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Expression and regulation of C/EBPα in normal myelopoiesis and in malignant transformation

Roberto Avellino and Ruud Delwel

Abstract

One of the most studied transcription factors in hematopoiesis is the leucine zipper CCAAT-enhancer binding protein α (C/EBPα), which is mainly involved in cell fate decisions for myeloid differentiation. Its involvement in acute myeloid leukemia (AML) is diverse, with patients frequently exhibiting mutations, deregulation of gene expression, or alterations in the function of C/EBPα. In this review, we emphasize the importance of C/EBPα for neutrophil maturation, its role in myeloid priming of hematopoietic stem and progenitor cells, and its indispensable requirement for AML development. We discuss that mutations in the open reading frame of CEBPA lead to an altered C/EBPα function, affecting the expression of downstream genes and consequently deregulating myelopoiesis. The emerging transcriptional mechanisms of CEBPA are discussed based on recent studies. Novel insights on how these mechanisms may be deregulated by oncoproteins or mutations/variants in CEBPA enhancers are suggested in principal to reveal novel mechanisms of how CEBPA is deregulated at the transcriptional level.

  • Submitted September 9, 2016.
  • Accepted October 14, 2016.
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