C/EBPα is an essential collaborator in Hoxa9/Meis1-mediated leukemogenesis

Cailin Collins, Jingya Wang, Hongzhi Miao, Joel Bronstein, Humaira Nawer, Tao Xu, Maria Figueroa, Andrew G. Muntean, Jay L. Hess

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

50 Scopus citations


Homeobox A9 (HOXA9) is a homeodomain-containing transcription factor that plays a key role in hematopoietic stem cell expansion and is commonly deregulated in human acute leukemias. A variety of upstream genetic alterations in acute myeloid leukemia (AML) lead to overexpression of HOXA9, almost always in association with overexpression of its cofactormeis homeobox 1 (MEIS1). A wide range of data suggests that HOXA9 and MEIS1 play a synergistic causative role in AML, although the molecular mechanisms leading to transformation by HOXA9 and MEIS1 remain elusive. In this study, we identify CCAAT/enhancer binding protein alpha (C/EBPα) as a critical collaborator required for Hoxa9/Meis1-mediated leukemogenesis. We show that C/EBPα is required for the proliferation of Hoxa9/Meis1-transformed cells in culture and that loss of C/EBPα greatly improves survival in both primary and secondary murine models of Hoxa9/Meis1-induced leukemia. Over 50% of Hoxa9 genome-wide binding sites are cobound by C/EBPα, which coregulates a number of downstream target genes involved in the regulation of cell proliferation and differentiation. Finally, we show that Hoxa9 represses the locus of the cyclin-dependent kinase inhibitors Cdkn2a/b in concert with C/EBPα to overcome a block in G1 cell cycle progression. Together, our results suggest a previously unidentified role for C/EBPα in maintaining the proliferation required for Hoxa9/Meis1-mediated leukemogenesis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)9899-9904
Number of pages6
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Issue number27
StatePublished - Jul 8 2014
Externally publishedYes


  • Enhancer
  • Gene regulation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General


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