Luo Z, Lin C, Guest E, Garrett AS, Mohaghegh N, Swanson S, Marshall S, Florens L, Washburn MP, Shilatifard A
The elongation stage of transcription is highly regulated in metazoans. We previously purified the AFF1/AFF4-containing Super Elongation Complex (SEC) as a major regulator of development and cancer pathogenesis. Here, we report the biochemical isolation of SEC-like 2 (SEC-L2) and SEC-like 3 (SEC-L3) containing AFF2 and AFF3 in association with P-TEFb, ENL/MLLT1 and AF9/MLLT3. The SEC family members demonstrate high levels of Pol II CTD kinase activity, however, only SEC is required for the proper induction of the HSP70 gene upon stress. Genome-wide mRNA-Seq analyses demonstrate that SEC-L2/3 control the expression of different subsets of genes, while AFF4/SEC plays a more dominant role in rapid transcriptional induction in cells. MYC is one of the direct targets of AFF4/SEC, and the SEC recruitment to the MYC gene regulates its expression in different cancer cells including acute myeloid or lymphoid leukemia. These findings suggest that AFF4/SEC could be a potential therapeutic target for the treatment of leukemia or other cancers associated with MYC overexpression.