The nucleoporin gene NUP98 has been reported to be fused to 9 partner genes in hematologic malignancies with 11p15 translocations. The NUP98-HOXA9 fusion gene has been identified in acute myeloid leukemia (AML) and chronic myelogenous leukemia with t(7;11)(p15;p15). We report here a novel NUP98 partner gene, HOXA13, in a patient with de novo AML having t(7;11)(p15;p15). The HOXA13 gene is part of the HOXA cluster genes and contains 2 exons, encoding a protein of 338 amino acids with a homeodomain. The NUP98-HOXA13 fusion protein consists of the N-terminal phenylalanine-glycine repeat motif of NUP98 and the C-terminal homeodomain of HOXA13, similar to the NUP98-HOXA9 fusion protein. Reverse transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) analysis in various leukemic cell lines showed that the HOXA13 gene was expressed significantly more frequently in acute monocytic leukemic cell lines than in other leukemic cell lines (P = 0.039). HOXA13 and three HOXA cluster genes (A9, A10, A11) located at the 5' end of the HOXA9 gene were frequently expressed in myeloid leukemic cell lines. Our results revealed that t(7;11)(p15;p15) was not a single chromosomal abnormality at the molecular level. The protein encoded by the NUP98-HOXA13 fusion gene is similar to that encoded by NUP98-HOXA9, and the expression pattern of the HOXA13 gene in leukemic cell lines is similar to that of the HOXA9 gene, suggesting that the NUP98-HOXA13 fusion protein may play a role in leukemogenesis through a mechanism similar to that of the NUP98-HOXA9 fusion protein.
Copyright 2002 Wiley-Liss, Inc.