bHLHb20, HsT17266
Summary:The protein encoded by this gene is a member of the basic helix-loop-helix (bHLH) E-protein family that recognizes the consensus binding site (E-box) CANNTG. This encoded protein is expressed in many tissues, among them skeletal muscle, thymus, B- and T-cells, and may participate in regulating lineage-specific gene expression through the formation of heterodimers with other bHLH E-proteins. Several alternatively spliced transcript variants of this gene have been described, but the full-length nature of some of these variants has not been determined. [provided by RefSeq, Jul 2008]
Databases:VEGA, OMIM, HGNC, Ensembl, GeneCard, Gene
Protein:transcription factor 12
Source:NCBIAccessed: 11 March, 2017


What does this gene/protein do?
Show (14)

Cancer Overview

Research Indicators

Publications Per Year (1992-2017)
Graph generated 11 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.

  • Neoplasms, Connective and Soft Tissue
  • p300-CBP Transcription Factors
  • Repressor Proteins
  • Receptors, Steroid
  • Bone Cancer
  • Oligonucleotide Array Sequence Analysis
  • Exons
  • Receptors, Antigen
  • Transcriptional Activation
  • Soft Tissue Sarcoma
  • Tumor Suppressor Proteins
  • Protein Structure, Tertiary
  • Cancer Gene Expression Regulation
  • KMT2A
  • Messenger RNA
  • Nerve Tissue Proteins
  • Lymphocytes
  • DNA-Binding Proteins
  • Jurkat Cells
  • Oncogene Fusion Proteins
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Chondrosarcoma
  • FISH
  • Chromosome 15
  • Neoplastic Cell Transformation
  • Cell Differentiation
  • Mutation
  • Receptors, Thyroid Hormone
  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • Transcription Factor AP-1
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins
  • Base Sequence
  • Brain Tumours
  • Protein Binding
  • Transcription Factors
  • Nuclear Proteins
  • Leukaemia
  • MicroRNAs
  • Basic Helix-Loop-Helix Transcription Factors
Tag cloud generated 11 March, 2017 using data from PubMed, MeSH and CancerIndex

Specific Cancers (6)

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: TCF12 (cancer-related)

Yue H, Zhu J, Xie S, et al.
MDC1-AS, an antisense long noncoding RNA, regulates cell proliferation of glioma.
Biomed Pharmacother. 2016; 81:203-9 [PubMed] Related Publications
BACKGROUND: Growing number of long noncoding RNAs (lncRNAs) are emerging as new modulators in cancer origination and progression. A lncRNA, mediator of DNA damage checkpoint protein 1antisense RNA (MDC1-AS), with unknown function, is the antisense transcript of tumor suppressor MDC1.
METHOD: In this study, we investigated the expression pattern and functional role of lncRNA MDC1-AS in glioma by using real time PCR and gain-/loss-of-function studies.
RESULT: The results showed that the expression levels of lncRNA MDC1-AS and MDC1 were significantly downregulated in glioma tissues compared with normal brain tissues, and in glioma cell lines U87MG, U251 and HEB. Overexpression of MDC1-AS resulted in significant inhibition of cell proliferation and cell cycle in U87MG and U251. We also found that MDC1-AS expression was positively correlated with MDC1 expression. In addition, the inhibitory role of MDC1-AS was remarkably diminished when MDC1 was knockdown.
CONCLUSION: Together, the results suggest that MDC1-AS is a novel tumor suppressor through up-regulation of its antisense tumor-suppressing gene MDC1 in glioma and leads us to propose that MDC1-AS may serve as a potential biomarker and therapeutic target for glioma.

L'Abbate A, Tolomeo D, De Astis F, et al.
t(15;21) translocations leading to the concurrent downregulation of RUNX1 and its transcription factor partner genes SIN3A and TCF12 in myeloid disorders.
Mol Cancer. 2015; 14:211 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Through a combined approach integrating RNA-Seq, SNP-array, FISH and PCR techniques, we identified two novel t(15;21) translocations leading to the inactivation of RUNX1 and its partners SIN3A and TCF12. One is a complex t(15;21)(q24;q22), with both breakpoints mapped at the nucleotide level, joining RUNX1 to SIN3A and UBL7-AS1 in a patient with myelodysplasia. The other is a recurrent t(15;21)(q21;q22), juxtaposing RUNX1 and TCF12, with an opposite transcriptional orientation, in three myeloid leukemia cases. Since our transcriptome analysis indicated a significant number of differentially expressed genes associated with both translocations, we speculate an important pathogenetic role for these alterations involving RUNX1.

Park CK, Park I, Lee S, et al.
Genomic dynamics associated with malignant transformation in IDH1 mutated gliomas.
Oncotarget. 2015; 6(41):43653-66 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
The genomic mechanism responsible for malignant transformation remains an open question for glioma researchers, where differing conclusions have been drawn based on diverse study conditions. Therefore, it is essential to secure direct evidence using longitudinal samples from the same patient. Moreover, malignant transformation of IDH1-mutated gliomas is of potential interest, as its genomic mechanism under influence of oncometabolite remains unclear, and even higher rate of malignant transformation was reported in IDH1-mutated low grade gliomas than in wild-type IDH1 tumors. We have analyzed genomic data using next-generation sequencing technology for longitudinal samples from 3 patients with IDH1-mutated gliomas whose disease had progressed from a low grade to a high grade phenotype. Comprehensive analysis included chromosomal aberrations as well as whole exome and transcriptome sequencing, and the candidate driver genes for malignant transformation were validated with public database. Integrated analysis of genomic dynamics in clonal evolution during the malignant transformation revealed alterations in the machinery regulating gene expression, including the spliceosome complex (U2AF2), transcription factors (TCF12), and chromatin remodelers (ARID1A). Moreover, consequential expression changes implied the activation of genes associated with the restoration of the stemness of cancer cells. The alterations in genetic regulatory mechanisms may be the key factor for the major phenotypic changes in IDH1 mutated gliomas. Despite being limited to a small number of cases, this analysis provides a direct example of the genomic changes responsible for malignant transformation in gliomas.

