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Ponnusamy, K.; Kohrs, N.; Ptasinska, A.; Assi, S. A.; Herold, T.; Hiddemann, W.; Lausen, J.; Bonifer, C.; Henschler, R. and Wichmann, C. (2015): RUNX1/ETO blocks selectin-mediated adhesion via epigenetic silencing of PSGL-1. In: Oncogenesis, Vol. 4, e146 [PDF, 1MB]

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RUNX1/ETO (RE),the t(8;21)-derived leukemic transcription factor associated with acute myeloid leukemia (AML) development, deregulates genes involved in differentiation, self-renewal and proliferation. In addition, these cells show differences in cellular adhesion behavior whose molecular basis is not well understood. Here, we demonstrate that RE epigenetically silences the gene encoding P-Selectin Glycoprotein Ligand-1 (PSGL-1) and downregulates PSGL-1 expression in human CD34+ and murine lin-hematopoietic progenitor cells. Levels of PSGL-1 inversely and dose-dependently correlate with RE oncogene levels. However, a DNA-binding defective mutant fails to downregulate PSGL-1. We show by ChIP experiments that the PSGL-1 promoter is a direct target of RE and binding is accompanied by high levels of the repressive chromatin mark histone H3K27me3. In t(8;21)+ Kasumi-1 cells, PSGL-1 expression is completely restored at both the mRNA and cell surface protein levels following RE downregulation with short hairpin RNA (shRNA) or RE inhibition with tetramerization-blocking peptides, and at the promoter H3K27me3 is replaced by the activating chromatin mark H3K9ac as well as by RNA polymerase II. Upregulation of PSGL-1 restores the binding of cells to P- and E-selectin and re-establishes myeloid-specific cellular adhesion while it fails to bind to lymphocyte-specific L-selectin. Overall, our data suggest that the RE oncoprotein epigenetically represses PSGL-1 via binding to its promoter region and thus affects the adhesive behavior of t(8;21)+ AML cells.

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