Functional analysis of the leukemia protein ELL: Evidence for a role in the regulation of cell growth and survival

R. W. Johnstone, M. Gerber, T. Landewe, A. Tollefson, W. S. Wold, A. Shilatifard*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

29 Scopus citations


The ELL gene encodes an RNA polymerase II transcription factor that frequently undergoes translocation with the MLL gene in acute human myeloid leukemia. Here, we report that ELL can regulate cell proliferation and survival. In order to better understand the physiological role of the ELL protein, we have developed an ELL-inducible cell line. Cells expressing ELL were uniformly inhibited for growth by a loss of the G1 population and an increase in the G2/M population. This decrease in cell growth is followed by the condensation of chromosomal DNA, activation of caspase 3, poly(ADP ribose) polymerase cleavage, and an increase in sub-G1 population, which are all indicators of the process of programmed cell death. In support of the role of ELL in induction of cell death, expression of an ELL antisense RNA or addition of the caspase inhibitor ZVAD-fmk results in a reversal of ELL-mediated death. We have also demonstrated that the C-terminal domain of ELL, which is conserved among the ELL family of proteins that we have cloned (ELL, ELL2, and ELL3), is required for ELL's activity in the regulation of cell growth. These novel results indicate that ELL can regulate cell growth and survival and may explain how ELL translocations result in the development of human malignancies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1672-1681
Number of pages10
JournalMolecular and cellular biology
Issue number5
StatePublished - 2001

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'Functional analysis of the leukemia protein ELL: Evidence for a role in the regulation of cell growth and survival'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this