HoxA10 activates CDX4 transcription and Cdx4 activates HOXA10 transcription in myeloid cells

Ling Bei, Weiqi Huang, Hao Wang, Chirag Shah, Elizabeth Horvath, Elizabeth Eklund*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Scopus citations


HoxA10 is a homeodomain transcription factor that influences a number of developmental processes, including hematopoiesis. During definitive hematopoiesis, expression of HoxA10 is maximal in committed myeloid progenitor cells and decreases as differentiation proceeds. Aberrantly increased expression of HoxA10 was found in bone marrow cells in a poor prognosis subset of human acute myeloid leukemia (AML). Consistent with this, AML developed in mice transplanted with HoxA10-overexpressing bone marrow. However, relatively few target genes have been identified that explain the role of HoxA10 in leukemogenesis. In the current study, we identified CDX4 as a HoxA10 target gene. Cdx4 is a homeodomain transcription factor that was also implicated in myeloid leukemogenesis. Although relatively few Cdx4 target genes have been identified, Cdx4 was known to influence HOX gene transcription. We identified a HoxA10-binding cis element in the CDX4 promoter that activated transcription. We also identified a Cdx4-binding cis element that activated the HOXA10 promoter. Therefore, increased Cdx4 expression in HoxA10-overexpressing cells augmented transcription of the endogenous HOXA10 gene. Increased endogenous HoxA10 in these cells induced additional CDX4 transcription. We found that Cdx4 influenced transcription of HoxA10 target genes in a HoxA10-dependent manner. Similarly, HoxA10 influenced transcription of HOX genes in a Cdx4-dependent manner. We previously found that HoxA10-overexpressing myeloid progenitors were hypersensitive to a variety of cytokines. In the current studies, we found that Cdx4 knockdown decreased cytokine hypersensitivity of HoxA10-overexpressing cells. Therefore, these studies identified a positive feedback relationship between HoxA10 and Cdx4, which potentially amplified the contribution of either transcription factor to the pathogenesis of AML.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)19047-19064
Number of pages18
JournalJournal of Biological Chemistry
Issue number21
StatePublished - May 27 2011

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Biochemistry
  • Cell Biology


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