C/EBPα overrides epigenetic reprogramming by oncogenic transcription factors in acute myeloid leukemia

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Colleges, School and Institutes


Acute myeloid leukemia (AML) is a heterogeneous disease caused by recurrent mutations in the transcription regulatory machinery, resulting in abnormal growth and a block in differentiation. One type of recurrent mutations affects RUNX1, which is subject to mutations and translocations, the latter giving rise to fusion proteins with aberrant transcriptional activities. We recently compared the mechanism by which the products of the t(8;21) and the t(3;21) translocation RUNX1-ETO and RUNX1-EVI1 reprogram the epigenome. We demonstrated that a main component of the block in differentiation in both types of AML is direct repression of the gene encoding the myeloid regulator C/EBPα by both fusion proteins. Here, we examined at the global level whether C/EBPα is able to reverse aberrant chromatin programming in t(8;21) and t(3;21) AML. C/EBPα overexpression does not change oncoprotein expression or globally displace these proteins from their binding sites. Instead, it upregulates a core set of common target genes important for myeloid differentiation and represses genes regulating leukemia maintenance. This study, therefore, identifies common CEBPA-regulated pathways as targets for therapeutic intervention.


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)271-284
Number of pages14
JournalBlood Advances
Issue number3
Early online date5 Feb 2018
Publication statusPublished - 13 Feb 2018