ARTICLE ABSTRACTThe AC133 epitope has been used as a marker for both normal and cancer stem cells from multiple tissue lineages. To identify transcription factors that regulate CD133 expression, we conducted parallel large-scale RNA interference screens in Caco-2 cancer cells that endogenously express CD133 and in engineered HEK293 cells that express CD133 from a heterologous promoter. The transcription factor AF4 was identified following a comparative analysis between the two screens. We then showed that AF4 is a promoter of CD133 transcription in multiple cancer cell lines. Knockdown of AF4 resulted in a dramatic reduction in CD133 transcript levels. Importantly, a subset of pediatric acute lymphoblastic leukemias (ALL) harbor a fusion oncogene results from a chromosomal translocation that juxtaposes the mixed-lineage leukemia (MLL) gene and the AF4 gene. An investigation of the functional role of CD133 in the MLL-AF4–dependent ALL cells revealed that CD133 was required for leukemia cell survival. Together, our findings show AF4-dependent regulation of CD133 expression, which is required for the growth of ALL cells. CD133 may therefore represent a therapeutic target in a subset of cancers. Cancer Res; 72(8); 1929–34. ©2012 AACR.