The gene that encodes de novo DNA methyltransferase 3A (DNMT3A) is frequently mutated in acute myeloid leukemia genomes. Point mutations at position R882 have been shown to cause a dominant negative loss of DNMT3A methylation activity, but 15% of DNMT3A mutations are predicted to produce truncated proteins that could either have dominant negative activities or cause loss of function and haploinsufficiency. Here, we demonstrate that 3 of these mutants produce truncated, inactive proteins that do not dimerize with WT DNMT3A, strongly supporting the haploinsufficiency hypothesis. We therefore evaluated hematopoiesis in mice heterozygous for a constitutive null Dnmt3a mutation. With no other manipulations, Dnmt3a+/– mice developed myeloid skewing over time, and their hematopoietic stem/progenitor cells exhibited a long-term competitive transplantation advantage. Dnmt3a+/– mice also spontaneously developed transplantable myeloid malignancies after a long latent period, and 3 of 12 tumors tested had cooperating mutations in the Ras/MAPK pathway. The residual Dnmt3a allele was neither mutated nor downregulated in these tumors. The bone marrow cells of Dnmt3a+/– mice had a subtle but statistically significant DNA hypomethylation phenotype that was not associated with gene dysregulation. These data demonstrate that haploinsufficiency for Dnmt3a alters hematopoiesis and predisposes mice (and probably humans) to myeloid malignancies by a mechanism that is not yet clear.
Christopher B. Cole, David A. Russler-Germain, Shamika Ketkar, Angela M. Verdoni, Amanda M. Smith, Celia V. Bangert, Nichole M. Helton, Mindy Guo, Jeffery M. Klco, Shelly O’Laughlin, Catrina Fronick, Robert Fulton, Gue Su Chang, Allegra A. Petti, Christopher A. Miller, Timothy J. Ley
Hematopoietic stem cells (HSCs) remain mostly quiescent under steady-state conditions but switch to a proliferative state following hematopoietic stress, e.g., bone marrow (BM) injury, transplantation, or systemic infection and inflammation. The homeostatic balance between quiescence, self-renewal, and differentiation of HSCs is strongly dependent on their interactions with cells that constitute a specialized microanatomical environment in the BM known as the HSC niche. Here, we identified the secreted extracellular matrix protein Del-1 as a component and regulator of the HSC niche. Specifically, we found that Del-1 was expressed by several cellular components of the HSC niche, including arteriolar endothelial cells, CXCL12-abundant reticular (CAR) cells, and cells of the osteoblastic lineage. Del-1 promoted critical functions of the HSC niche, as it regulated long-term HSC (LT-HSC) proliferation and differentiation toward the myeloid lineage. Del-1 deficiency in mice resulted in reduced LT-HSC proliferation and infringed preferentially upon myelopoiesis under both steady-state and stressful conditions, such as hematopoietic cell transplantation and G-CSF– or inflammation-induced stress myelopoiesis. Del-1–induced HSC proliferation and myeloid lineage commitment were mediated by β3 integrin on hematopoietic progenitors. This hitherto unknown Del-1 function in the HSC niche represents a juxtacrine homeostatic adaptation of the hematopoietic system in stress myelopoiesis.
Ioannis Mitroulis, Lan-Sun Chen, Rashim Pal Singh, Ioannis Kourtzelis, Matina Economopoulou, Tetsuhiro Kajikawa, Maria Troullinaki, Athanasios Ziogas, Klara Ruppova, Kavita Hosur, Tomoki Maekawa, Baomei Wang, Pallavi Subramanian, Torsten Tonn, Panayotis Verginis, Malte von Bonin, Manja Wobus, Martin Bornhäuser, Tatyana Grinenko, Marianna Di Scala, Andres Hidalgo, Ben Wielockx, George Hajishengallis, Triantafyllos Chavakis
Juvenile myelomonocytic leukemia (JMML) is a pediatric myeloproliferative neoplasm that bears distinct characteristics associated with abnormal fetal development. JMML has been extensively modeled in mice expressing the oncogenic KrasG12D mutation. However, these models have struggled to recapitulate the defining features of JMML due to in utero lethality, nonhematopoietic expression, and the pervasive emergence of T cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia. Here, we have developed a model of JMML using mice that express KrasG12D in multipotent progenitor cells (Flt3Cre+ KrasG12D mice). These mice express KrasG12D in utero, are born at normal Mendelian ratios, develop hepatosplenomegaly, anemia, and thrombocytopenia, and succumb to a rapidly progressing and fully penetrant neonatal myeloid disease. Mutant mice have altered hematopoietic stem and progenitor cell populations in the BM and spleen that are hypersensitive to granulocyte macrophage–CSF due to hyperactive RAS/ERK signaling. Biased differentiation in these progenitors results in an expansion of neutrophils and DCs and a concomitant decrease in T lymphocytes. Flt3Cre+ KrasG12D fetal liver hematopoietic progenitors give rise to a myeloid disease upon transplantation. In summary, we describe a KrasG12D mouse model that reproducibly develops JMML-like disease. This model will prove useful for preclinical drug studies and for elucidating the developmental origins of pediatric neoplasms.
