[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The identification of somatic activating mutations in JAK2 (refs 1–4) and in the thrombopoietin receptor gene (MPL) in most patients with myeloproliferative neoplasm (MPN) led to the clinical development of JAK2 kinase inhibitors. JAK2 inhibitor therapy improves MPN-associated splenomegaly and systemic symptoms but does not significantly decrease or eliminate the MPN clone in most patients with MPN. We therefore sought to characterize mechanisms by which MPN cells persist despite chronic inhibition of JAK2. Here we show that JAK2 inhibitor persistence is associated with reactivation of JAK–STAT signalling and with heterodimerization between activated JAK2 and JAK1 or TYK2, consistent with activation of JAK2 in trans by other JAK kinases. Further, this phenomenon is reversible: JAK2 inhibitor withdrawal is associated with resensitization to JAK2 kinase inhibitors and with reversible changes in JAK2 expression. We saw increased JAK2 heterodimerization and sustained JAK2 activation in cell lines, in murine models and in patients treated with JAK2 inhibitors. RNA interference and pharmacological studies show that JAK2-inhibitor-persistent cells remain dependent on JAK2 protein expression. Consequently, therapies that result in JAK2 degradation retain efficacy in persistent cells and may provide additional benefit to patients with JAK2-dependent malignancies treated with JAK2 inhibitors.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The Polycomb group protein Bmi1 is a transcriptional silencer of the Ink4a-Arf locus, which encodes the cell cycle regulator p16(Ink4a) and the tumor suppressor p19(Arf). Bmi1 plays a key role in oncogenesis and stem cell self-renewal. We report that phosphorylation of human Bmi1 at Ser(316) by Akt impaired its function by triggering its dissociation from the Ink4a-Arf locus, which resulted in decreased ubiquitylation of histone H2A and the inability of Bmi1 to promote cellular proliferation and tumor growth. Moreover, Akt-mediated phosphorylation of Bmi1 also inhibited its ability to promote self-renewal of hematopoietic stem and progenitor cells. Our study provides a mechanism for the increased abundance of p16(Ink4a) and p19(Arf) seen in cancer cells with an activated phosphoinositide 3-kinase to Akt signaling pathway and identifies crosstalk between phosphorylation events and chromatin structure.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The chromosomal translocations found in acute myelogenous leukemia (AML) generate oncogenic fusion transcription factors with aberrant transcriptional regulatory properties. Although therapeutic targeting of most leukemia fusion proteins remains elusive, the posttranslational modifications that control their function could be targetable. We found that AML1-ETO, the fusion protein generated by the t(8;21) translocation, is acetylated by the transcriptional coactivator p300 in leukemia cells isolated from t(8;21) AML patients, and that this acetylation is essential for its self-renewal-promoting effects in human cord blood CD34(+) cells and its leukemogenicity in mouse models. Inhibition of p300 abrogates the acetylation of AML1-ETO and impairs its ability to promote leukemic transformation. Thus, lysine acetyltransferases represent a potential therapeutic target in AML.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The JAK2V617F constitutively activated tyrosine kinase is found in most patients with myeloproliferative neoplasms. While examining the interaction between JAK2 and PRMT5, an arginine methyltransferase originally identified as JAK-binding protein 1, we found that JAK2V617F (and JAK2K539L) bound PRMT5 more strongly than did wild-type JAK2. These oncogenic kinases also acquired the ability to phosphorylate PRMT5, greatly impairing its ability to methylate its histone substrates, and representing a specific gain-of-function that allows them to regulate chromatin modifications. We readily detected PRMT5 phosphorylation in JAK2V617F-positive patient samples, and when we knocked down PRMT5 in human CD34+ cells using shRNA, we observed increased colony formation and erythroid differentiation. These results indicate that phosphorylation of PRMT5 contributes to the mutant JAK2-induced myeloproliferative phenotype.
Cancer cell 02/2011; 19(2):283-94. · 25.29 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: L3MBTL1, the human homolog of the Drosophila L(3)MBT polycomb group tumor suppressor gene, is located on chromosome 20q12, within the common deleted region identified in patients with 20q deletion-associated polycythemia vera, myelodysplastic syndrome, and acute myeloid leukemia. L3MBTL1 is expressed within hematopoietic CD34(+) cells; thus, it may contribute to the pathogenesis of these disorders. To define its role in hematopoiesis, we knocked down L3MBTL1 expression in primary hematopoietic stem/progenitor (ie, CD34(+)) cells isolated from human cord blood (using short hairpin RNAs) and observed an enhanced commitment to and acceleration of erythroid differentiation. Consistent with this effect, overexpression of L3MBTL1 in primary hematopoietic CD34(+) cells as well as in 20q- cell lines restricted erythroid differentiation. Furthermore, L3MBTL1 levels decrease during hemin-induced erythroid differentiation or erythropoietin exposure, suggesting a specific role for L3MBTL1 down-regulation in enforcing cell fate decisions toward the erythroid lineage. Indeed, L3MBTL1 knockdown enhanced the sensitivity of hematopoietic stem/progenitor cells to erythropoietin (Epo), with increased Epo-induced phosphorylation of STAT5, AKT, and MAPK as well as detectable phosphorylation in the absence of Epo. Our data suggest that haploinsufficiency of L3MBTL1 contributes to some (20q-) myeloproliferative neoplasms, especially polycythemia vera, by promoting erythroid differentiation.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: In this report we review the current knowledge of the interaction of RUNX1(AML1) with serine/threonine kinases, lysine and arginine methyltransferases, lysine acetyltransferases, and histone deacetylases. We also discuss the effect of RUNX1-ETO fusion gene on DNA methylation. RUNX1 post-transcriptional modification can affect its role in influencing differentiation and self-renewal of hematopoietic cells. The goal of these studies is to develop targets for improved leukemia therapy.