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BioMed Research International
Volume 2015 (2015), Article ID 347571, 17 pages
Review Article

The Roles of SNF2/SWI2 Nucleosome Remodeling Enzymes in Blood Cell Differentiation and Leukemia

Department of Biosciences and Nutrition, Karolinska Institute, 141 57 Huddinge, Sweden

Received 23 November 2014; Accepted 27 January 2015

Academic Editor: Andre Van Wijnen

Copyright © 2015 Punit Prasad et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Here, we review the role of sucrose nonfermenting (SNF2) family enzymes in blood cell development. The SNF2 family comprises helicase-like ATPases, originally discovered in yeast, that can remodel chromatin by changing chromatin structure and composition. The human genome encodes 30 different SNF2 enzymes. SNF2 family enzymes are often part of multisubunit chromatin remodeling complexes (CRCs), which consist of noncatalytic/auxiliary subunit along with the ATPase subunit. However, blood cells express a limited set of SNF2 ATPases that are necessary to maintain the pool of hematopoietic stem cells (HSCs) and drive normal blood cell development and differentiation. The composition of CRCs can be altered by the association of specific auxiliary subunits. Several auxiliary CRC subunits have specific functions in hematopoiesis. Aberrant expressions of SNF2 ATPases and/or auxiliary CRC subunit(s) are often observed in hematological malignancies. Using large-scale data from the International Cancer Genome Consortium (ICGC) we observed frequent mutations in genes encoding SNF2 helicase-like enzymes and auxiliary CRC subunits in leukemia. Hence, orderly function of SNF2 family enzymes is crucial for the execution of normal blood cell developmental program, and defects in chromatin remodeling caused by mutations or aberrant expression of these proteins may contribute to leukemogenesis.