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Differential effects of sumoylation on the activities of CCAAT enhancer binding protein alpha (C/EBPa) p42 versus p30 may contribute in part, to aberrant C/EBPa activity in acute leukemias

William Hankey, Matthew Silver, Hong Sun, Terry Zibello, Nancy Berliner, Arati Khanna-Gupta
  • William Hankey
    *The Ohio State University, United States
  • Matthew Silver
    BWH, Hematology, United States
  • Hong Sun
    BWH, Hematology, United States
  • Terry Zibello
    None, United States
  • Nancy Berliner
    BWH, Harvard Medical School, United States


In this study, we have examined the role of post-translational modification of the myeloid master regulator C/EBP by small ubiquitin-related modifier (SUMO). We have used transient transfection analysis, oligonucleotide pulldown assays and chromatin immunoprecititation in all-trans retinoic acid (ATRA)-inducible promyelocytic cell lines MPRO and NB4. We demonstrate that sumoylated wildtype p42-C/EBPis associated with negative regulation of the myeloid specific lactoferrin (LF) gene in early myeloid cells and that a reduction in p42-C/EBP sumoylation coincides with expression of the LF gene in maturing myeloid cells. In the acute promyelocytic leukemia cell line NB4 however, sumoylated p42 remains persistently bound to the LF promoter following ATRA-induction. This correlates with lack of lactoferrin expression in these cells. Changes in sumoylation status of C/EBP thus appear to contribute to a switch that regulates transcriptional activity of this master regulator during normal neutrophil development. We also demonstrate that sumoylation of the AML associated dominant negative p30-C/EBP isoform does not alter transactivation activity of the LF promoter. This may be because the p30 C/EBP isoform binds to the LF promoter much less efficiently than its full length counterpart. Our data suggest that the activity of p42-C/EBP in the developing neutrophil is more sensitive to changes in sumoylation than the p30 isoform. This difference may contribute to the leukemogenic potential of p30-C/EBP.


Myeloid transcription, Post-translational modification, leukemogenesis.

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Submitted: 2011-03-16 19:19:09
Published: 2011-05-20 09:23:57
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