Interaction of MLL amino terminal sequences with menin is required for transformation.
Caslini C., Yang Z., El-Osta M., Milne TA., Slany RK., Hess JL.
Rearrangements of the mixed lineage leukemia gene MLL are associated with aggressive lymphoid and myeloid leukemias. The resulting MLL fusion proteins enforce high-level expression of HOX genes and the HOX cofactor MEIS1, which is pivotal for leukemogenesis. Both wild-type MLL and MLL fusion proteins interact with the tumor suppressor menin and with the Hoxa9 locus in vivo. Here, we show that MLL sequences between amino acids 5 and 44 are required for interaction with menin and for the transformation of hematopoietic progenitors. Blocking the MLL-menin interaction by the expression of a dominant negative inhibitor composed of amino terminal MLL sequences down-regulates Meis1 expression and inhibits cell proliferation, suggesting that targeting this interaction may be an effective therapeutic strategy for leukemias with MLL rearrangements.