Dominant-negative mutations of CEBPA, encoding CCAAT/enhancer binding protein-alpha (C/EBPalpha), in acute myeloid leukemia

Nat Genet. 2001 Mar;27(3):263-70. doi: 10.1038/85820.


The transcription factor C/EBPalpha (for CCAAT/enhancer binding protein-alpha; encoded by the gene CEBPA) is crucial for the differentiation of granulocytes. Conditional expression of C/EBPalpha triggers neutrophilic differentiation, and no mature granulocytes are observed in Cebpa-mutant mice. Here we identify heterozygous mutations in CEBPA in ten patients with acute myeloid leukemia (AML). We found that five mutations in the amino terminus truncate the full-length protein, but did not affect a 30-kD protein initiated further downstream. The mutant proteins block wild-type C/EBPalpha DNA binding and transactivation of granulocyte target genes in a dominant-negative manner, and fails to induce granulocytic differentiation. Ours is the first report of CEBPA mutations in human neoplasia, and such mutations are likely to induce the differentiation block found in AML.

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

  • Base Sequence
  • CCAAT-Enhancer-Binding Protein-alpha / biosynthesis
  • CCAAT-Enhancer-Binding Protein-alpha / chemistry
  • CCAAT-Enhancer-Binding Protein-alpha / genetics*
  • Cell Differentiation / genetics
  • Cell Nucleus / metabolism
  • DNA Primers / genetics
  • DNA, Neoplasm / metabolism
  • Genes, Dominant
  • Granulocytes / pathology
  • Heterozygote
  • Humans
  • In Vitro Techniques
  • Leukemia, Myeloid, Acute / genetics*
  • Leukemia, Myeloid, Acute / metabolism
  • Leukemia, Myeloid, Acute / pathology
  • Mutation*
  • Neutrophils / pathology
  • Sequence Deletion
  • Transcriptional Activation


  • CCAAT-Enhancer-Binding Protein-alpha
  • DNA Primers
  • DNA, Neoplasm