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Keywords:

  • AF10;
  • chromosome translocation;
  • histone modification;
  • leukemia;
  • nuclear export signal

The CALM–AF10 fusion gene, which results from a t(10;11) translocation, is found in a variety of hematopoietic malignancies. Certain HOXA cluster genes and MEIS1 genes are upregulated in patients and mouse models that express CALM-AF10. Wild-type clathrin assembly lymphoid myeloid leukemia protein (CALM) primarily localizes in a diffuse pattern within the cytoplasm, whereas AF10 localizes in the nucleus; however, it is not clear where CALM-AF10 acts to induce leukemia. To investigate the influence of localization on leukemogenesis involving CALM-AF10, we determined the nuclear export signal (NES) within CALM that is necessary and sufficient for cytoplasmic localization of CALM-AF10. Mutations in the NES eliminated the capacity of CALM-AF10 to immortalize murine bone-marrow cells in vitro and to promote development of acute myeloid leukemia in mouse models. Furthermore, a fusion of AF10 with the minimal NES can immortalize bone-marrow cells and induce leukemia in mice. These results suggest that during leukemogenesis, CALM-AF10 plays its critical roles in the cytoplasm.