Cohesin is a multimeric protein complex that is involved in the cohesion of sister chromatids, post-replicative DNA repair and transcriptional regulation. Here we report recurrent mutations and deletions involving multiple components of the cohesin complex, including STAG2, RAD21, SMC1A and SMC3, in different myeloid neoplasms. These mutations and deletions were mostly mutually exclusive and occurred in 12.1% (19/157) of acute myeloid leukemia, 8.0% (18/224) of myelodysplastic syndromes, 10.2% (9/88) of chronic myelomonocytic leukemia, 6.3% (4/64) of chronic myelogenous leukemia and 1.3% (1/77) of classical myeloproliferative neoplasms. Cohesin-mutated leukemic cells showed reduced amounts of chromatin-bound cohesin components, suggesting a substantial loss of cohesin binding sites on chromatin. The growth of leukemic cell lines harboring a mutation in RAD21 (Kasumi-1 cells) or having severely reduced expression of RAD21 and STAG2 (MOLM-13 cells) was suppressed by forced expression of wild-Type RAD21 and wild-Type RAD21 and STAG2, respectively. These findings suggest a role for compromised cohesin functions in myeloid leukemogenesis.
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