The promyelocytic leukemia-retinoic acid receptor α (PML/RARα) is hypothesized to play a vital role in the pathogenesis of acute promyelocytic leukemia (APL). A previous study has demonstrated that PML/RARα is cleaved by neutrophil elastase (NE) in early myeloid cells, which leads to an increase in the nuclear localization signal (NLS) in RARα and in the incidence of APL. In this study, we explored the effects of NLS-RARα on acute myeloid leukemia (AML) cells and studied the mechanism of its localization. LV-NLS-RARα recombinant lentivirus and negative control LV-NC lentivirus were transfected into HL-60 cells and U937 cells while mutant NLS-RARα were transfected into U937 cells, and all groups were treated with 1α, 25-dihydroxyvitamin D3(1,25D3). The results showed that NLS-RARα was located mainly in the nucleus while mutant NLS-RARα was located in the cytoplasm. Overexpression of NLS-RARα downregulated the expression of CD11b, CD11c, CD14, and three forms of CEBPβ compared to the overexpression of NC and mutant NLS-RARα. It was speculated that the abnormal localization of NLS-RARα was mediated via importin-α/β in the pathogenesis of APL. By producing point mutations in the two NLSs in NLS-RARα, we showed that the nuclear import of NLS-RARα was mainly dependent on the NLS of the RARα portion. Subsequently, we found that importin-α1 (KPNA2)/importin-β1 (KPNB1) participates in the nuclear transport of NLS-RARα. Taken together, abnormal localization of NLS-RARα blocks the differentiation of APL cells, and nuclear localization of NLS-RARα depends on NLS of the RARα portion and is mediated via binding with importin-α/β.
Copyright © 2019. Published by Elsevier Inc.