A DNMT3A mutation common in AML exhibits dominant-negative effects in murine ES cells

Blood. 2013 Dec 12;122(25):4086-9. doi: 10.1182/blood-2013-02-483487. Epub 2013 Oct 28.


Somatic heterozygous mutations of the DNA methyltransferase gene DNMT3A occur frequently in acute myeloid leukemia and other hematological malignancies, with the majority (∼60%) of mutations affecting a single amino acid, Arg882 (R882), in the catalytic domain. Although the mutations impair DNMT3A catalytic activity in vitro, their effects on DNA methylation in cells have not been explored. Here, we show that exogenously expressed mouse Dnmt3a proteins harboring the corresponding R878 mutations largely fail to mediate DNA methylation in murine embryonic stem (ES) cells but are capable of interacting with wild-type Dnmt3a and Dnmt3b. Coexpression of the Dnmt3a R878H (histidine) mutant protein results in inhibition of the ability of wild-type Dnmt3a and Dnmt3b to methylate DNA in murine ES cells. Furthermore, expression of Dnmt3a R878H in ES cells containing endogenous Dnmt3a or Dnmt3b induces hypomethylation. These results suggest that the DNMT3A R882 mutations, in addition to being hypomorphic, have dominant-negative effects.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acid Substitution
  • Animals
  • COS Cells
  • Chlorocebus aethiops
  • DNA (Cytosine-5-)-Methyltransferases / biosynthesis
  • DNA (Cytosine-5-)-Methyltransferases / genetics*
  • DNA Methylation / genetics*
  • Embryonic Stem Cells / enzymology*
  • Embryonic Stem Cells / pathology
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Enzymologic / genetics
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Leukemic / genetics
  • Genes, Dominant*
  • Leukemia, Myeloid, Acute / enzymology
  • Leukemia, Myeloid, Acute / genetics
  • Leukemia, Myeloid, Acute / pathology
  • Mice
  • Mice, Mutant Strains
  • Mutation, Missense*


  • DNA (Cytosine-5-)-Methyltransferases
  • DNA methyltransferase 3A
  • DNA methyltransferase 3B