The transcription factor PU.1 is often impaired in patients with acute myeloid leukemia (AML). Here, we used AML cells that already had low PU.1 levels and further inhibited PU.1 using either RNA interference or, to our knowledge, first-in-class small-molecule inhibitors of PU.1 that we developed specifically to allosterically interfere with PU.1-chromatin binding through interaction with the DNA minor groove that flanks PU.1-binding motifs. These small molecules of the heterocyclic diamidine family disrupted the interaction of PU.1 with target gene promoters and led to downregulation of canonical PU.1 transcriptional targets. shRNA or small-molecule inhibition of PU.1 in AML cells from either PU.1lo mutant mice or human patients with AML-inhibited cell growth and clonogenicity and induced apoptosis. In murine and human AML (xeno)transplantation models, treatment with our PU.1 inhibitors decreased tumor burden and resulted in increased survival. Thus, our study provides proof of concept that PU.1 inhibition has potential as a therapeutic strategy for the treatment of AML and for the development of small-molecule inhibitors of PU.1.
Iléana Antony-Debré, Ananya Paul, Joana Leite, Kelly Mitchell, Hye Mi Kim, Luis A. Carvajal, Tihomira I. Todorova, Kenneth Huang, Arvind Kumar, Abdelbasset A. Farahat, Boris Bartholdy, Swathi-Rao Narayanagari, Jiahao Chen, Alberto Ambesi-Impiombato, Adolfo A. Ferrando, Ioannis Mantzaris, Evripidis Gavathiotis, Amit Verma, Britta Will, David W. Boykin, W. David Wilson, Gregory M.K. Poon, Ulrich Steidl
Apoptosis delimits platelet life span in the circulation and leads to storage lesion, which severely limits the shelf life of stored platelets. Moreover, accumulating evidence indicates that platelet apoptosis provoked by various pathological stimuli results in thrombocytopenia in many common diseases. However, little is known about how platelet apoptosis is initiated or regulated. Here, we show that PKA activity is markedly reduced in platelets aged in vitro, stored platelets, and platelets from patients with immune thrombocytopenia (ITP), diabetes, and bacterial infections. Inhibition or genetic ablation of PKA provoked intrinsic programmed platelet apoptosis in vitro and rapid platelet clearance in vivo. PKA inhibition resulted in dephosphorylation of the proapoptotic protein BAD at Ser155, resulting in sequestration of prosurvival protein BCL-XL in mitochondria and subsequent apoptosis. Notably, PKA activation protected platelets from apoptosis induced by storage or pathological stimuli and elevated peripheral platelet levels in normal mice and in a murine model of ITP. Therefore, these findings identify PKA as a homeostatic regulator of platelet apoptosis that determines platelet life span and survival. Furthermore, these results suggest that regulation of PKA activity represents a promising strategy for extending platelet shelf life and has profound implications for the treatment of platelet number-related diseases and disorders.
Lili Zhao, Jun Liu, Chunyan He, Rong Yan, Kangxi Zhou, Qingya Cui, Xingjun Meng, Xiaodong Li, Yang Zhang, Yumei Nie, Yang Zhang, Renping Hu, Yancai Liu, Lian Zhao, Mengxing Chen, Weiling Xiao, Jingluan Tian, Yunxiao Zhao, Lijuan Cao, Ling Zhou, Anning Lin, Changgeng Ruan, Kesheng Dai
Angiocrine factors, such as Notch ligands, supplied by the specialized endothelial cells (ECs) within the bone marrow and splenic vascular niche play an essential role in modulating the physiology of adult hematopoietic stem and progenitor cells (HSPCs). However, the relative contribution of various Notch ligands, specifically jagged-2, to the homeostasis of HSPCs is unknown. Here, we show that under steady state, jagged-2 is differentially expressed in tissue-specific vascular beds, but its expression is induced in hematopoietic vascular niches after myelosuppressive injury. We used mice with EC-specific deletion of the gene encoding jagged-2 (Jag2) to demonstrate that while EC-derived jagged-2 was dispensable for maintaining the capacity of HSPCs to repopulate under steady-state conditions, by activating Notch2 it did contribute to the recovery of HSPCs in response to myelosuppressive conditions. Engraftment and/or expansion of HSPCs was dependent on the expression of endothelial-derived jagged-2 following myeloablation. Additionally, jagged-2 expressed in bone marrow ECs regulated HSPC cell cycle and quiescence during regeneration. Endothelial-deployed jagged-2 triggered Notch2/Hey1, while tempering Notch2/Hes1 signaling in HSPCs. Collectively, these data demonstrate that EC-derived jagged-2 activates Notch2 signaling in HSPCs to promote hematopoietic recovery and has potential as a therapeutic target to accelerate balanced hematopoietic reconstitution after myelosuppression.
