The retinoid receptors RARA and RXRA contribute to myeloid maturation in both mice and humans, and deletion of Rxra and Rxrb augments leukemic growth in mice. While defining the domains of RXRA that are required for anti-leukemic effects in mouse KMT2A-MLLT3 leukemia cells, we unexpectedly identified RXRA DT448/9PP as a constitutively active variant capable of inducing maturation and loss of their proliferative phenotype. RXRA DT448/9PP was associated with ligand-independent activity in reporter assays, with enhanced co-activator interactions, reduced engraftment in vivo, and activation of myeloid maturation transcriptional signatures that overlapped with cells treated with the potent RXRA agonist bexarotene, suggestive of constitutive activity that leads to leukemic maturation. Phenotypes of RXRA DT448/9PP appear to differ from two other RXRA mutations with forms of constitutive activity (F318A and S427F), in that DT448/9PP activity was resistant to mutations at critical ligand-interacting amino acids (R316A/L326A) and was resistant to pharmacologic antagonists, suggesting it may be ligand independent. These data provide further evidence that activated RXRs can regulate myeloid maturation and provide a novel constitutively active variant that may be germane for broader studies of RXR in other settings.
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