Mutant NPM1 Maintains the Leukemic State through HOX Expression

Cancer Cell. 2018 Sep 10;34(3):499-512.e9. doi: 10.1016/j.ccell.2018.08.005.


NPM1 is the most frequently mutated gene in cytogenetically normal acute myeloid leukemia (AML). In AML cells, NPM1 mutations result in abnormal cytoplasmic localization of the mutant protein (NPM1c); however, it is unknown whether NPM1c is required to maintain the leukemic state. Here, we show that loss of NPM1c from the cytoplasm, either through nuclear relocalization or targeted degradation, results in immediate downregulation of homeobox (HOX) genes followed by differentiation. Finally, we show that XPO1 inhibition relocalizes NPM1c to the nucleus, promotes differentiation of AML cells, and prolongs survival of Npm1-mutated leukemic mice. We describe an exquisite dependency of NPM1-mutant AML cells on NPM1c, providing the rationale for the use of nuclear export inhibitors in AML with mutated NPM1.

Keywords: AML; CRISPR; HOX; MEIS1; NPM1; XPO1; acute myeloid leukemia; dTAG; nuclear export; selinexor.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Animals
  • Cell Differentiation / genetics
  • Cell Line, Tumor
  • Cell Nucleus / metabolism
  • Cytoplasm / metabolism
  • Down-Regulation
  • Exportin 1 Protein
  • Female
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Leukemic*
  • Homeodomain Proteins / metabolism*
  • Humans
  • Hydrazines / pharmacology
  • Karyopherins / antagonists & inhibitors
  • Karyopherins / metabolism
  • Leukemia, Myeloid, Acute / genetics*
  • Leukemia, Myeloid, Acute / mortality
  • Leukemia, Myeloid, Acute / pathology
  • Mice
  • Mutation
  • Nuclear Proteins / genetics*
  • Nuclear Proteins / metabolism
  • Nucleophosmin
  • Proteolysis
  • Receptors, Cytoplasmic and Nuclear / antagonists & inhibitors
  • Receptors, Cytoplasmic and Nuclear / metabolism
  • Triazoles / pharmacology
  • Xenograft Model Antitumor Assays


  • Homeodomain Proteins
  • Hydrazines
  • Karyopherins
  • NPM1 protein, human
  • Npm1 protein, mouse
  • Nuclear Proteins
  • Receptors, Cytoplasmic and Nuclear
  • Triazoles
  • Nucleophosmin
  • selinexor