PML-RARa/RXR alters the epigenetic landscape in Acute Promyelocytic Leukemia
Many different molecular mechanisms have been suggested to be associated with PML-RAR dependent transformation of haematopoietic progenitors. Here, we investigated the role of PML-RAR and RXR in the organization of epigenetic structures at a genome-wide level. We identified 2722 high confidence PML-RAR binding sites in the leukemic model cell line NB4 and found PML-RAR colocalization with RXR to the vast majority of these binding regions. Importantly, these results could be corroborated and extended in primary blast cells of two APL patients. Through genome-wide epigenetic studies we show that treatment with pharmacological doses of all-trans retinoic acid ATRA induces global alterations in active H3 acetylation and repressive H3K27me3, H3K9me3 and DNA methylation chromatin modifications. However at the PML-RAR/RXR binding sites, ATRA only induces changes in H3 acetylation. These H3 acetylation alterations triggered by the loss of PML-RAR/RXR binding affect H3 acetylation and RNA polymerase II occupancy at nearby genes. Our results suggest that PML-RAR/RXR functions as a local chromatin modulator and that specific recruitment of histone deacetylase activities to genes important for haematopoietic differentiation, RAR signaling and epigenetic control is crucial to the transforming potential of PML-RAR/RXR. Overall design: Examination of PML, RARa and RXR binding sites in leukemic cells before and after ATRA treatment, association with transcription via RNAPII occupancy and with chromatin modifications.