The Oncogene Nup98-HOXA9 Induces Gene Transcription in Myeloid Cells

Ghada Ghannam, Akiko Takeda, Troy Camarata, Malcolm A. Moore, Agnes Viale, Nabeel R. Yaseen*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

65 Scopus citations


The nucleoporin Nup98 gene is frequently rearranged in acute myelogenous leukemia (AML). In most cases this results in fusion of the N terminus of Nup98 to the DNA binding domain of a homeodomain transcription factor. The prototype of these fusions, Nup98-HOXA9, is associated with human AML and induces AML in mouse models. To understand the mechanisms by which Nup98-HOXA9 causes AML, we expressed it in myeloid cells and identified its target genes using high density oligonucleotide microarrays. The analysis was performed in triplicate and was confirmed by quantitative real time PCR. Of the 102 Nup98-HOXA9 target genes identified, 92 were up-regulated, and only 10 were down-regulated, suggesting a transcriptional activation function. A similar analysis of wild-type HOXA9 revealed 13 target genes, 12 of which were up-regulated, and 1 was down-regulated. In contrast, wild-type Nup98 had no effect on gene expression, demonstrating that the HOXA9 DNA binding domain is required for gene regulation. Co-transfection experiments using a luciferase reporter linked to the promoter of one of the Nup98-HOXA9 target genes confirmed up-regulation at the transcriptional level by Nup98-HOXA9 but not by either HOXA9 or Nup98. These data indicate that Nup98-HOXA9 is an aberrant transcription factor whose activity depends on the HOXA9 DNA binding domain but has a stronger and wider transcriptional effect than HOXA9. Several of the genes regulated by Nup98-HOXA9 are associated with increased cell proliferation and survival as well as drug metabolism, providing insights into the pathogenesis and epidemiology of Nup98-HOXA9-induced AML.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)866-875
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Biological Chemistry
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jan 9 2004

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology


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