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Zhou et al. show that in the context of AML1-ETO-driven leukaemia, AES and DDX21 induce small nucleolar RNA (snoRNA)–ribonucleoprotein (RNP) formation and this is important for self-renewal of leukaemic cells.
The mechanism of action of oncogenes in acute myeloid leukaemia is poorly understood. A study now shows that the fusion oncoprotein AML1-ETO regulates leukaemogenesis by increasing the expression of small nucleolar RNAs through post-transcriptional mechanisms, resulting in increased ribosomal RNA methylation, protein translation, and promotion of leukaemic-cell self-renewal and growth.