DNA methyltransferase 1–mediated CpG methylation of the miR-150-5p promoter contributes to fibroblast growth factor receptor 1– driven leukemogenesis

Tianxiang Hu, Yating Chong, Baohuan Cai, Yun Liu, Sumin Lu, John K. Cowell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


MicroRNA-150-5p (miR-150-5p) plays a complex role in normal early hematopoietic development and is also implicated in the development of various different leukemias. We have reported previously that, in myeloid and lymphoid malignancies associated with dysregulated fibroblast growth factor receptor 1 (FGFR1) activities, miR-150-5p is down-regulated compared with healthy cells. Here, using murine cells, we found that this down-regulation is accompanied by CpG methylation of the miR-150-5p promoter region. Of note, analysis of human acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) cohorts also revealed an inverse relationship between miR-150-5p expression and disease progression. We also found that the DNA methyltransferase 1 (DNMT1) enzyme is highly up-regulated in FGFR1-driven leukemias and lymphomas and that FGFR1 inhibition reduces DNMT1 expression. DNMT1 knockdown in stem cell leukemia/lymphoma (SCLL) cells increased miR-150-5p levels and reduced levels of the MYB proto-oncogene transcription factor, a key regulator of leukemogenesis. FGFR1 directly activates the MYC proto-oncogene basic helix-loop-helix transcription factor, which, as we show here, binds and activates the DNMT1 promoter. MYC knockdown decreased DNMT1 expression, which, in turn, increased miR-150-5p expression. One of the known targets of miR-150-5p is MYB, and treatment of leukemic cells with the MYB inhibitor mebendazole dose-dependently increased apoptosis and reduced cell viability. Moreover, mebendazole treatment of murine xenografts models of FGFR1-driven leukemias enhanced survival. These findings provide evidence that MYC activates MYB by up-regulating DNMT1, which silences miR-150-5p and promotes SCLL progression. We propose that inclusion of mebendazole in a combination therapy with FGFR1 inhibitors may be a valuable option to manage SCLL.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)18122-18130
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Biological Chemistry
Issue number48
StatePublished - Jan 1 2019


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology

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