Link to Pubmed [PMID] – 35301220
Link to DOI – 10.1101/gad.349284.121
Genes Dev 2022 Mar; 36(5-6): 368-389
Acute myeloid leukemia with KMT2A (MLL) rearrangements is characterized by specific patterns of gene expression and enhancer architecture, implying unique core transcriptional regulatory circuitry. Here, we identified the transcription factors MEF2D and IRF8 as selective transcriptional dependencies of KMT2A-rearranged AML, where MEF2D displays partially redundant functions with its paralog, MEF2C. Rapid transcription factor degradation followed by measurements of genome-wide transcription rates and superresolution microscopy revealed that MEF2D and IRF8 form a distinct core regulatory module with a narrow direct transcriptional program that includes activation of the key oncogenes MYC, HOXA9, and BCL2. Our study illustrates a mechanism of context-specific transcriptional addiction whereby a specific AML subclass depends on a highly specialized core regulatory module to directly enforce expression of common leukemia oncogenes.