Reduced retinoic acid-sensitivities of nuclear receptor corepressor binding to PML- and PLZF-RARα underlie molecular pathogenesis and treatment of acute promyelocytic leukemia

Fabien Guidez, Sarah Ivins, Jun Zhu, Mats Söderström, Samuel Waxman, Arthur Zelent

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

258 Scopus citations


Typical acute promyelocytic leukemia (APL) is associated with expression of the PML-RARα fusion protein and responsiveness to treatment with all- trans retinoic acid (ATRA). A rare, but recurrent, APL has been described that does not respond to ATRA treatment and is associated with a variant chromosomal translocation and expression of the PLZF-RARα fusion protein. Both PML- and PLZF-RARα possess identical RAR sequences and inhibit ATRA- induced gene transcription as well as cell differentiation. We now show that the above-mentioned oncogenic fusion proteins interact with the nuclear receptor corepressor N-CoR and, in comparison with the wild-type RARα protein, their interactions display reduced sensitivities to ATRA. Although pharmacologic concentration of ATRA could still induce dissociation of N-CoR from PML-RARα, it has a very little effect on its association with the PLZF- RARα fusion protein. This ATRA-insensitive interaction between N-CoR and PLZF-RARα was mediated by the N-terminal PLZF moiety of the chimera. It appears that N-CoR/histone deacetylase corepressor complex interacts directly in an ATRA-insensitive manner with the BTB/POZ-domain of the wild-type PLZF protein and is required, at least in part, for its function as a transcriptional repressor. As the above-noted results predict, histone deacetylase inhibitors antagonize oncogenic activities of the PML-RARα fusion protein and partially relieve transcriptional repression by PLZF as well as inhibitory effect of PLZF-RARα on ATRA response. Take together, our results demonstrate involvement of nuclear receptor corepressor/histone deacetylase complex in the molecular pathogenesis of APL and provide an explanation for differential sensitivities of PML- and PLZF-RARα-associated leukemias to ATRA.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2634-2642
Number of pages9
Issue number8
StatePublished - Apr 15 1998


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Immunology
  • Hematology
  • Cell Biology

Cite this