Tang X, Hou Y, Yang G, et al.
Stromal miR-200s contribute to breast cancer cell invasion through CAF activation and ECM remodeling.
Cell Death Differ. 2016; 23(1):132-45 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
The activation of cancer-associated fibroblasts (CAFs) is a key event in tumor progression, and alternative extracellular matrix (ECM) proteins derived from CAFs induce ECM remodeling and cancer cell invasion. Here we found that miR-200 s, which are generally downregulated in activated CAFs in breast cancer tissues and in normal fibroblasts (NFs) activated by breast cancer cells, are direct mediators of NF reprogramming into CAFs and of ECM remodeling. NFs with downregulated miR-200 s displayed the traits of activated CAFs, including accelerated migration and invasion. Ectopic expression of miR-200 s in CAFs at least partially restored the phenotypes of NFs. CAF activation may be governed by the targets of miR-200 s, Fli-1 and TCF12, which are responsible for cell development and differentiation; Fli-1 and TCF12 were obviously elevated in CAFs. Furthermore, miR-200 s and their targets influenced collagen contraction by CAFs. The upregulation of fibronectin and lysyl oxidase directly by miR-200 or indirectly through Fli-1 or TCF12 contributed to ECM remodeling, triggering the invasion and metastasis of breast cancer cells both in vitro and vivo. Thus, these data provide important and novel insights into breast CAF activation and ECM remodeling, which trigger tumor cell invasion.

Krishnamoorthy V, Carr T, de Pooter RF, et al.
Repression of Ccr9 transcription in mouse T lymphocyte progenitors by the Notch signaling pathway.
J Immunol. 2015; 194(7):3191-200 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
The chemokine receptor CCR9 controls the immigration of multipotent hematopoietic progenitor cells into the thymus to sustain T cell development. Postimmigration, thymocytes downregulate CCR9 and migrate toward the subcapsular zone where they recombine their TCR β-chain and γ-chain gene loci. CCR9 is subsequently upregulated and participates in the localization of thymocytes during their selection for self-tolerant receptor specificities. Although the dynamic regulation of CCR9 is essential for early T cell development, the mechanisms controlling CCR9 expression have not been determined. In this article, we show that key regulators of T cell development, Notch1 and the E protein transcription factors E2A and HEB, coordinately control the expression of Ccr9. E2A and HEB bind at two putative enhancers upstream of Ccr9 and positively regulate CCR9 expression at multiple stages of T cell development. In contrast, the canonical Notch signaling pathway prevents the recruitment of p300 to the putative Ccr9 enhancers, resulting in decreased acetylation of histone H3 and a failure to recruit RNA polymerase II to the Ccr9 promoter. Although Notch signaling modestly modulates the binding of E proteins to one of the two Ccr9 enhancers, we found that Notch signaling represses Ccr9 in T cell lymphoma lines in which Ccr9 transcription is independent of E protein function. Our data support the hypothesis that activation of Notch1 has a dominant-negative effect on Ccr9 transcription and that Notch1 and E proteins control the dynamic expression of Ccr9 during T cell development.

Goodings C, Tripathi R, Cleveland SM, et al.
Enforced expression of E47 has differential effects on Lmo2-induced T-cell leukemias.
Leuk Res. 2015; 39(1):100-9 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
LIM domain only-2 (LMO2) overexpression in T cells induces leukemia but the molecular mechanism remains to be elucidated. In hematopoietic stem and progenitor cells, Lmo2 is part of a protein complex comprised of class II basic helix loop helix proteins, Tal1and Lyl1. The latter transcription factors heterodimerize with E2A proteins like E47 and Heb to bind E boxes. LMO2 and TAL1 or LYL1 cooperate to induce T-ALL in mouse models, and are concordantly expressed in human T-ALL. Furthermore, LMO2 cooperates with the loss of E2A suggesting that LMO2 functions by creating a deficiency of E2A. In this study, we tested this hypothesis in Lmo2-induced T-ALL cell lines. We transduced these lines with an E47/estrogen receptor fusion construct that could be forced to homodimerize with 4-hydroxytamoxifen. We discovered that forced homodimerization induced growth arrest in 2 of the 4 lines tested. The lines sensitive to E47 homodimerization accumulated in G1 and had reduced S phase entry. We analyzed the transcriptome of a resistant and a sensitive line to discern the E47 targets responsible for the cellular effects. Our results suggest that E47 has diverse effects in T-ALL but that functional deficiency of E47 is not a universal feature of Lmo2-induced T-ALL.

Yuan Q, Gao W, Liu B, Ye W
Upregulation of miR-184 enhances the malignant biological behavior of human glioma cell line A172 by targeting FIH-1.
Cell Physiol Biochem. 2014; 34(4):1125-36 [PubMed] Related Publications
BACKGROUND: In recent years, miRNAs have been suggested to play key roles in the formation and development of human glioma. The aim of this study is to investigate the effect and mechanism of miR-184 expression on the malignant behavior of human glioma cells.
METHODS: The relative quantity of miR-184 was determined in human glioma cell lines, and the expression of hypoxia-inducible factor-1 alpha (HIF-1α) was explored using western blotting. The effects of miR-184 inhibition on cell viability and apoptosis were explored, and the miR-184 target gene was determined using a luciferase assay and western blotting. Flow cytometry and Hoechst staining were used to evaluate cell growth and apoptosis. Matrigel invasion and scratch assays were performed to measure the ability of cell invasion and migration.
RESULTS: miR-184 and HIF-1α protein levels were significantly upregulated in human glioma cells. Downregulation of miR-184 inhibited cell viability and increased the HEB cell apoptotic rate. Luciferase and western blot assays verified that FIH-1 was the target gene of miR-184 and negatively controlled the protein level of HIF-1α. Inhibition of HIF-1α by siRNA facilitated the apoptosis of HEB cells and suppressed A172 cell invasion and migration.
CONCLUSION: miR-184 upregulation enhanced the malignant phenotype of human glioma cancer cells by reducing FIH-1 protein expression.

