LDB1 Enforces Stability on Direct and Indirect Oncoprotein Partners in Leukemia [Research Article]

The LMO2/LDB1 macromolecular complex is critical in hematopoietic stem and progenitor cell specification and in the development of acute leukemia. This complex is comprised of core subunits of LMO2 and LDB1 as well as single-stranded DNA-binding protein (SSBP) cofactors and DNA-binding basic helix-loop-helix (bHLH) and GATA transcription factors. We analyzed the steady-state abundance and kinetic stability of LMO2 and its partners via Halo protein tagging in conjunction with variant proteins deficient in binding their respective direct protein partners. We discovered a hierarchy of protein stabilities (with half-lives in descending order) as follows: LDB1 > SSBP > LMO2 > TAL1. Importantly, LDB1 is a remarkably stable protein that confers enhanced stability upon direct and indirect partners, thereby nucleating the formation of the multisubunit protein complex. The data imply that free subunits are more rapidly degraded than those incorporated within the LMO2/LDB1 complex. Our studies provided significant insights into LMO2/LDB1 macromolecular protein complex assembly and stability, which has implications for understanding its role in blood cell formation and for therapeutically targeting this complex in human leukemias.

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