ABL1 methylation in Ph-positive ALL is exclusively associated with the P210 form of BCR-ABL

Leukemia. 2001 Apr;15(4):575-82. doi: 10.1038/sj.leu.2402026.


In human Ph-positive leukemia there is a clear association of different forms of the BCR-ABL oncogene with distinct types of leukemia. The P190 form of BCR-ABL is rarely observed in chronic myeloid leukemia (CML) but is present in 50% of Ph-positive acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL). In contrast, the P210 form is observed both in CML and 50% of Ph-positive ALL. Methylation of the proximal promoter of the ABL1 gene has been shown to be a nearly universal event associated with clinical progression of CML. This raises the question of whether methylation of the ABL1 promoter is an epigenetic modification also associated with Ph-positive ALL. To study this issue, we used methylation-specific PCR and bisulfite sequencing to determine the methylation status of the ABL1 promoter in 18 Ph-positive ALL samples. We report here that gene-specific ABL1 promoter methylation is associated mainly with the P210 form of BCR-ABL and not the P190 form. While six out of the seven P210-positive ALL samples had ABL1 promoter methylation, none of the 11 P190-positive ALL samples demonstrated ABL1 promoter methylation. In addition, we estimated the extent and relative abundance of ABL1 promoter methylation in several Ph-positive ALL samples and compared it to the methylation pattern in chronic, accelerated and blastic crisis phases of CML. We put forth a model that correlates the different types of leukemias with the different levels of ABL1 promoter methylation.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Ataxia Telangiectasia Mutated Proteins
  • Cell Cycle Proteins
  • DNA Methylation*
  • DNA-Binding Proteins
  • Genes, abl*
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Precursor Cell Lymphoblastic Leukemia-Lymphoma / genetics*
  • Promoter Regions, Genetic*
  • Protein-Serine-Threonine Kinases / genetics
  • Tumor Suppressor Proteins


  • Cell Cycle Proteins
  • DNA-Binding Proteins
  • Tumor Suppressor Proteins
  • ATM protein, human
  • Ataxia Telangiectasia Mutated Proteins
  • Protein-Serine-Threonine Kinases