Broehm CJ, Wu J, Gullapalli RR, Bocklage T
Extraskeletal myxoid chondrosarcoma with a t(9;16)(q22;p11.2) resulting in a NR4A3-FUS fusion.
Cancer Genet. 2014; 207(6):276-80 [PubMed] Related Publications
Extraskeletal myxoid chondrosarcoma (EMC) is a rare neoplasm characterized by rearrangement of NR4A3. A t(9;22)(q22;q12), creating a fusion protein of EWSR1 and NR4A3, has been reported as a unique, recurring translocation in most cases. Reported variant translocations have resulted in fusion of NR4A3 with three other genes: TAF15, TCF12, and TFG. We report a case of EMC in a 59-year-old man who presented with a 6-month history of an enlarging mass in the proximal right thigh. The karyotype of fresh tissue from tumor taken at incisional biopsy revealed a t(9;16)(q22;p11.2). There was no evidence of an EWSR1 rearrangement by dual-color break-apart fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH). Dual-color FISH probes revealed fusion of NR4A3 and FUS, a member of the TET family of genes, which includes EWSR1 and TAF15. Break-apart FISH probe results confirmed rearrangement of FUS. These findings show that a fusion product of FUS and NR4A3 may be an additional pathway to development of EMC.

Durzyńska J, Barton E
IGF expression in HPV-related and HPV-unrelated human cancer cells.
Oncol Rep. 2014; 32(3):893-900 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
The human Igf-1 gene not only produces insulin‑like growth factor-I (IGF-I), but also different carboxy‑terminal extensions, known as E peptides, through alternative splicing. We and others have shown that human Eb peptide (hEb) derived from Igf-1 has intrinsic biological activity and is localized to nuclei of transfected cells. Since hEb actions can complement the activity of IGF-I itself, the aim of the present study was to compare IGF-I isoforms at the endogenous protein and transcript level in cancer cell lines, including HeLa, U2OS, HepG2 and K562 cells. Quantitative real-time PCR (qRT‑PCR) using Igf-1 isoform specific primers was performed to determine expression patterns, using β-actin as a reference gene. The overall relative Igf-1 transcript level was different across the cell lines, with ~80-fold higher expression in K562 (130.2±31.2) than in U2OS cells (1.7±1.1). The relative copy number of Igf-1b was the highest in HepG2 (69.9±28.6) and K562 cells (28.3±6.7), whereas the relative copy numbers of Igf-1a and Igf-1c were significantly higher in K562 cells compared to all other cell lines. Immunoblotting using total cell lysates, cytoplasmic and nuclear fractions were carried out to determine the level and distribution of IGF-I proteins. K562 cells exhibited the highest level of hEb in total cell lysates and nuclear fractions and no cell lines displayed hEb in the cytoplasmic fractions. In contrast, IGF-IA was the highest in HeLa cells and was enriched only in the cytoplasmic fraction. Since relatively low IGF-1A transcript level but relatively high pro‑IGF-1A protein level is plausible, we hypothesized that these transcripts could be processed with higher efficiency and/or the protein product may be stabilized by viral HPV oncogenes in HeLa cells. We assert that while it is important to analyze Igf-1 transcript level, it may be more relevant to determine the IGF isoforms at the protein level.

Agaram NP, Zhang L, Sung YS, et al.
Extraskeletal myxoid chondrosarcoma with non-EWSR1-NR4A3 variant fusions correlate with rhabdoid phenotype and high-grade morphology.
Hum Pathol. 2014; 45(5):1084-91 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Extraskeletal myxoid chondrosarcomas (EMC) are rare soft tissue sarcomas with distinctive histology and uncertain histogenesis, characterized by Ewing sarcoma breakpoint region 1-nuclear receptor subfamily 4, group A, member 3 (EWSR1-NR4A3) fusion in 75% of the cases. A smaller proportion of cases show NR4A3 fused to other gene partners including TATA binding protein-associated factor 15 (TAF15), transcription factor 12 (TCF12), and TRK-fused gene (TFG). The impact of various gene fusions on morphology and outcome has not been previously evaluated. We investigated 26 consecutive EMCs and correlated the genetic findings with morphology and clinical outcome. There were 5 females and 21 males (median age, 49.5 years). Mean size of the tumors was 11 cm. Fluorescence in situ hybridization analysis showed EWSR1-NR4A3 gene fusion in 16 cases (62%), TAF15-NR4A3 gene fusion in 7 cases (27%), and TCF12-NR4A3 gene fusion in 1 case (4%). Two cases showed only NR4A3 gene rearrangements. Morphologically, most EWSR1-rearranged tumors (10/16) showed low cellularity, minimal cytologic atypia, and low mitotic counts. In contrast, 80% of EMCs with variant (non-EWSR1) NR4A3 gene fusions (TAF15, TCF12) had high-grade morphology with increased cellularity, proliferation, and cytologic atypia, showing a plasmacytoid/rhabdoid morphology in half the cases. Follow-up showed that only 1 of 16 patients with EWSR1-rearranged tumors died of disease, in contrast to 3 (43%) of 7 TAF15-rearranged tumors. In conclusion, EMCs with variant NR4A3 gene fusions show a higher incidence of rhabdoid phenotype, high-grade morphology, and a more aggressive outcome compared with the EWSR1-NR4A3 positive tumors. Furthermore, fluorescence in situ hybridization assay for NR4A3, along with EWSR1, may be an additional ancillary test to confirm diagnosis of EMCs.

Benini S, Cocchi S, Gamberi G, et al.
Diagnostic utility of molecular investigation in extraskeletal myxoid chondrosarcoma.
J Mol Diagn. 2014; 16(3):314-23 [PubMed] Related Publications
Extraskeletal myxoid chondrosarcoma is characterized by the reciprocal chromosomal translocation t(9;22) and the resultant fused gene EWS RNA-binding protein 1 and nuclear receptor subfamily 4, group A, member 3 (EWSR1-NR4A3). A second cytogenetic rearrangement t(9;17) involves the genes NR4A3 and TAF 15 RNA polymerase II, TATA box binding protein (TBP)-associated factor (TAF15). Less frequent fusion transcript variants of the NR4A3 gene, transcription factor 12 (TCF12)-NR4A3 and TRK-fused gene (TFG)-NR4A3, are associated with t(9;15) and t(9;3) respectively. The samples from 42 patients with extraskeletal myxoid chondrosarcoma were examined for the presence of EWSR1-NR4A3, TAF15-NR4A3, TCF12-NR4A3, and TFG-NR4A3 fusion transcripts by using RT-PCR. Fluorescence in situ hybridization was performed to analyze the status of EWSR1 and NR4A3 genes. The fusion transcripts were detected in 34 of 42 samples (81%); the presence of an EWSR1 or NR4A3 gene rearrangements were detected in 8 of 42 samples (19%) which had tested negative for all fusion transcripts detected by RT-PCR. Of the 34 samples evaluable for fusion transcripts, 23 yielded positive results for EWSR1-NR4A3, 10 for TAF15-NR4A3, and 1 for TCF12-NR4A3. The combination of RT-PCR and fluorescence in situ hybridization on frozen and paraffin-embedded tissue is a sensitive and specific method for molecular detection of recurrent translocations and is an important ancillary method to establish the diagnosis of extraskeletal myxoid chondrosarcoma.

