The chimeric oncoprotein NUP98-HOXA9 results from the t(7;11)(p15;p15) chromosomal translocation and is associated with acute myeloid leukemia. It causes aberrant gene regulation and leukemic transformation through mechanisms that are not fully understood. NUP98-HOXA9 consists of an N-terminal portion of the nucleoporin NUP98 that contains many FG repeats fused to the DNA-binding homeodomain of HOXA9. We used a Cytotrap yeast two-hybrid assay to identify proteins that interact with NUP98-HOXA9. We identified Dynein Light Chain 1 (DYNLT1), an integral 14 KDa protein subunit of the large microtubule-based cytoplasmic dynein complex, as an interaction partner of NUP98-HOXA9. Binding was confirmed by in vitro pull down and co-immunoprecipitation assays and the FG repeat region of NUP98-HOXA9 was shown to be essential for the interaction. RNAi-mediated knockdown of DYNLT1 resulted in reduction of the ability of NUP98-HOXA9 to activate transcription and also inhibited the ability of NUP98-HOXA9 to induce proliferation of primary human hematopoietic CD34+ cells. DYNLT1 also showed a strong interaction with wild-type NUP98 and other nucleoporins containing FG repeats. Immunofluorescence analysis showed that DYNLT1 localizes primarily to the nuclear periphery, where it co-localizes with the nuclear pore complex, and to the cytoplasm. Deletion studies showed that the interactions of the nucleoporins with DYNLT1 are dependent predominantly on the C-terminal half of the DYNLT1. These data show for the first time that DYNLT1 interacts with nucleoporins and plays a role in the dysregulation of gene expression and induction of hematopoietic cell proliferation by the leukemogenic nucleoporin fusion, NUP98-HOXA9.
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