The chromosome 4q21 gene (AF-4/FEL) is widely expressed in normal tissues and shows breakpoint diversity in t(4;11)(q21;q23) acute leukemia

Blood. 1993 Aug 15;82(4):1080-5.


The chromosomal translocation, t(4;11)(q21;q23), is the most common type of 11q23 chromosomal abnormality, being highly prevalent in infant acute leukemias and associated with a poor prognosis. The t(4;11) results in the fusion of an 11q23 gene (MLL, HRX, Htrx-1, or ALL-1) and a 4q21 gene (AF-4 or FEL). To further evaluate the 4q21 gene and its role in t(4;11) acute leukemia, we have cloned a 38-kb genomic region and mapped exons of the AF-4 gene. The 4q21 breakpoints in 19 cases of t(4;11) acute leukemia were analyzed by Southern analysis and pulsed-field gels. Seventeen of the 19 cases had breakpoints on chromosome 4q21 that were scattered in this 38 kb region. Expression of the AF-4 gene was studied in a total of 28 various nonhematopoietic, hematopoietic, and t(4;11) leukemic cell lines. The AF-4 gene was expressed in all cell lines as a major and a minor transcript. In addition to the normal transcripts, two fusion transcripts from the derivative 11 and derivative 4 chromosomes were identified in all t(4;11) cell lines except B1, which had only the der(11) transcript. These findings suggest that the breakpoints on 4q21 cluster over a broader area than do the breakpoints in the 11q23 gene, and that der(11) encodes the fusion RNA found consistently in leukemia cells.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Acute Disease
  • Base Sequence
  • Chromosome Mapping
  • Chromosomes, Human, Pair 11*
  • Chromosomes, Human, Pair 4*
  • Gene Expression
  • Genetic Variation
  • Humans
  • Leukemia / genetics*
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Translocation, Genetic*
  • Tumor Cells, Cultured