At the level of transcription, expression of the RUNX1 transcription factor is regulated by two alternative promoters: a distal promoter, P1, and a proximal promoter, P2. P1 is more than 7 kb upstream of P2 (Ghozi et al. 1996). In mice, the Runx1 gene is preferentially transcribed from the proximal P2 promoter during generation of hematopoietic cells from hemogenic endothelium. In fully committed hematopoietic progenitors, the Runx1 gene is preferentially transcribed from the distal P1 promoter (Sroczynska et al. 2009, Bee et al. 2010). In human T cells, RUNX1 is preferentially transcribed from P1 throughout development, while developing natural killer cells transcribe RUNX1 predominantly from P2. Developing B cells transcribe low levels of RUNX1 from both promoters (Telfer and Rothenberg 2001).
RUNX1 mRNAs transcribed from alternative promoters differ in their 5'UTRs and splicing isoforms of RUNX1 have also been described. The function of alternative splice isoforms and alternative 5'UTRs has not been fully elucidated (Challen and Goodell 2010, Komeno et al. 2014).
During zebrafish hematopoiesis, RUNX1 expression increases in response to NOTCH signaling, but direct transcriptional regulation of RUNX1 by NOTCH has not been demonstrated (Burns et al. 2005). RUNX1 transcription also increases in response to WNT signaling. BothTCF7 and TCF4 bind the RUNX1 promoter (Wu et al. 2012, Hoverter et al. 2012), and RUNX1 transcription driven by the TCF binding element (TBE) in response to WNT3A treatment is inhibited by the dominant-negative mutant of TCF4 (Medina et al. 2016). In developing mouse ovary, Runx1 expression is positively regulated by Wnt4 signaling (Naillat et al. 2015).
Studies in mouse hematopoietic stem and progenitor cells imply that RUNX1 may be a direct transcriptional target of HOXB4 (Oshima et al. 2011).
Conserved cis-regulatory elements were recently identified in intron 5 of RUNX1. The RUNX1 breakpoints observed in acute myeloid leukemia (AML) with translocation (8;21), which result in expression of a fusion RUNX1-ETO protein, cluster in intron 5, in proximity to these not yet fully characterized cis regulatory elements (Rebolledo-Jaramillo et al. 2014).
At the level of translation, RUNX1 expression is regulated by various microRNAs which bind to the 3'UTR of RUNX1 mRNA and inhibit its translation through endonucleolytic and/or nonendonucleolytic mechanisms. MicroRNAs that target RUNX1 include miR-378 (Browne et al. 2016), miR-302b (Ge et al. 2014), miR-18a (Miao et al. 2015), miR-675 (Zhuang et al. 2014), miR-27a (Ben-Ami et al. 2009), miR-17, miR-20a, miR106 (Fontana et al. 2007) and miR-215 (Li et al. 2016).
At the posttranslational level, RUNX1 activity is regulated by postranslational modifications and binding to co-factors. SRC family kinases phosphorylate RUNX1 on multiple tyrosine residues in the negative regulatory domain, involved in autoinhibition of RUNX1. RUNX1 tyrosine phosphorylation correlates with reduced binding of RUNX1 to GATA1 and increased binding of RUNX1 to the SWI/SNF complex, leading to inhibition of RUNX1-mediated differentiation of T-cells and megakaryocytes. SHP2 (PTPN11) tyrosine phosphatase binds to RUNX1 and dephosphorylates it (Huang et al. 2012).
Formation of the complex with CBFB is necessary for the transcriptional activity of RUNX1 (Wang et al. 1996). Binding of CCND3 and probably other two cyclin D family members, CCND1 and CCND2, to RUNX1 inhibits its association with CBFB (Peterson et al. 2005), while binding to CDK6 interferes with binding of RUNX1 to DNA without affecting formation of the RUNX1:CBFB complex. Binding of RUNX1 to PML plays a role in subnuclear targeting of RUNX1 (Nguyen et al. 2005).
RUNX1 activity and protein levels vary during the cell cycle. RUNX1 protein levels increase from G1 to S and from S to G2 phases, with no increase in RUNX1 mRNA levels. CDK1-mediated phosphorylation of RUNX1 at the G2/M transition is implicated in reduction of RUNX1 transactivation potency and may promote RUNX1 protein degradation by the anaphase promoting complex (reviewed by Friedman 2009).