Jiang S, Willox B, Zhou H, et al.
Epstein-Barr virus nuclear antigen 3C binds to BATF/IRF4 or SPI1/IRF4 composite sites and recruits Sin3A to repress CDKN2A.
Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2014; 111(1):421-6 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Epstein-Barr virus nuclear antigen 3C (EBNA3C) repression of CDKN2A p14(ARF) and p16(INK4A) is essential for immortal human B-lymphoblastoid cell line (LCL) growth. EBNA3C ChIP-sequencing identified >13,000 EBNA3C sites in LCL DNA. Most EBNA3C sites were associated with active transcription; 64% were strong H3K4me1- and H3K27ac-marked enhancers and 16% were active promoters marked by H3K4me3 and H3K9ac. Using ENCODE LCL transcription factor ChIP-sequencing data, EBNA3C sites coincided (±250 bp) with RUNX3 (64%), BATF (55%), ATF2 (51%), IRF4 (41%), MEF2A (35%), PAX5 (34%), SPI1 (29%), BCL11a (28%), SP1 (26%), TCF12 (23%), NF-κB (23%), POU2F2 (23%), and RBPJ (16%). EBNA3C sites separated into five distinct clusters: (i) Sin3A, (ii) EBNA2/RBPJ, (iii) SPI1, and (iv) strong or (v) weak BATF/IRF4. EBNA3C signals were positively affected by RUNX3, BATF/IRF4 (AICE) and SPI1/IRF4 (EICE) cooccupancy. Gene set enrichment analyses correlated EBNA3C/Sin3A promoter sites with transcription down-regulation (P < 1.6 × 10(-4)). EBNA3C signals were strongest at BATF/IRF4 and SPI1/IRF4 composite sites. EBNA3C bound strongly to the p14(ARF) promoter through SPI1/IRF4/BATF/RUNX3, establishing RBPJ-, Sin3A-, and REST-mediated repression. EBNA3C immune precipitated with Sin3A and conditional EBNA3C inactivation significantly decreased Sin3A binding at the p14(ARF) promoter (P < 0.05). These data support a model in which EBNA3C binds strongly to BATF/IRF4/SPI1/RUNX3 sites to enhance transcription and recruits RBPJ/Sin3A- and REST/NRSF-repressive complexes to repress p14(ARF) and p16(INK4A) expression.

Tenedini E, Bernardis I, Artusi V, et al.
Targeted cancer exome sequencing reveals recurrent mutations in myeloproliferative neoplasms.
Leukemia. 2014; 28(5):1052-9 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
With the intent of dissecting the molecular complexity of Philadelphia-negative myeloproliferative neoplasms (MPN), we designed a target enrichment panel to explore, using next-generation sequencing (NGS), the mutational status of an extensive list of 2000 cancer-associated genes and microRNAs. The genomic DNA of granulocytes and in vitro-expanded CD3+T-lymphocytes, as a germline control, was target-enriched and sequenced in a learning cohort of 20 MPN patients using Roche 454 technology. We identified 141 genuine somatic mutations, most of which were not previously described. To test the frequency of the identified variants, a larger validation cohort of 189 MPN patients was additionally screened for these mutations using Ion Torrent AmpliSeq NGS. Excluding the genes already described in MPN, for 8 genes (SCRIB, MIR662, BARD1, TCF12, FAT4, DAP3, POLG and NRAS), we demonstrated a mutation frequency between 3 and 8%. We also found that mutations at codon 12 of NRAS (NRASG12V and NRASG12D) were significantly associated, for primary myelofibrosis (PMF), with highest dynamic international prognostic scoring system (DIPSS)-plus score categories. This association was then confirmed in 66 additional PMF patients composing a final dataset of 168 PMF showing a NRAS mutation frequency of 4.7%, which was associated with a worse outcome, as defined by the DIPSS plus score.

Gow CH, Guo C, Wang D, et al.
Differential involvement of E2A-corepressor interactions in distinct leukemogenic pathways.
Nucleic Acids Res. 2014; 42(1):137-52 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
E2A is a member of the E-protein family of transcription factors. Previous studies have reported context-dependent regulation of E2A-dependent transcription. For example, whereas the E2A portion of the E2A-Pbx1 leukemia fusion protein mediates robust transcriptional activation in t(1;19) acute lymphoblastic leukemia, the transcriptional activity of wild-type E2A is silenced by high levels of corepressors, such as the AML1-ETO fusion protein in t(8;21) acute myeloid leukemia and ETO-2 in hematopoietic cells. Here, we show that, unlike the HEB E-protein, the activation domain 1 (AD1) of E2A has specifically reduced corepressor interaction due to E2A-specific amino acid changes in the p300/CBP and ETO target motif. Replacing E2A-AD1 with HEB-AD1 abolished the ability of E2A-Pbx1 to activate target genes and to induce cell transformation. On the other hand, the weak E2A-AD1-corepressor interaction imposes a critical importance on another ETO-interacting domain, downstream ETO-interacting sequence (DES), for corepressor-mediated repression. Deletion of DES abrogates silencing of E2A activity by AML1-ETO in t(8;21) leukemia cells or by ETO-2 in normal hematopoietic cells. Our results reveal an E2A-specific mechanism important for its context-dependent activation and repression function, and provide the first evidence for the differential involvement of E2A-corepressor interactions in distinct leukemogenic pathways.

