Altered Hox expression and segmental identity in Mll-mutant mice

Benjamin D. Yu, Jay L. Hess, Susan E. Horning, Gary A.J. Brown, Stanley J. Korsmeyer

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The mixed-lineage leukaemia gene (MLL/HRX/ALL-1) is disrupted by chromosomal translocation in human acute leukaemias that often display mixed lymphoid–myeloid phenotypes and present in infancy1–4. MLL possesses a highly conserved SET domain also found in Drosophila trithorax (trx) and Polycomb group (Pc-G) genes, which are known to regulate homeotic genes (HOM-C) in a positive or negative fashion, respectively5. Mll was targeted in mice by homologous recombination in embryonic stem (ES) cells to assess its role in pattern development. Mll heterozygous (+/−) mice had retarded growth, displayed haematopoietic abnormalities, and demonstrated bidirectional homeotic transformations of the axial skeleton as well as sternal malformations. Mll deficiency (−/−) was embryonic lethal. Anterior boundaries of Hoxa-7 and Hoxc-9 expression were shifted posteriorly in Mll +/− embryos, but their expression was abolished in Mll −/− embryos. Thus Mll is required for proper segment identity in mammals, displays haplo-insufficiency, and positively regulates Hox gene expression.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)505-508
Number of pages4
Issue number6556
StatePublished - Nov 30 1995
Externally publishedYes

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    Yu, B. D., Hess, J. L., Horning, S. E., Brown, G. A. J., & Korsmeyer, S. J. (1995). Altered Hox expression and segmental identity in Mll-mutant mice. Nature, 378(6556), 505-508.