Altered chromatin modifications in AML1/RUNX1 breakpoint regions involved in (8;21) translocation

UMMS Affiliation

Department of Cell Biology

Publication Date


Document Type



Acetylation; Chromatin; *Chromosome Breakage; Chromosomes, Human, Pair 21; Chromosomes, Human, Pair 8; Core Binding Factor Alpha 2 Subunit; HL-60 Cells; Hela Cells; Histones; Humans; Introns; Protein Binding; Translocation, Genetic


Cell Biology


The RUNX1/AML1 gene is the most frequent target for chromosomal translocation, and often identified as a site for reciprocal rearrangement of chromosomes 8 and 21 in patients with acute myelogenous leukemia. Virtually all chromosome translocations in leukemia show no consistent homologous sequences at the breakpoint regions. However, specific chromatin elements (DNase I and topoisomerase II cleavage) have been found at the breakpoints of some genes suggesting that structural motifs are determinant for the double strand DNA-breaks. We analyzed the chromatin organization at intron 5 of the RUNX1 gene where all the sequenced breakpoints involved in t(8;21) have been mapped. Using chromatin immunoprecipitation assays we show that chromatin organization at intron 5 of the RUNX1 gene is different in HL-60 and HeLa cells. Two distinct features mark the intron 5 in cells expressing RUNX1: a complete lack or significantly reduced levels of Histone H1 and enrichment of hyperacetylated histone H3. Strikingly, induction of DNA damage resulted in formation of t(8;21) in HL-60 but not in HeLa cells. Taken together, our results suggest that H1 depletion and/or histone H3 hyperacetylation may have a linkage with an increase susceptibility of specific chromosomal regions to undergo translocations.

DOI of Published Version



J Cell Physiol. 2009 Feb;218(2):343-9. Link to article on publisher's site

Journal/Book/Conference Title

Journal of cellular physiology

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Link to Article in PubMed

PubMed ID