Determinants and role of chromatin organization in acute leukemia

Leukemia. 2020 Oct;34(10):2561-2575. doi: 10.1038/s41375-020-0981-z. Epub 2020 Jul 20.


DNA is compacted into higher order structures that have major implications in gene regulation. These structures allow for long-range interactions of DNA elements, such as the association of promoters with their cognate enhancers. In recent years, mutations in genes that control these structures, including the cohesin-complex and the insulator-binding protein CTCF, have been found in a spectrum of hematologic disorders, and especially in acute leukemias. Cohesin and CTCF are critical for mediating looping and establishing boundaries within chromatin. Cells that harbor mutations in these genes display aberrant chromatin architecture and resulting differences in gene expression that contribute to leukemia initiation and progression. Here, we provide detailed discussion of the nature of 3D interactions and the way that they are disrupted in acute leukemia. Continued research in this area will provide new insights into the mechanisms of leukemogenesis and may shed light on novel treatment strategies.

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.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Acute Disease
  • CCCTC-Binding Factor / genetics
  • Chromatin / metabolism*
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Neoplastic
  • Humans
  • Leukemia / genetics
  • Leukemia / metabolism*
  • Mutation


  • CCCTC-Binding Factor
  • CTCF protein, human
  • Chromatin