Haploinsufficiency of Dnmt1 impairs leukemia stem cell function through derepression of bivalent chromatin domains

Genes Dev. 2012 Feb 15;26(4):344-9. doi: 10.1101/gad.184341.111.


Epigenetic mechanisms regulating leukemia stem cells (LSCs) are an attractive target for therapy of blood cancers. Here, we report that conditional knockout of the DNA methyltransferase Dnmt1 blocked development of leukemia, and haploinsufficiency of Dnmt1 was sufficient to delay progression of leukemogenesis and impair LSC self-renewal without altering normal hematopoiesis. Haploinsufficiency of Dnmt1 resulted in tumor suppressor gene derepression associated with reduced DNA methylation and bivalent chromatin marks. These results suggest that LSCs depend on not only active expression of leukemogenic programs, but also DNA methylation-mediated silencing of bivalent domains to enforce transcriptional repression.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Chromatin / metabolism*
  • DNA (Cytosine-5-)-Methyltransferases / genetics*
  • DNA (Cytosine-5-)-Methyltransferases / metabolism*
  • DNA Methylation
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Neoplastic*
  • Gene Knockout Techniques
  • Haploinsufficiency*
  • Kaplan-Meier Estimate
  • Leukemia / enzymology*
  • Leukemia / pathology
  • Mice
  • Neoplastic Stem Cells / cytology
  • Neoplastic Stem Cells / enzymology*
  • Tumor Suppressor Proteins / genetics


  • Chromatin
  • Tumor Suppressor Proteins
  • DNA (Cytosine-5-)-Methyltransferases

Associated data

  • GEO/GSE31626
  • GEO/GSE34261