Peipei Guo, Michael G. Poulos, Brisa Palikuqi, Chaitanya R. Badwe, Raphael Lis, Balvir Kunar, Bi-Sen Ding, Sina Y. Rabbany, Koji Shido, Jason M. Butler, Shahin Rafii
Shwachman-Diamond syndrome (SDS) (OMIM #260400) is a rare inherited bone marrow failure syndrome (IBMFS) that is primarily characterized by neutropenia and exocrine pancreatic insufficiency. Seventy-five to ninety percent of patients have compound heterozygous loss-of-function mutations in the Shwachman-Bodian-Diamond syndrome (sbds) gene. Using trio whole-exome sequencing (WES) in an sbds-negative SDS family and candidate gene sequencing in additional SBDS-negative SDS cases or molecularly undiagnosed IBMFS cases, we identified 3 independent patients, each of whom carried a de novo missense variant in srp54 (encoding signal recognition particle 54 kDa). These 3 patients shared congenital neutropenia linked with various other SDS phenotypes. 3D protein modeling revealed that the 3 variants affect highly conserved amino acids within the GTPase domain of the protein that are critical for GTP and receptor binding. Indeed, we observed that the GTPase activity of the mutated proteins was impaired. The level of SRP54 mRNA in the bone marrow was 3.6-fold lower in patients with SRP54-mutations than in healthy controls. Profound reductions in neutrophil counts and chemotaxis as well as a diminished exocrine pancreas size in a SRP54-knockdown zebrafish model faithfully recapitulated the human phenotype. In conclusion, autosomal dominant mutations in SRP54, a key member of the cotranslation protein-targeting pathway, lead to syndromic neutropenia with a Shwachman-Diamond–like phenotype.
Raphael Carapito, Martina Konantz, Catherine Paillard, Zhichao Miao, Angélique Pichot, Magalie S. Leduc, Yaping Yang, Katie L. Bergstrom, Donald H. Mahoney, Deborah L. Shardy, Ghada Alsaleh, Lydie Naegely, Aline Kolmer, Nicodème Paul, Antoine Hanauer, Véronique Rolli, Joëlle S. Müller, Elisa Alghisi, Loïc Sauteur, Cécile Macquin, Aurore Morlon, Consuelo Sebastia Sancho, Patrizia Amati-Bonneau, Vincent Procaccio, Anne-Laure Mosca-Boidron, Nathalie Marle, Naël Osmani, Olivier Lefebvre, Jacky G. Goetz, Sule Unal, Nurten A. Akarsu, Mirjana Radosavljevic, Marie-Pierre Chenard, Fanny Rialland, Audrey Grain, Marie-Christine Béné, Marion Eveillard, Marie Vincent, Julien Guy, Laurence Faivre, Christel Thauvin-Robinet, Julien Thevenon, Kasiani Myers, Mark D. Fleming, Akiko Shimamura, Elodie Bottollier-Lemallaz, Eric Westhof, Claudia Lengerke, Bertrand Isidor, Seiamak Bahram
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
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