Priority Research Papers:

PML/RARa inhibits PTEN expression in hematopoietic cells by competing with PU.1 transcriptional activity

Nélida Inés Noguera, Maria Liliana Piredda, Riccardo Taulli, Gianfranco Catalano, Giulia Angelini, Girish Gaur, Clara Nervi, Maria Teresa Voso, Andrea Lunardi, Pier Paolo Pandolfi and Francesco Lo-Coco _

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Oncotarget. 2016; 7:66386-66397. https://doi.org/10.18632/oncotarget.11964

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Nélida Inés Noguera1,2, Maria Liliana Piredda1,2, Riccardo Taulli3, Gianfranco Catalano1, Giulia Angelini2, Girish Gaur2, Clara Nervi4, Maria Teresa Voso1, Andrea Lunardi3,5, Pier Paolo Pandolfi3* and Francesco Lo-Coco1,2*

1 Department of Biomedicine and Prevention, University of Rome “Tor Vergata”, Rome, Italy

2 Neuro-Oncohematology Unit, Santa Lucia Foundation, Rome, Italy

3 Cancer Research Institute, Beth Israel Deaconess Cancer Center, Department of Medicine and Pathology, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA, USA

4 Department of Medical and Surgical Sciences and Biotechnologies, University of Roma “La Sapienza”, Rome, Italy

5 Centre for Integrative Biology (CIBIO), University of Trento, Trento, Italy

Correspondence to:

Pier Paolo Pandolfi, email:

Francesco Lo-Coco, email:

Keywords: PTEN, PML-RARA, PU.1, oncosuppressor

Received: April 13, 2016 Accepted: July 27, 2016 Published: September 10, 2016


Acute promyelocitic leukemia (APL) is characterized by the pathognomonic presence in leukemic blasts of the hybrid protein PML/RARA, that acts as a transcriptional repressor impairing the expression of genes that are critical to myeloid differentiation. Here, we show that primary blasts from APL patients express lower levels of the oncosuppressor protein PTEN, as compared to blast cells from other AML subtypes or normal bone marrow, and demonstrate that PML-RARA directly inhibits PTEN expression. We show that All-Trans Retinoic Acid (ATRA) triggers in APL cells an active chromatin status at the core regulatory region of the PTEN promoter, that allows the binding of the myeloid-regulating transcription factor PU.1, and, in turn, the transcriptional induction of PTEN. ATRA, via PML/RARA degradation, also promotes PTEN nuclear re-localization and decreases expression of the PTEN target Aurora A kinase. In conclusion, our findings support the notion that PTEN is one of the primary targets of PML/RARA in APL

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