Mansour MR, Sanda T, Lawton LN, et al.
The TAL1 complex targets the FBXW7 tumor suppressor by activating miR-223 in human T cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia.
J Exp Med. 2013; 210(8):1545-57 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
The oncogenic transcription factor TAL1/SCL is aberrantly expressed in 60% of cases of human T cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia (T-ALL) and initiates T-ALL in mouse models. By performing global microRNA (miRNA) expression profiling after depletion of TAL1, together with genome-wide analysis of TAL1 occupancy by chromatin immunoprecipitation coupled to massively parallel DNA sequencing, we identified the miRNA genes directly controlled by TAL1 and its regulatory partners HEB, E2A, LMO1/2, GATA3, and RUNX1. The most dynamically regulated miRNA was miR-223, which is bound at its promoter and up-regulated by the TAL1 complex. miR-223 expression mirrors TAL1 levels during thymic development, with high expression in early thymocytes and marked down-regulation after the double-negative-2 stage of maturation. We demonstrate that aberrant miR-223 up-regulation by TAL1 is important for optimal growth of TAL1-positive T-ALL cells and that sustained expression of miR-223 partially rescues T-ALL cells after TAL1 knockdown. Overexpression of miR-223 also leads to marked down-regulation of FBXW7 protein expression, whereas knockdown of TAL1 leads to up-regulation of FBXW7 protein levels, with a marked reduction of its substrates MYC, MYB, NOTCH1, and CYCLIN E. We conclude that TAL1-mediated up-regulation of miR-223 promotes the malignant phenotype in T-ALL through repression of the FBXW7 tumor suppressor.

Chen WS, Chen CC, Chen LL, et al.
Secreted heat shock protein 90α (HSP90α) induces nuclear factor-κB-mediated TCF12 protein expression to down-regulate E-cadherin and to enhance colorectal cancer cell migration and invasion.
J Biol Chem. 2013; 288(13):9001-10 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Secreted levels of HSP90α and overexpression of TCF12 have been associated with the enhancement of colorectal cancer (CRC) cell migration and invasion. In this study, we observed that CRC patients with tumor TCF12 overexpression exhibited both a higher rate of metastatic occurrence and a higher average serum HSP90α level compared with patients without TCF12 overexpression. Therefore, we studied the relationship between the actions of secreted HSP90α and TCF12. Like overexpressed TCF12, secreted HSP90α or recombinant HSP90α (rHSP90α) induced fibronectin expression and repressed E-cadherin, connexin-26, connexin-43, and gap junction levels in CRC cells. Consistently, rHSP90α stimulated invasive outgrowths of CRC cells from spherical structures during three-dimensional culture. rHSP90α also induced TCF12 expression in CRC cells. Its effects on CRC cell epithelial-mesenchymal transition, migration, and invasion were drastically prevented when TCF12 was knocked down. This suggests that TCF12 expression is required for secreted HSP90α to enhance CRC cell spreading. Through the cellular receptor CD91, rHSP90α facilitated the complex formation of CD91 with IκB kinases (IKKs) α and β and increased the levels of phosphorylated (active) IKKα/β and NF-κB. Use of an IKKα/β inhibitor or ectopic overexpression of dominant-negative IκBα efficiently repressed rHSP90α-induced TCF12 expression. Moreover, κB motifs were recognized in the gene sequence of the TCF12 promoter, and a physical association between NF-κB and the TCF12 promoter was detected in rHSP90α-treated CRC cells. Together, these results suggest that the CD91/IKK/NF-κB signaling cascade is involved in secreted HSP90α-induced TCF12 expression, leading to E-cadherin down-regulation and enhanced CRC cell migration/invasion.

Elton TS, Selemon H, Elton SM, Parinandi NL
Regulation of the MIR155 host gene in physiological and pathological processes.
Gene. 2013; 532(1):1-12 [PubMed] Related Publications
MicroRNAs (miRNAs), a family of small nonprotein-coding RNAs, play a critical role in posttranscriptional gene regulation by acting as adaptors for the miRNA-induced silencing complex to inhibit gene expression by targeting mRNAs for translational repression and/or cleavage. miR-155-5p and miR-155-3p are processed from the B-cell Integration Cluster (BIC) gene (now designated, MIR155 host gene or MIR155HG). MiR-155-5p is highly expressed in both activated B- and T-cells and in monocytes/macrophages. MiR-155-5p is one of the best characterized miRNAs and recent data indicate that miR-155-5p plays a critical role in various physiological and pathological processes such as hematopoietic lineage differentiation, immunity, inflammation, viral infections, cancer, cardiovascular disease, and Down syndrome. In this review we summarize the mechanisms by which MIR155HG expression can be regulated. Given that the pathologies mediated by miR-155-5p result from the over-expression of this miRNA it may be possible to therapeutically attenuate miR-155-5p levels in the treatment of several pathological processes.

Denis CM, Chitayat S, Plevin MJ, et al.
Structural basis of CBP/p300 recruitment in leukemia induction by E2A-PBX1.
Blood. 2012; 120(19):3968-77 [PubMed] Related Publications
E-proteins are critical transcription factors in B-cell lymphopoiesis. E2A, 1 of 3 E-protein-encoding genes, is implicated in the induction of acute lymphoblastic leukemia through its involvement in the chromosomal translocation 1;19 and consequent expression of the E2A-PBX1 oncoprotein. An interaction involving a region within the N-terminal transcriptional activation domain of E2A-PBX1, termed the PCET motif, which has previously been implicated in E-protein silencing, and the KIX domain of the transcriptional coactivator CBP/p300, critical for leukemogenesis. However, the structural details of this interaction remain unknown. Here we report the structure of a 1:1 complex between PCET motif peptide and the KIX domain. Residues throughout the helical PCET motif that contact the KIX domain are important for both binding KIX and bone marrow immortalization by E2A-PBX1. These results provide molecular insights into E-protein-driven differentiation of B-cells and the mechanism of E-protein silencing, and reveal the PCET/KIX interaction as a therapeutic target for E2A-PBX1-induced leukemia.

Sanda T, Lawton LN, Barrasa MI, et al.
Core transcriptional regulatory circuit controlled by the TAL1 complex in human T cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia.
Cancer Cell. 2012; 22(2):209-21 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
The oncogenic transcription factor TAL1/SCL is aberrantly expressed in over 40% of cases of human T cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia (T-ALL), emphasizing its importance in the molecular pathogenesis of T-ALL. Here we identify the core transcriptional regulatory circuit controlled by TAL1 and its regulatory partners HEB, E2A, LMO1/2, GATA3, and RUNX1. We show that TAL1 forms a positive interconnected autoregulatory loop with GATA3 and RUNX1 and that the TAL1 complex directly activates the MYB oncogene, forming a positive feed-forward regulatory loop that reinforces and stabilizes the TAL1-regulated oncogenic program. One of the critical downstream targets in this circuitry is the TRIB2 gene, which is oppositely regulated by TAL1 and E2A/HEB and is essential for the survival of T-ALL cells.

