Growth suppression by acute promyelocytic leukemia-associated protein PLZF is mediated by repression of c-myc expression

Mol Cell Biol. 2003 Dec;23(24):9375-88. doi: 10.1128/MCB.23.24.9375-9388.2003.


The transcriptional repressor PLZF was identified by its translocation with retinoic acid receptor alpha in t(11;17) acute promyelocytic leukemia (APL). Ectopic expression of PLZF leads to cell cycle arrest and growth suppression, while disruption of normal PLZF function is implicated in the development of APL. To clarify the function of PLZF in cell growth and survival, we used an inducible PLZF cell line in a microarray analysis to identify the target genes repressed by PLZF. One prominent gene identified was c-myc. The array analysis demonstrated that repression of c-myc by PLZF led to a reduction in c-myc-activated transcripts and an increase in c-myc-repressed transcripts. Regulation of c-myc by PLZF was shown to be both direct and reversible. An interaction between PLZF and the c-myc promoter could be detected both in vitro and in vivo. PLZF repressed the wild-type c-myc promoter in a reporter assay, dependent on the integrity of the binding site identified in vitro. PLZF binding in vivo was coincident with a decrease in RNA polymerase occupation of the c-myc promoter, indicating that repression occurred via a reduction in the initiation of transcription. Finally, expression of c-myc reversed the cell cycle arrest induced by PLZF. These data suggest that PLZF expression maintains a cell in a quiescent state by repressing c-myc expression and preventing cell cycle progression. Loss of this repression through the translocation that occurs in t(11;17) would have serious consequences for cell growth control.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Apoptosis
  • Base Sequence
  • Binding Sites / genetics
  • Cell Cycle
  • Cell Division
  • Chromosomes, Human, Pair 11 / genetics
  • Chromosomes, Human, Pair 17 / genetics
  • DNA, Complementary / genetics
  • DNA-Binding Proteins / genetics
  • DNA-Binding Proteins / physiology*
  • Gene Expression
  • Genes, myc*
  • Humans
  • Kruppel-Like Transcription Factors
  • Leukemia, Promyelocytic, Acute / genetics
  • Leukemia, Promyelocytic, Acute / pathology
  • Promoter Regions, Genetic
  • Promyelocytic Leukemia Zinc Finger Protein
  • Repressor Proteins / genetics
  • Repressor Proteins / physiology
  • Transcription Factors / genetics
  • Transcription Factors / physiology*
  • Translocation, Genetic
  • U937 Cells


  • DNA, Complementary
  • DNA-Binding Proteins
  • Kruppel-Like Transcription Factors
  • Promyelocytic Leukemia Zinc Finger Protein
  • Repressor Proteins
  • Transcription Factors
  • ZBTB16 protein, human