The aberrant fusion proteins PML-RAR alpha and PLZF-RAR alpha contribute to the overexpression of cyclin A1 in acute promyelocytic leukemia

Blood. 2000 Dec 1;96(12):3894-9.


Cyclin A1 is a newly discovered cyclin that is overexpressed in certain myeloid leukemias. Previously, the authors found that the frequency of cyclin A1 overexpression is especially high in acute promyelocytic leukemia (APL). In this study, the authors investigated the mechanism of cyclin A1 overexpression in APL cells and showed that the APL-associated aberrant fusion proteins (PML-retinoic acid receptor alpha [PML-RAR alpha] or PLZF-RAR alpha) caused the increased levels of cyclin A1 in these cells. The ectopic expression of either PML-RAR alpha or PLZF-RAR alpha in U937 cells, a non-APL myeloid cell line, led to a dramatic increase of cyclin A1 messenger RNA and protein. This elevation of cyclin A1 was reversed by treatment with all-trans retinoic acid (ATRA) in cells expressing PML-RAR alpha but not PLZF-RAR alpha. ATRA also greatly reduced the high levels of cyclin A1 in the APL cell lines NB4 and UF-1. No effect of ATRA on cyclin A1 levels was found in the ATRA-resistant NB4-R2 cells. Further studies using ligands selective for various retinoic acid receptors suggested that cyclin A1 expression is negatively regulated by activated RAR alpha. Reporter assays showed that PML-RAR alpha led to activation of the cyclin A1 promoter. Addition of ATRA inhibited PML-RAR alpha-induced cyclin A1 promoter activity. Taken together, our data suggest that PML-RAR alpha and PLZF-RAR alpha cause the high-level expression of cyclin A1 seen in acute promyelocytic leukemia. (Blood. 2000;96:3894-3899)

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Cell Division / drug effects
  • Cyclin A / biosynthesis
  • Cyclin A / drug effects*
  • Cyclin A1
  • Down-Regulation / drug effects
  • Gene Expression Regulation / drug effects
  • Humans
  • Leukemia, Promyelocytic, Acute / metabolism*
  • Neoplasm Proteins / pharmacology*
  • Oncogene Proteins, Fusion / pharmacology*
  • Promoter Regions, Genetic / drug effects
  • RNA Stability
  • RNA, Messenger / metabolism
  • Transcription, Genetic / drug effects
  • Tretinoin / pharmacology
  • Tumor Cells, Cultured
  • U937 Cells


  • CCNA1 protein, human
  • Cyclin A
  • Cyclin A1
  • Neoplasm Proteins
  • Oncogene Proteins, Fusion
  • PLZF-RARalpha fusion protein, human
  • RNA, Messenger
  • promyelocytic leukemia-retinoic acid receptor alpha fusion oncoprotein
  • Tretinoin