Cubedo E, Gentles AJ, Huang C, et al.
Identification of LMO2 transcriptome and interactome in diffuse large B-cell lymphoma.
Blood. 2012; 119(23):5478-91 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
LMO2 regulates gene expression by facilitating the formation of multipartite DNA-binding complexes. In B cells, LMO2 is specifically up-regulated in the germinal center (GC) and is expressed in GC-derived non-Hodgkin lymphomas. LMO2 is one of the most powerful prognostic indicators in diffuse large B-cell (DLBCL) patients. However, its function in GC B cells and DLBCL is currently unknown. In this study, we characterized the LMO2 transcriptome and transcriptional complex in DLBCL cells. LMO2 regulates genes implicated in kinetochore function, chromosome assembly, and mitosis. Overexpression of LMO2 in DLBCL cell lines results in centrosome amplification. In DLBCL, the LMO2 complex contains some of the traditional partners, such as LDB1, E2A, HEB, Lyl1, ETO2, and SP1, but not TAL1 or GATA proteins. Furthermore, we identified novel LMO2 interacting partners: ELK1, nuclear factor of activated T-cells (NFATc1), and lymphoid enhancer-binding factor1 (LEF1) proteins. Reporter assays revealed that LMO2 increases transcriptional activity of NFATc1 and decreases transcriptional activity of LEF1 proteins. Overall, our studies identified a novel LMO2 transcriptome and interactome in DLBCL and provides a platform for future elucidation of LMO2 function in GC B cells and DLBCL pathogenesis.

Meyer C, Kowarz E, Yip SF, et al.
A complex MLL rearrangement identified five years after initial MDS diagnosis results in out-of-frame fusions without progression to acute leukemia.
Cancer Genet. 2011; 204(10):557-62 [PubMed] Related Publications
Chromosomal rearrangements of the MLL gene are uncommon in myelodysplastic syndromes (MDSs), and few studies of their molecular structures and oncogenic mechanisms exist. Here, we present a case of de novo MDS with a normal karyotype at initial diagnosis and a mild clinical course. Five years after the initial diagnosis, investigators identified a complex rearrangement of the MLL gene without progression to acute leukemia. The 5' part of the MLL gene is fused out of frame with the LOC100131626 gene, and the 3' part of the MLL gene out of frame with the TCF12 gene. Rapid amplification of complementary DNA 3' ends yielded two main fusion transcripts, which is in concordance with the two described isoforms of the LOC100131626 gene. For both isoform-fusion transcripts, the open reading frame terminates shortly after the breakpoint that is predicted to form two de facto truncated MLL proteins and disrupts the open reading frame of the LOC100131626, TCF12, and UBE4A genes. Neither dimerization nor a transcriptional activation domain, each of which is causally linked to MLL protein-mediated transformation, is present. This and other unusual MLL rearrangements probably represent a subclass of MLL gene abnormalities that have intrinsically no ability or only a weak ability to transform hematopoeitic cells and are identified only in the context of other hematopoetic malignancies.

Lee CC, Chen WS, Chen CC, et al.
TCF12 protein functions as transcriptional repressor of E-cadherin, and its overexpression is correlated with metastasis of colorectal cancer.
J Biol Chem. 2012; 287(4):2798-809 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
A correlation of TCF12 mRNA overexpression with colorectal cancer (CRC) metastasis was suggested by microarray data and validated by the survey of 120 patients. Thirty-three (27.5%) of the 120 patients showed tumor TCF12 mRNA overexpression and had a higher rate of metastatic occurrence (p = 0.020) and a poorer survival outcome (p = 0.014). Abundant TCF12 levels were also observed in human CRC cell lines such as SW620 and LoVo, but a relatively low level was detected in SW480 cells. Knockdown of TCF12 expression in SW620 and LoVo cells drastically reduced their activities of migration, invasion, and metastasis. Tight cell-cell contact and an increase in E-cadherin but a concomitant decrease in fibronectin were observed in TCF12-knockdown cells. Connexin 26, connexin 43, and gap-junction activity were also increased upon TCF12-knockdown. In contrast, ectopic TCF12 overexpression in SW480 cells facilitated fibronectin expression and cell migration and invasion activities but diminished cellular levels of E-cadherin, connexin 26, connexin 43, and gap junction. A physical association of TCF12 with the E-cadherin promoter was evidenced by chromatin immunoprecipitation assay. TCF12 was tightly correlated with cellular expression of Bmi1 and EZH2 and was co-immunoprecipitable with Bmi1 and EZH2, suggesting that TCF12 transcriptionally suppressed E-cadherin expression via polycomb group-repressive complexes. Clinically, TCF12 mRNA overexpression was also correlated with E-cadherin mRNA down-regulation in the tumor tissues of our 120 patients (p = 0.013). These studies suggested that TCF12 functioned as a transcriptional repressor of E-cadherin and its overexpression was significantly correlated with the occurrence of CRC metastasis.

Thorsen K, Schepeler T, Øster B, et al.
Tumor-specific usage of alternative transcription start sites in colorectal cancer identified by genome-wide exon array analysis.
BMC Genomics. 2011; 12:505 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
BACKGROUND: Approximately half of all human genes use alternative transcription start sites (TSSs) to control mRNA levels and broaden the transcriptional output in healthy tissues. Aberrant expression patterns promoting carcinogenesis, however, may arise from alternative promoter usage.
RESULTS: By profiling 108 colorectal samples using exon arrays, we identified nine genes (TCF12, OSBPL1A, TRAK1, ANK3, CHEK1, UGP2, LMO7, ACSL5, and SCIN) showing tumor-specific alternative TSS usage in both adenoma and cancer samples relative to normal mucosa. Analysis of independent exon array data sets corroborated these findings. Additionally, we confirmed the observed patterns for selected mRNAs using quantitative real-time reverse-transcription PCR. Interestingly, for some of the genes, the tumor-specific TSS usage was not restricted to colorectal cancer. A comprehensive survey of the nine genes in lung, bladder, liver, prostate, gastric, and brain cancer revealed significantly altered mRNA isoform ratios for CHEK1, OSBPL1A, and TCF12 in a subset of these cancer types.To identify the mechanism responsible for the shift in alternative TSS usage, we antagonized the Wnt-signaling pathway in DLD1 and Ls174T colorectal cancer cell lines, which remarkably led to a shift in the preferred TSS for both OSBPL1A and TRAK1. This indicated a regulatory role of the Wnt pathway in selecting TSS, possibly also involving TP53 and SOX9, as their transcription binding sites were enriched in the promoters of the tumor preferred isoforms together with their mRNA levels being increased in tumor samples. Finally, to evaluate the prognostic impact of the altered TSS usage, immunohistochemistry was used to show deregulation of the total protein levels of both TCF12 and OSBPL1A, corresponding to the mRNA levels observed. Furthermore, the level of nuclear TCF12 had a significant correlation to progression free survival in a cohort of 248 stage II colorectal cancer samples.
CONCLUSIONS: Alternative TSS usage in colorectal adenoma and cancer samples has been shown for nine genes, and OSBPL1A and TRAK1 were found to be regulated in vitro by Wnt signaling. TCF12 protein expression was upregulated in cancer samples and correlated with progression free survival.

