The novel lncRNA BlackMamba controls the neoplastic phenotype of ALK - anaplastic large cell lymphoma by regulating the DNA helicase HELLS

Leukemia. 2020 Nov;34(11):2964-2980. doi: 10.1038/s41375-020-0754-8. Epub 2020 Mar 2.


The molecular mechanisms leading to the transformation of anaplastic lymphoma kinase negative (ALK-) anaplastic large cell lymphoma (ALCL) have been only in part elucidated. To identify new culprits which promote and drive ALCL, we performed a total transcriptome sequencing and discovered 1208 previously unknown intergenic long noncoding RNAs (lncRNAs), including 18 lncRNAs preferentially expressed in ALCL. We selected an unknown lncRNA, BlackMamba, with an ALK- ALCL preferential expression, for molecular and functional studies. BlackMamba is a chromatin-associated lncRNA regulated by STAT3 via a canonical transcriptional signaling pathway. Knockdown experiments demonstrated that BlackMamba contributes to the pathogenesis of ALCL regulating cell growth and cell morphology. Mechanistically, BlackMamba interacts with the DNA helicase HELLS controlling its recruitment to the promoter regions of cell-architecture-related genes, fostering their expression. Collectively, these findings provide evidence of a previously unknown tumorigenic role of STAT3 via a lncRNA-DNA helicase axis and reveal an undiscovered role for lncRNA in the maintenance of the neoplastic phenotype of ALK-ALCL.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Anaplastic Lymphoma Kinase / deficiency*
  • Biopsy
  • Cell Line, Tumor
  • Cell Proliferation
  • Clonal Evolution
  • DNA Helicases / genetics*
  • Gene Expression Profiling
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Neoplastic*
  • Gene Silencing
  • Humans
  • Lymphoma, Large-Cell, Anaplastic / genetics*
  • Lymphoma, Large-Cell, Anaplastic / pathology*
  • MicroRNAs / genetics
  • Models, Biological
  • Phenotype*
  • Promoter Regions, Genetic
  • RNA Interference
  • RNA, Long Noncoding*


  • MicroRNAs
  • RNA, Long Noncoding
  • ALK protein, human
  • Anaplastic Lymphoma Kinase
  • DNA Helicases
  • HELLS protein, human

Associated data

  • GENBANK/MN902222