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Biochemistry - Hematology - Molecular Biology - Oncology

Acetylation of the Proto-Oncogene EVI1 Abrogates Bcl-xL Promoter Binding and Induces Apoptosis
Published: Wednesday, September 28, 2011
Author: Anjan Kumar Pradhan et al.

by Anjan Kumar Pradhan, Alok Das Mohapatra, Kasturi Bala Nayak, Soumen Chakraborty

EVI1 (Ecotropic Viral Integration site I), which was originally identified as a myeloid transforming gene by means of retroviral insertional mutagenesis in mouse leukemia, encodes a nuclear DNA binding zinc finger protein. The presence of zinc fingers that are able to bind to specific sequences of DNA suggests that EVI1 is a transcriptional regulator; however, except a few, target genes of EVI1 are poorly functionally identified thus far. In this study we provide evidence that EVI1 directly induces the expression of Bcl-xL through the first set of zinc finger and thereby inhibits apoptosis. ChIP analysis showed that EVI1 binds to the Bcl-xL promoter in HT-29 cells, a colon carcinoma cell line, which expresses EVI1. The observation is also supported by the fact that EVI1 siRNA treated HT-29 cells, shows a down regulation of Bcl-xL expression and that over expression of EVI1 results in the induction of the Bcl-xL reporter construct. A set of EVI1 positive chronic myeloid leukemia (CML) samples also showed higher Bcl-xL expression with respect to EVI1 negative samples. Interestingly, co-expression of EVI1 with wild type, but not with dominant-negative form of PCAF, abolishes the effect of EVI1 on Bcl-xL, indicating that acetylation of EVI1 abrogates its ability not only to bind Bcl-xL promoter but also alleviate Bcl-xL activity. Finally we have shown that EVI1 expression regulates apoptosis in HT-29 cells, which is abrogated when HT-29 cells are transfected with EVI1 siRNA or PCAF. The result for the first time shows a direct pathway by which EVI1 can protect cells from apoptosis and also demonstrates that the pathway can be reversed when EVI1 is acetylated.