The Genomics of Acute Myeloid Leukaemia An Investigation into the Molecular Pathogenesis of Acute Myeloid Leukaemia with t(8;21)
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Acute myeloid leukaemia is a clonal disorder characterised by recurrent chromosomal translocations. One of the commonest, is the t(8;21) which results in part of the AML1 gene being juxtaposed to most of the ETO gene with the resultant chimeric protein, AML1-ETO, acting predominantly as a transcriptional repressor. Despite the extensive literature available, the exact mechanism by which the chimeric protein results in AML has not been fully elucidated. By using exon arrays and high throughput sequencing as tools it was hoped to gain further insights into the molecular basis of this disease. Gene expression profiling using the exon arrays highlighted molecular pathways and specific genes that play a key role in the pathogenesis in t(8;21). Exon arrays were also used to profile individual exon expression of the ETO gene. This demonstrated that the genomic breakpoint of ETO in the t(8;21) is variable between different patients. This technique also resulted in the discovery of a new exon in the ETO gene. This novel exon results in formation of alternative transcripts of AML1-ETO and was shown in mouse models to play a key role in leukaemogenesis. Chromatin immunoprecipitation followed by high throughput sequencing revealed novel aspects of AML1-ETO binding. A number of novel genes that bind AML1-ETO were recognized and in conjunction with the expression data, a number of hypothesis on how AML1-ETO binding effects gene expression are made.
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