1 Porse Group, BRIC Research Groups, BRIC, Københavns Universitet2 The Danish Stem Cell Center, Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences, Københavns Universitet3 Department of Clinical Medicine, Department of Clinical Medicine, Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences, Københavns Universitet4 Paul O'Gorman Leukaemia Research Centre, Institute of Cancer Sciences, University of Glasgow, Glasgow, Scotland;5 unknown6 Porse Group, BRIC Research Groups, BRIC, Københavns Universitet
The loss of regulation of cell proliferation is a key event in leukemic transformation, and the oncogene tribbles (Trib)2 is emerging as a pivotal target of transcription factors in acute leukemias. Deregulation of the transcription factor E2F1, normally repressed by CCAAT enhancer-binding protein α (C/EBPα)-p42, occurs in acute myeloid leukemia (AML), resulting in the perturbation of cell cycle and apoptosis, emphasizing its importance in the molecular pathogenesis of AML. Here we show that E2F family members directly regulate Trib2 in leukemic cells and identify a feedback regulatory loop for E2F1, C/EBPα, and Trib2 in AML cell proliferation and survival. Further analyses revealed that E2F1-mediated Trib2 expression was repressed by C/EBPα-p42, and in normal granulocyte/macrophage progenitor cells, we detect C/EBPα bound to the Trib2 promoter. Pharmacological inhibition of the cell cycle or Trib2 knockdown resulted in a block in AML cell proliferation. Our work proposes a novel paradigm whereby E2F1 plays a key role in the regulation of Trib2 expression important for AML cell proliferation control. Importantly, we identify the contribution of dysregulated C/EBPα and E2F1 to elevated Trib2 expression and leukemic cell survival, which likely contributes to the initiation and maintenance of AML and may have significant implications for normal and malignant hematopoiesis.