Breakpoints of t(4;11) translocations in the human MLL and AF4 genes in ALL patients are preferentially clustered outside of high-affinity matrix attachment regions

J Cell Biochem. 2001;82(2):299-309. doi: 10.1002/jcb.1161.


Chromosomal translocations t(4;11) are based on illegitimate recombinations between the human MLL and AF4 genes, and are associated with high-risk acute leukemias of infants and young children. Here, the question was asked, whether a correlation exists between the location of translocation breakpoints within both genes and the location of S/MARs. In "halo mapping experiments" (to define SARs), about 20 kb of MLL DNA was found to be attached to the nuclear matrix. Similar experiments performed for the translocation partner gene AF4 revealed that SARs are spanning nearly the complete breakpoint cluster region of the AF4 gene. By using short DNA fragments in "scaffold reassociation experiments" (to define MARs), similar results were obtained for both genes. However, Distamycin A competition experiments in combination with "scaffold reassociation experiments" revealed specific differences in the affinity of each tested DNA fragment to bind the isolated nuclear matrix proteins. When the latter data were compared with the known location of chromosomal breakpoints for both genes, an unexpected correlation was observed. DNA areas with strong MAR affinity contained fewer translocation breakpoints, while areas with weak or absent MAR affinity showed a higher density of chromosomal breakpoints.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Chromosome Breakage
  • Chromosome Mapping
  • Chromosomes, Human, Pair 11 / genetics
  • Chromosomes, Human, Pair 11 / ultrastructure*
  • Chromosomes, Human, Pair 4 / genetics
  • Chromosomes, Human, Pair 4 / ultrastructure*
  • Contig Mapping
  • DNA, Complementary / genetics
  • DNA, Neoplasm / genetics
  • DNA, Neoplasm / metabolism*
  • Humans
  • Myeloid-Lymphoid Leukemia Protein
  • Nuclear Matrix / metabolism*
  • Oncogene Proteins, Fusion / genetics*
  • Polymerase Chain Reaction
  • Precursor Cell Lymphoblastic Leukemia-Lymphoma / genetics*
  • Recombination, Genetic
  • Translocation, Genetic / genetics*


  • DNA, Complementary
  • DNA, Neoplasm
  • MLL-AF4 fusion protein, human
  • Oncogene Proteins, Fusion
  • Myeloid-Lymphoid Leukemia Protein