Stefan P. Tarnawsky, Rebecca J. Chan, Mervin C. Yoder
Acute myelogenous leukemia (AML) frequently relapses after complete remission (CR), necessitating improved detection and phenotypic characterization of treatment-resistant residual disease. In this work, we have optimized droplet digital PCR to broadly measure mutated alleles of recurrently mutated genes in CR marrows of AML patients at levels as low as 0.002% variant allele frequency. Most gene mutations persisted in CR, albeit at highly variable and gene-dependent levels. The majority of AML cases demonstrated residual aberrant oligoclonal hematopoiesis. Importantly, we detected very rare cells (as few as 1 in 15,000) that were genomically similar to the dominant blast populations at diagnosis and were fully clonally represented at relapse, identifying these rare cells as one common source of AML relapse. Clinically, the mutant allele burden was associated with overall survival in AML, and our findings narrow the repertoire of gene mutations useful in minimal residual disease–based prognostication in AML. Overall, this work delineates rare cell populations that cause AML relapse, with direct implications for AML research directions and strategies to improve AML therapies and outcome.
Brian Parkin, Angelina Londoño-Joshi, Qing Kang, Muneesh Tewari, Andrew D. Rhim, Sami N. Malek
Obesity promotes a chronic inflammatory and hypercoagulable state that drives cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, fatty liver disease, and several cancers. Elevated thrombin activity underlies obesity-linked thromboembolic events, but the mechanistic links between the thrombin/fibrin(ogen) axis and obesity-associated pathologies are incompletely understood. In this work, immunohistochemical studies identified extravascular fibrin deposits within white adipose tissue and liver as distinct features of mice fed a high-fat diet (HFD) as well as obese patients. Fibγ390–396A mice carrying a mutant form of fibrinogen incapable of binding leukocyte αMβ2-integrin were protected from HFD-induced weight gain and elevated adiposity. Fibγ390–396A mice had markedly diminished systemic, adipose, and hepatic inflammation with reduced macrophage counts within white adipose tissue, as well as near-complete protection from development of fatty liver disease and glucose dysmetabolism. Homozygous thrombomodulin-mutant ThbdPro mice, which have elevated thrombin procoagulant function, gained more weight and developed exacerbated fatty liver disease when fed a HFD compared with WT mice. In contrast, treatment with dabigatran, a direct thrombin inhibitor, limited HFD-induced obesity development and suppressed progression of sequelae in mice with established obesity. Collectively, these data provide proof of concept that targeting thrombin or fibrin(ogen) may limit pathologies in obese patients.
