Dysfunction of the WT1-MEG3 signaling promotes AML leukemogenesis via p53-dependent and -independent pathways

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Long non-coding RNAs (lncRNAs) play a pivotal role in tumorigenesis, exemplified by the recent finding that lncRNA maternally expressed gene 3 (MEG3) inhibits tumor growth in a p53-dependent manner. Acute myeloid leukemia (AML) is the most common malignant myeloid disorder in adults, and TP53 mutations or loss are frequently detected in patients with therapy-related AML or AML with complex karyotype. Here, we reveal that MEG3 is significantly downregulated in AML and suppresses leukemogenesis not only in a p53-dependent, but also a p53-independent manner. In addition, MEG3 is proven to be transcriptionally activated by Wilms’ tumor 1 (WT1), dysregulation of which by epigenetic silencing or mutations is causally involved in AML. Therefore MEG3 is identified as a novel target of the WT1 molecule. Ten-eleven translocation-2 (TET2) mutations frequently occur in AML and significantly promote leukemogenesis of this disorder. In our study, TET2, acting as a cofactor of WT1, increases MEG3 expression. Taken together, our work demonstrates that TET2 dysregulated WT1-MEG3 axis significantly promotes AML leukemogenesis, paving a new avenue for diagnosis and treatment of AML patients.

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