Essential role for the dimerization domain of NuMA-RARalpha in its oncogenic activities and localization to NuMA sites within the nucleus

Oncogene. 2003 Feb 13;22(6):858-68. doi: 10.1038/sj.onc.1206182.


Nuclear mitotic apparatus protein-retinoic acid receptor alpha (NuMA-RARalpha) is the fourth of five fusion proteins identified in acute promyelocytic leukemia (APL) patients. The molecular basis for its oncogenic activity has not been delineated. In gel-shift assays, NuMA-RARalpha bound to retinoic acid response elements (RAREs) both as a homodimer and as a heterodimer with RXRalpha. The binding profile of NuMA-RARalpha to a panel of RAREs was very similar to PML-RARalpha and PLZF-RARalpha. In transient transfection assays using HepG2 cells, NuMA-RARalpha inhibited wild-type RARalpha transcriptional activity, while it augmented STAT3 transcriptional activity. In GST-pull down experiments, NuMA-RARalpha formed a complex with the corepressor SMRT, was released from the NuMA-RARalpha/SMRT complexes by all-trans retinoic acid (ATRA) at 10(-7)-10(-6) M and became associated with the coactivator TRAM-1 at 10(-8) M ATRA. Studies comparing NuMA-RARalpha with NuMA-RARalpha(deltaCC) demonstrated that the dimerization or alpha-helical coiled-coil domain of NuMA was required for homodimer formation, transcriptional repression of wild-type RARalpha, transcriptional activation of STAT3, and stability of the NuMA-RARalpha/SMRT complex. Confocal fluorescent microscopy of HeLa cells was performed following transient expression of cyan fluorescent protein (CFP)-tagged proteins and incubation of cells with or without ATRA. Within the nucleus, CFP-NuMA-RARalpha exhibited a speckled pattern identical to that observed in cells transfected with CFP-NuMA. Furthermore, CFP-NuMA-RARalpha colocalized with yellow fluorescent protein-tagged (YFP)-NuMA. In contrast, CFP-NuMA-RARalpha(deltaCC) exhibited a diffuse granular pattern within the nucleus, similar to RARalpha. These results indicate that the dimerization domain of NuMA-RARalpha is critical for each of the known oncogenic activities of NuMA fusion proteins as well as its sequestration to nuclear sites normally occupied by NuMA and is distinct from RARalpha.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • COS Cells
  • DNA-Binding Proteins / genetics*
  • Neoplasm Proteins / metabolism*
  • Neoplasm Proteins / physiology
  • Oncogene Proteins, Fusion / metabolism*
  • Oncogene Proteins, Fusion / physiology
  • Protein Structure, Tertiary
  • STAT3 Transcription Factor
  • Trans-Activators / genetics*
  • Transcription, Genetic


  • DNA-Binding Proteins
  • Neoplasm Proteins
  • NuMa-RARalpha protein, human
  • Oncogene Proteins, Fusion
  • STAT3 Transcription Factor
  • Trans-Activators