TLX1/HOX11, a DNA-binding homeodomain protein, was originally identified by virtue of its aberrant expression in T-cell leukemia and subsequently found to be crucial for normal spleen development. The precise mechanism of TLX1 function remains poorly understood, although it is known that it can act as both a transcriptional activator and repressor and can downregulate the Aldh1a1 gene in embryonic mouse spleen. Using a whole-genome PCR approach, we show here that TLX1 protein directly interacts with pericentromeric human satellite 2 DNA sequences. Such DNA is known to localize to heterochromatin, which among other roles has been implicated in gene silencing. The interaction was confirmed in vitro and in vivo by gel retardation and chromatin immunoprecipitation assays involving satellite 2 DNA, which contained sequences resembling TLX1 binding sites. Using immunofluorescence microscopy, TLX1 demonstrated a punctate pattern of staining in the nuclei of leukemic T-cells (ALL-SIL). Double labelling indicated that TLX1 colocalized with the centromeric protein CENP-B, demonstrating that the TLX1 foci corresponded to clusters of centromeric DNA. The novel interaction of TLX1 with constitutive heterochromatin adds an additional level of complexity to the intracellular functions of this transcriptional regulator and may have relevance to its roles in transcriptional repression and T-cell immortalization.
- Satellite 2 DNA
- T-cell luekemia