The long non-coding RNA HOXB-AS3 regulates ribosomal RNA transcription in NPM1-mutated acute myeloid leukemia.
Long non-coding RNAs (lncRNAs) are important regulatory molecules that are implicated in cellular physiology and pathology. In this work, we dissect the functional role of the HOXB-AS3 lncRNA in patients with NPM1-mutated (NPM1mut) acute myeloid leukemia (AML). We show that HOXB-AS3 regulates the proliferative capacity of NPM1mut AML blasts in vitro and in vivo. HOXB-AS3 is shown to interact with the ErbB3-binding protein 1 (EBP1) and guide EBP1 to the ribosomal DNA locus. Via this mechanism, HOXB-AS3 regulates ribosomal RNA transcription and de novo protein synthesis. We propose that in the context of NPM1 mutations, HOXB-AS3 overexpression acts as a compensatory mechanism, which allows adequate protein production in leukemic blasts.