Arab K, Smith LT, Gast A, et al.
Epigenetic deregulation of TCF21 inhibits metastasis suppressor KISS1 in metastatic melanoma.
Carcinogenesis. 2011; 32(10):1467-73 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Metastatic melanoma is a fatal disease due to the lack of successful therapies and biomarkers for early detection and its incidence has been increasing. Genetic studies have defined recurrent chromosomal aberrations, suggesting the location of either tumor suppressor genes or oncogenes. Transcription factor 21 (TCF21) belongs to the class A of the basic helix-loop-helix family with reported functions in early lung and kidney development as well as tumor suppressor function in the malignancies of the lung and head and neck. In this study, we combined quantitative DNA methylation analysis in patient biopsies and in their derived cell lines to demonstrate that TCF21 expression is downregulated in metastatic melanoma by promoter hypermethylation and TCF21 promoter DNA methylation is correlated with decreased survival in metastatic skin melanoma patients. In addition, the chromosomal location of TCF21 on 6q23-q24 coincides with the location of a postulated metastasis suppressor in melanoma. Functionally, TCF21 binds the promoter of the melanoma metastasis-suppressing gene, KiSS1, and enhances its gene expression through interaction with E12, a TCF3 isoform and with TCF12. Loss of TCF21 expression results in loss of KISS1 expression through loss of direct interaction of TCF21 at the KISS1 promoter. Finally, overexpression of TCF21 inhibits motility of C8161 melanoma cells. These data suggest that epigenetic downregulation of TCF21 is functionally involved in melanoma progression and that it may serve as a biomarker for aggressive tumor behavior.

Kusy S, Gerby B, Goardon N, et al.
NKX3.1 is a direct TAL1 target gene that mediates proliferation of TAL1-expressing human T cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia.
J Exp Med. 2010; 207(10):2141-56 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
TAL1 (also known as SCL) is expressed in >40% of human T cell acute lymphoblastic leukemias (T-ALLs). TAL1 encodes a basic helix-loop-helix transcription factor that can interfere with the transcriptional activity of E2A and HEB during T cell leukemogenesis; however, the oncogenic pathways directly activated by TAL1 are not characterized. In this study, we show that, in human TAL1-expressing T-ALL cell lines, TAL1 directly activates NKX3.1, a tumor suppressor gene required for prostate stem cell maintenance. In human T-ALL cell lines, NKX3.1 gene activation is mediated by a TAL1-LMO-Ldb1 complex that is recruited by GATA-3 bound to an NKX3.1 gene promoter regulatory sequence. TAL1-induced NKX3.1 activation is associated with suppression of HP1-α (heterochromatin protein 1 α) binding and opening of chromatin on the NKX3.1 gene promoter. NKX3.1 is necessary for T-ALL proliferation, can partially restore proliferation in TAL1 knockdown cells, and directly regulates miR-17-92. In primary human TAL1-expressing leukemic cells, the NKX3.1 gene is expressed independently of the Notch pathway, and its inactivation impairs proliferation. Finally, TAL1 or NKX3.1 knockdown abrogates the ability of human T-ALL cells to efficiently induce leukemia development in mice. These results suggest that tumor suppressor or oncogenic activity of NKX3.1 depends on tissue expression.

Tremblay CS, Hoang T, Hoang T
Early T cell differentiation lessons from T-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia.
Prog Mol Biol Transl Sci. 2010; 92:121-56 [PubMed] Related Publications
T cells develop from bone marrow-derived self-renewing hematopoietic stem cells (HSC). Upon entering the thymus, these cells undergo progressive commitment and differentiation driven by the thymic stroma and the pre-T cell receptor (pre-TCR). These processes are disrupted in T-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia (T-ALL). More than 70% of recurring chromosomal rearrangements in T-ALL activate the expression of oncogenic transcription factors, belonging mostly to three families, basic helix-loop-helix (bHLH), homeobox (HOX), and c-MYB. This prevalence is indicative of their importance in the T lineage, and their dominant mechanisms of transformation. For example, bHLH oncoproteins inhibit E2A and HEB, revealing their tumor suppressor function in the thymus. The induction of T-ALL, nonetheless, requires collaboration with constitutive NOTCH1 signaling and the pre-TCR, as well as loss-of-function mutations for CDKN2A and PTEN. Significantly, NOTCH1, the pre-TCR pathway, and E2A/HEB proteins control critical checkpoints and branchpoints in early thymocyte development whereas several oncogenic transcription factors, HOXA9, c-MYB, SCL, and LYL-1 control HSC self-renewal. Together, these genetic lesions alter key regulatory processes in the cell, favoring self-renewal and subvert the normal control of thymocyte homeostasis.

