Invins(10;11)(p12;q23q12) is one of the rare but recurring chromosome rearrangements seen in acute monoblastic leukemia. We cloned the proximal 10p breakpoint from one patient and showed that the MLL gene at 11q23 was fused to the 3′ portion of AF10 at 10p12. In addition, we cloned the telomeric 10p junction and we found that the 5′ portion of AF10 was juxtaposed to a previously unidentified gene at 11q12, which we call HEAB (a human homolog to a hypothetical Caenorhabditis elegans ATP/GTP-binding protein). These results indicate that the AF10 gene is split into a 5′ AF10 and a 3′ AF10 portion by the 11q23q12 chromosome segment and that both breakpoint junctions result in fusion transcripts of 5′ AF10/HEAB and MLL/3′ AF10. Only the MLL/3′ AF10 fusion mRNA results in an in-frame fusion. Northern blot analysis of HEAB expression shows that a 2.0-kb major transcript is expressed ubiquitously in human tissues and is especially abundant in testis and skeletal muscle, whereas a 3.2-kb minor transcript is noted with the highest level of expression in thymus and peripheral blood leukocytes. The HEAB gene encodes a 425-amino acid protein that is rich in valine and leucine. HEAB protein shows high homology in its entire amino acid sequence to a putative C elegans protein and contains an adenosine triphosphate (ATP)/guanosine triphosphate (GTP)-binding motif that has homology to the ATP-binding transporter superfamily or to GTP-binding proteins. Our results could explain the high frequency of complex insertion and other rearrangement events that involve 10p12 and 11q12 and 11q23. The finding that different portions of a single gene are involved in fusions with two independent genes in the same leukemic cell is unique in the analysis of chromosome translocations.

This content is only available as a PDF.
Sign in via your Institution