Runx1/AML1 is a key regulator of hematopoiesis and leukemic transformation, as RUNX1(−/−) mice do not develop definitive hematopoietic stem cells, and sever alleukemic oncogenes, e.g. AML1-ETO, CBFβ-SMMHC, or TEL-AML1, inhibit Runx1activities. We have investigated regulation of cell cycle progression by Runx1. Runx1stimulates G1 to S cell cycle progression in hematopoietic cell lines and in transduced myeloid progenitors, and inhibition of Runx1 by CBFβ-SMMHC or AML1-ETO slows G1 progression. Runx1 induces cdk4 and cyclin D3 transcription, and exogenous cdk4, cyclin D2, or c-Myc overcomes inhibition of G1 progression by CBF oncoproteins. In addition to regulating cell cycle progression, Runx1 protein levels are themselves increased as hematopoietic cells progress from G1 to S to G2/M, though mRNA levels remain constant. Runx1 contains three consensus cdk sites, (S/T)PX(R/K), S48, S303, and S424, and using phospho-specific antisera we find that each of these is modified in hematopoietic cells. Mutation of these serines to aspartic acid, mimicking phosphorylation, increases trans-activation of a reporter containing four CBF sites or the TCRβ promoter, whereas mutation to alanine reduces trans-activation. p300 interacts similarly with Runx1(tripleA) and Runx1(tripleD). We have now evaluated interaction of HDACs1–8 with these variants and Runx1 and find that both HDAC1 and HDAC3 have reduced affinity for RUNX1(tripleD), as assessed by co-immunoprecipitation from transiently transfected 293T cells. Evaluation of single serine residue mutants (S48D, S303D, and S424D) demonstrates reduced affinity of HDAC1 or HDAC3 specifically for the Runx1(S424D) mutant, consistent with previous mapping of the Runx1:HDAC1 and Runx1:HDAC3 interactions to this region of Runx1. Thus, cdk phosphorylation of Runx1 S424 reduces affinity for HDAC1 and HDAC3, increasing Runx1 trans-activation potency. Regulation of Runx1 activity by cdks may control key developmental processes, including expansion of definitive HSC during development and regulation of the balance between adult HSC quiescence and proliferation.

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