Anna K. Kopec, Sara R. Abrahams, Sherry Thornton, Joseph S. Palumbo, Eric S. Mullins, Senad Divanovic, Hartmut Weiler, A. Phillip Owens III, Nigel Mackman, Ashley Goss, Joanne van Ryn, James P. Luyendyk, Matthew J. Flick
BACKGROUND. Ibrutinib has been shown to have immunomodulatory effects by inhibiting Bruton’s tyrosine kinase (BTK) and IL-2–inducible T cell kinase (ITK). The relative importance of inhibiting these 2 kinases has not been examined despite its relevance to immune-based therapies. METHODS. Peripheral blood mononuclear cells from chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) patients on clinical trials of ibrutinib (BTK/ITK inhibitor; n = 19) or acalabrutinib (selective BTK inhibitor; n = 13) were collected serially. T cell phenotype, immune function, and CLL cell immunosuppressive capacity were evaluated. RESULTS. Ibrutinib markedly increased CD4+ and CD8+ T cell numbers in CLL patients. This effect was more prominent in effector/effector memory subsets and was not observed with acalabrutinib. Ex vivo studies demonstrated that this may be due to diminished activation-induced cell death through ITK inhibition. PD-1 and CTLA-4 expression was significantly markedly reduced in T cells by both agents. While the number of Treg cells remained unchanged, the ratio of these to conventional CD4+ T cells was reduced with ibrutinib, but not acalabrutinib. Both agents reduced expression of the immunosuppressive molecules CD200 and BTLA as well as IL-10 production by CLL cells. CONCLUSIONS. Ibrutinib treatment increased the in vivo persistence of activated T cells, decreased the Treg/CD4+ T cell ratio, and diminished the immune-suppressive properties of CLL cells through BTK-dependent and -independent mechanisms. These features provide a strong rationale for combination immunotherapy approaches with ibrutinib in CLL and other cancers. TRIAL REGISTRATION. ClinicalTrials.gov NCT01589302 and NCT02029443. Samples described here were collected per OSU-0025. FUNDING. The National Cancer Institute.
Meixiao Long, Kyle Beckwith, Priscilla Do, Bethany L. Mundy, Amber Gordon, Amy M. Lehman, Kami J. Maddocks, Carolyn Cheney, Jeffrey A. Jones, Joseph M. Flynn, Leslie A. Andritsos, Farrukh Awan, Joseph A. Fraietta, Carl H. June, Marcela V. Maus, Jennifer A. Woyach, Michael A. Caligiuri, Amy J. Johnson, Natarajan Muthusamy, John C. Byrd
The lack of mechanistic explanations for many genotype-phenotype associations identified by GWAS precludes thorough assessment of their impact on human health. Here, we conducted an expression quantitative trait locus (eQTL) mapping analysis in erythroblasts and found erythroid-specific eQTLs for ATP2B4, the main calcium ATPase of red blood cells (rbc). The same SNPs were previously associated with mean corpuscular hemoglobin concentration (MCHC) and susceptibility to severe malaria infection. We showed that Atp2b4–/– mice demonstrate increased MCHC, confirming ATP2B4 as the causal gene at this GWAS locus. Using CRISPR-Cas9, we fine mapped the genetic signal to an erythroid-specific enhancer of ATP2B4. Erythroid cells with a deletion of the ATP2B4 enhancer had abnormally high intracellular calcium levels. These results illustrate the power of combined transcriptomic, epigenomic, and genome-editing approaches in characterizing noncoding regulatory elements in phenotype-relevant cells. Our study supports ATP2B4 as a potential target for modulating rbc hydration in erythroid disorders and malaria infection.
Samuel Lessard, Emily Stern Gatof, Mélissa Beaudoin, Patrick G. Schupp, Falak Sher, Adnan Ali, Sukhpal Prehar, Ryo Kurita, Yukio Nakamura, Esther Baena, Jonathan Ledoux, Delvac Oceandy, Daniel E. Bauer, Guillaume Lettre
Angioimmunoblastic T cell lymphoma (AITL) represents a distinct, aggressive form of peripheral T cell lymphoma with a dismal prognosis. Recent exome sequencing in patients with AITL has revealed the frequent coexistence of somatic mutations in the Rho GTPase RhoA (RhoAG17V) and loss-of-function mutations in the 5-methylcytosine oxidase TET2. Here, we have demonstrated that TET2 loss and RhoAG17V expression in mature murine T cells cooperatively cause abnormal CD4+ T cell proliferation and differentiation by perturbing FoxO1 gene expression, phosphorylation, and subcellular localization, an abnormality that is also detected in human primary AITL tumor samples. Reexpression of FoxO1 attenuated aberrant immune responses induced in mouse models adoptively transferred with T cells and bearing genetic lesions in both TET2 and RhoA. Our findings suggest a mutational cooperativity between epigenetic factors and GTPases in adult CD4+ T cells that may account for immunoinflammatory responses associated with AITL patients.
