NUP98 Dysregulation in Myeloid Leukemogenesis


Address for correspondence: Dr. Malcolm A.S. Moore, Moore Laboratory, Cell Biology Program, Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, New York, NY 10021. Voice: 212-639-7090; fax: 212-717-3618.


Abstract: Nucleoporin 98 (NUP98) is a component of the nuclear pore complex that facilitates mRNA export from the nucleus. It is mapped to 11p15.5 and is fused to a number of distinct partners, including nine members of the homeobox family as a consequence of leukemia-associated chromosomal translocations. NUP98-HOXA9 is associated with the t(7;11)(p15;p15) translocation in acute myeloid leukemia (AML), myelodysplastic syndrome, and blastic crisis of chronic myeloid leukemia. Expression of NUP98-HOXA9 in murine bone marrow resulted in a myeloproliferative disease progressing to AML by 7–8 months. Transduction of NUP98 fusion genes into human CD34+ cells confers a proliferative advantage in long-term cytokine-stimulated and stromal cocultures and in NOD-SCID engrafted mice, associated with a five- to eight-fold increase in hematopoietic stem cells. NUP98-HOXA9 expression inhibited erythroid and myeloid differentiation but enhanced serial progenitor replating. NUP98-HOXA9 upregulated a number of homeobox genes of the A and B cluster as well as MEIS1 and Pim-1, and downmodulated globin genes and C/EBPα. The HOXA9 component of the NUP98-HOXA9 fusion protein was protected from cullin-4A–mediated ubiquitination and subsequent proteasome-dependent degradation. In NUP98-HOX–transduced CD34+ cells and cells from AML patients with t(7;11)(p15;p15) NUP98 was no longer associated with the nuclear pore complex but formed intranuclear aggregation bodies. Analysis of NUP98 allelic expression in AML and myelodysplastic syndrome showed loss of heterozygosity observed in 29% of the former and 8% of the latter. This was associated with poor prognosis.