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IMAGE: Phosphorylation in the specific region of the LEDGF/p75 binding partners fine-tunes the interaction. In the context of mixed lineage leukemia, the negative charge increase in the protein responsible for leukemic… view more 

Credit: Kate?ina ?ermáková

Childhood leukemia is a diagnosis that no family ever wants to endure. While the treatment of most types of leukemia has improved steadily over the years, a few specific types remain very difficult to treat. One of these is called “mixed lineage leukemia,” and for children affected by this cancer, their chance of survival is only around 50 %.

A team of researchers led by Václav Veverka (IOCB Prague, Czech Republic), Zeger Debyser (KU Leuven, Belgium), and H. Courtney Hodges (Baylor College of Medicine, TX, USA) has recently uncovered a major new vulnerability of mixed lineage leukemia. Their findings, published in a recent issue of the journal PNAS, reports that a protein called LEDGF/p75 is regulated by phosphorylation, a molecular modification that changes the electrical charge of the LEDGF/p75 protein.

LEDGF/p75, or “lens epithelium-derived growth factor,” is a protein that contributes to the regulation of gene expression. It does so by tethering other proteins to a specific epigenetic mark on chromatin. This chromatin

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