Kumar R, Cheney KM, McKirdy R, et al.
CBFA2T3-ZNF652 corepressor complex regulates transcription of the E-box gene HEB.
J Biol Chem. 2008; 283(27):19026-38 [PubMed] Related Publications
Transcriptional repression plays a critical role in development and homeostasis. The ETO family represents a group of highly conserved and ubiquitously expressed transcriptional regulatory proteins that are components of a diverse range of multiprotein repressor complexes. ETO proteins function as transcriptional repressors by interacting with a number of transcription factors that bind to their cognate consensus DNA binding sequences within the promoters of target genes. We previously reported that the classical C(2)H(2) zinc finger DNA-binding protein, ZNF652, specifically and functionally interacts with the ETO protein CBFA2T3 and has a role in the suppression of breast oncogenesis. Here we report the identification and validation of the ZNF652 consensus DNA binding sequence. Our results show that the E-box gene HEB is a direct target of CBFA2T3-ZNF652-mediated transcriptional repression. The CBFA2T3-ZNF652 complex regulates HEB expression by binding to a single ZNF652 response element located within the promoter sequence of HEB. This study also shows that the NHR3 and NHR4 domains of CBFA2T3 interact with a conserved proline-rich region located within the C terminus of ZNF652. Our results, together with previous reports, indicate that HEB has a complex relationship with CBFA2T3; CBFA2T3 interacts with ZNF652 to repress HEB expression, and in addition CBFA2T3 interacts with the HEB protein to inhibit its activator function. These findings suggest that CBFA2T3-ZNF652-mediated HEB regulation may play an important role in hematopoiesis and myogenesis.

Zhong Y, Jiang L, Hiai H, et al.
Overexpression of a transcription factor LYL1 induces T- and B-cell lymphoma in mice.
Oncogene. 2007; 26(48):6937-47 [PubMed] Related Publications
LYL1, a member of the class II basic helix-loop-helix transcription factors, is aberrantly expressed in a fraction of human T-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia. Here, we generated transgenic mice ubiquitously overexpressing LYL1 using a construct expressing full-length cDNA driven by a human elongation factor 1alpha promoter. Four independent lines exhibiting high LYL1 expression were established. Of these transgenic mice, 96% displayed loss of hair with a short kinked tail. Furthermore, 30% of them developed malignant lymphoma, with an average latent period of 352 days. In these mice, histological examination revealed tumor cell infiltration in multiple organs and immunohistochemical analysis showed that the infiltrated tumor cells were either CD3 or CD45R/B220-positive; fluorescence-activated cell sorter analysis indicated that each tumor consisted either of mainly CD4, CD8 double-positive T cells or mature B cells; the clonality of LYL1-induced lymphoma was confirmed by T-cell receptor rearrangement and immunoglobulin heavy-chain gene rearrangement analyses. Mammalian two-hybrid analysis and luciferase assay suggested that excess LYL1 blocked the dimerization of E2A and thus inhibited the regulatory activity of E2A on the CD4 promoter. Reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction results showed that the expression of certain E2A/HEB target genes was downregulated. Taken together, our results provide direct evidence that aberrant expression of LYL1 plays a role in lymphomagenesis.

Chen MJ, Chiou PP, Lin P, et al.
Suppression of growth and cancer-induced angiogenesis of aggressive human breast cancer cells (MDA-MB-231) on the chorioallantoic membrane of developing chicken embryos by E-peptide of pro-IGF-I.
J Cell Biochem. 2007; 101(5):1316-27 [PubMed] Related Publications
E-peptide of the pro-Insulin-like growth factor-I (pro-IGF-I) is produced from pre-pro-IGF-I by proteolytic cleavage in the post-translational processing. Previous in vitro studies conducted in our laboratory showed that Ea4-peptide of rainbow trout (rt) pro-IGF-I or Eb-peptide of human (h) pro-IGF-I exhibited activities including induction of morphological differentiation, inhibition of anchorage-independent cell growth and suppression of invasion of several well established human cancer cell lines such as MDA-MB-231, HT-29, SK-N-F1, and HepG-2 (Chen et al. [2002] Gen Comp Endocrinol 126:342-351; Kuo and Chen [2002] Exp Cell Res 280:75-89). Seeding of aggressive human breast cancer cells, MDA-MB-231, on the chorioallantoic membrane (CAM) of 5 days old chicken embryos resulted in rapid growth and invasion of the cells and induction of blood vessel formation around the MDA-MB-231 cell mass in the chicken embryos. The invasion of MDA-MB-231 cells in the chicken embryos was further confirmed by immunocytochemistry. The rapid growth and invasion of MDA-MB-231 cells and the induction of blood vessel formation by MDA-MB-231 cells on chicken CAM are inhibited by treatment with a single or multiple doses of rtEa4- or hEb-peptide. Furthermore, a dose-dependent inhibition of angiogenesis by rtEa4- or hEb-peptide was also demonstrated by the chicken CAM assay. Results of microarray analysis of human gene chips (containing 9,500 unique cDNA clones) and confirmation by comparative real-time RT-PCR analysis showed that a group of genes related to cancer cell activities are up- or down-regulated in MDA-MB-231 cells transfected with a rtEa4-peptide gene. Together these results confirm the anti-tumor activity of rtEa4- and hEb-peptides, and further suggest that these peptides could be developed as therapeutics for treating human cancers.

Palomero T, Odom DT, O'Neil J, et al.
Transcriptional regulatory networks downstream of TAL1/SCL in T-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia.
Blood. 2006; 108(3):986-92 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Aberrant expression of 1 or more transcription factor oncogenes is a critical component of the molecular pathogenesis of human T-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia (T-ALL); however, oncogenic transcriptional programs downstream of T-ALL oncogenes are mostly unknown. TAL1/SCL is a basic helix-loop-helix (bHLH) transcription factor oncogene aberrantly expressed in 60% of human T-ALLs. We used chromatin immunoprecipitation (ChIP) on chip to identify 71 direct transcriptional targets of TAL1/SCL. Promoters occupied by TAL1 were also frequently bound by the class I bHLH proteins E2A and HEB, suggesting that TAL1/E2A as well as TAL1/HEB heterodimers play a role in transformation of T-cell precursors. Using RNA interference, we demonstrated that TAL1 is required for the maintenance of the leukemic phenotype in Jurkat cells and showed that TAL1 binding can be associated with either repression or activation of genes whose promoters occupied by TAL1, E2A, and HEB. In addition, oligonucleotide microarray analysis of RNA from 47 primary T-ALL samples showed specific expression signatures involving TAL1 targets in TAL1-expressing compared with -nonexpressing human T-ALLs. Our results indicate that TAL1 may act as a bifunctional transcriptional regulator (activator and repressor) at the top of a complex regulatory network that disrupts normal T-cell homeostasis and contributes to leukemogenesis.

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