In vitro hematopoietic differentiation of mouse embryonic stem cells requires the tumor suppressor menin and is mediated by Hoxa9

Mech Dev. 2009 Jul;126(7):517-22. doi: 10.1016/j.mod.2009.04.001. Epub 2009 Apr 22.


Inactivating mutations in the tumor suppressor gene MEN1 cause the inherited cancer syndrome multiple endocrine neoplasia type 1 (MEN1). The ubiquitously expressed MEN1 encoded protein, menin, interacts with MLL (mixed-lineage leukemia protein), and together they are essential components of a multiprotein complex with histone methyl transferase activity. MLL is also essential for hematopoiesis, and plays a critical role in leukemogenesis via epigenetic regulation of Hoxa9 expression that also requires menin. Therefore we chose to explore the role of menin in hematopoiesis. We generated Men1(-/-) embryonic stem (ES) cell lines, and induced them to differentiate in vitro. While these cells were able to form embryoid bodies (EBs) expressing the early markers Flk-1 and c-Kit, their ability to further differentiate into hematopoietic colonies was compromised. The Men1(-/-) ES cells show reduced expression of Hoxa9 that can be recovered by reexpression of Menin. We demonstrate that the block in differentiation of Men1(-/-) ES cell lines can be rescued not only by the expression of menin but also that of Hoxa9. These results suggest that, similar to MLL, menin is required for hematopoiesis, and this requirement may be mediated through regulation of Hoxa9 expression.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Intramural

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cell Line
  • Embryo, Mammalian / cytology
  • Embryo, Mammalian / metabolism
  • Embryonic Stem Cells / cytology*
  • Embryonic Stem Cells / metabolism*
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Developmental
  • Hematopoiesis*
  • Homeodomain Proteins / genetics
  • Homeodomain Proteins / metabolism*
  • Humans
  • Mice
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins / deficiency
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins / metabolism*
  • Tumor Suppressor Proteins / metabolism*


  • Homeodomain Proteins
  • Men1 protein, mouse
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins
  • Tumor Suppressor Proteins
  • homeobox protein HOXA9