Shengbing Zang, Jia Li, Haiyan Yang, Hongxiang Zeng, Wei Han, Jixiang Zhang, Minjung Lee, Margie Moczygemba, Sevinj Isgandarova, Yaling Yang, Yubin Zhou, Anjana Rao, M. James You, Deqiang Sun, Yun Huang
Runt-related transcription factor 1 (RUNX1) is generally considered to function as a tumor suppressor in the development of leukemia, but a growing body of evidence suggests that it has pro-oncogenic properties in acute myeloid leukemia (AML). Here we have demonstrated that the antileukemic effect mediated by RUNX1 depletion is highly dependent on a functional p53-mediated cell death pathway. Increased expression of other RUNX family members, including RUNX2 and RUNX3, compensated for the antitumor effect elicited by RUNX1 silencing, and simultaneous attenuation of all RUNX family members as a cluster led to a much stronger antitumor effect relative to suppression of individual RUNX members. Switching off the RUNX cluster using alkylating agent–conjugated pyrrole-imidazole (PI) polyamides, which were designed to specifically bind to consensus RUNX-binding sequences, was highly effective against AML cells and against several poor-prognosis solid tumors in a xenograft mouse model of AML without notable adverse events. Taken together, these results identify a crucial role for the RUNX cluster in the maintenance and progression of cancer cells and suggest that modulation of the RUNX cluster using the PI polyamide gene-switch technology is a potential strategy to control malignancies.
Ken Morita, Kensho Suzuki, Shintaro Maeda, Akihiko Matsuo, Yoshihide Mitsuda, Chieko Tokushige, Gengo Kashiwazaki, Junichi Taniguchi, Rina Maeda, Mina Noura, Masahiro Hirata, Tatsuki Kataoka, Ayaka Yano, Yoshimi Yamada, Hiroki Kiyose, Mayu Tokumasu, Hidemasa Matsuo, Sunao Tanaka, Yasushi Okuno, Manabu Muto, Kazuhito Naka, Kosei Ito, Toshio Kitamura, Yasufumi Kaneda, Paul P. Liu, Toshikazu Bando, Souichi Adachi, Hiroshi Sugiyama, Yasuhiko Kamikubo
Hematopoietic transitions that accompany fetal development, such as erythroid globin chain switching, play important roles in normal physiology and disease development. In the megakaryocyte lineage, human fetal progenitors do not execute the adult morphogenesis program of enlargement, polyploidization, and proplatelet formation. Although these defects decline with gestational stage, they remain sufficiently severe at birth to predispose newborns to thrombocytopenia. These defects may also contribute to inferior platelet recovery after cord blood stem cell transplantation and may underlie inefficient platelet production by megakaryocytes derived from pluripotent stem cells. In this study, comparison of neonatal versus adult human progenitors has identified a blockade in the specialized positive transcription elongation factor b (P-TEFb) activation mechanism that is known to drive adult megakaryocyte morphogenesis. This blockade resulted from neonatal-specific expression of an oncofetal RNA-binding protein, IGF2BP3, which prevented the destabilization of the nuclear RNA 7SK, a process normally associated with adult megakaryocytic P-TEFb activation. Knockdown of IGF2BP3 sufficed to confer both phenotypic and molecular features of adult-type cells on neonatal megakaryocytes. Pharmacologic inhibition of IGF2BP3 expression via bromodomain and extraterminal domain (BET) inhibition also elicited adult features in neonatal megakaryocytes. These results identify IGF2BP3 as a human ontogenic master switch that restricts megakaryocyte development by modulating a lineage-specific P-TEFb activation mechanism, revealing potential strategies toward enhancing platelet production.
Kamaleldin E. Elagib, Chih-Huan Lu, Goar Mosoyan, Shadi Khalil, Ewelina Zasadzińska, Daniel R. Foltz, Peter Balogh, Alejandro A. Gru, Deborah A. Fuchs, Lisa M. Rimsza, Els Verhoeyen, Miriam Sansó, Robert P. Fisher, Camelia Iancu-Rubin, Adam N. Goldfarb