Functional characterization of BRCC3 mutations in acute myeloid leukemia with t(8;21)(q22;q22.1)

Leukemia. 2020 Feb;34(2):404-415. doi: 10.1038/s41375-019-0578-6. Epub 2019 Oct 1.


BRCA1/BRCA2-containing complex 3 (BRCC3) is a Lysine 63-specific deubiquitinating enzyme (DUB) involved in inflammasome activity, interferon signaling, and DNA damage repair. Recurrent mutations in BRCC3 have been reported in myelodysplastic syndromes (MDS) but not in de novo AML. In one of our recent studies, we found BRCC3 mutations selectively in 9/191 (4.7%) cases with t(8;21)(q22;q22.1) AML but not in 160 cases of inv(16)(p13.1q22) AML. Clinically, AML patients with BRCC3 mutations had an excellent outcome with an event-free survival of 100%. Inactivation of BRCC3 by CRISPR/Cas9 resulted in improved proliferation in t(8;21)(q22;q22.1) positive AML cell lines and together with expression of AML1-ETO induced unlimited self-renewal in mouse hematopoietic progenitor cells in vitro. Mutations in BRCC3 abrogated its deubiquitinating activity on IFNAR1 resulting in an impaired interferon response and led to diminished inflammasome activity. In addition, BRCC3 inactivation increased release of several cytokines including G-CSF which enhanced proliferation of AML cell lines with t(8;21)(q22;q22.1). Cell lines and primary mouse cells with inactivation of BRCC3 had a higher sensitivity to doxorubicin due to an impaired DNA damage response providing a possible explanation for the favorable outcome of BRCC3 mutated AML patients.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • CRISPR-Cas Systems / genetics
  • Cell Line
  • Cell Proliferation / drug effects
  • Cell Proliferation / genetics
  • Cytokines / genetics
  • DNA Damage / drug effects
  • DNA Damage / genetics
  • Deubiquitinating Enzymes / genetics*
  • Doxorubicin / pharmacology
  • Granulocyte Colony-Stimulating Factor / genetics
  • HEK293 Cells
  • Humans
  • Inflammasomes / genetics
  • Leukemia, Myeloid, Acute / drug therapy
  • Leukemia, Myeloid, Acute / genetics*
  • Mice
  • Mutation / genetics*


  • Cytokines
  • Inflammasomes
  • Granulocyte Colony-Stimulating Factor
  • Doxorubicin
  • BRCC3 protein, human
  • Deubiquitinating Enzymes