[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The contribution of epigenomic alterations to tumour progression and relapse is not well characterized. Here we characterize an association between disease progression and DNA methylation in diffuse large B-cell lymphoma (DLBCL). By profiling genome-wide DNA methylation at single-base pair resolution in thirteen DLBCL diagnosis-relapse sample pairs, we show that DLBCL patients exhibit heterogeneous evolution of tumour methylomes during relapse. We identify differentially methylated regulatory elements and determine a relapse-associated methylation signature converging on key pathways such as transforming growth factor-β (TGF-β) receptor activity. We also observe decreased intra-tumour methylation heterogeneity from diagnosis to relapsed tumour samples. Relapse-free patients display lower intra-tumour methylation heterogeneity at diagnosis compared with relapsed patients in an independent validation cohort. Furthermore, intra-tumour methylation heterogeneity is predictive of time to relapse. Therefore, we propose that epigenomic heterogeneity may support or drive the relapse phenotype and can be used to predict DLBCL relapse.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: B cells are selected for an intermediate level of B-cell antigen receptor (BCR) signalling strength: attenuation below minimum (for example, non-functional BCR) or hyperactivation above maximum (for example, self-reactive BCR) thresholds of signalling strength causes negative selection. In ∼25% of cases, acute lymphoblastic leukaemia (ALL) cells carry the oncogenic BCR-ABL1 tyrosine kinase (Philadelphia chromosome positive), which mimics constitutively active pre-BCR signalling. Current therapeutic approaches are largely focused on the development of more potent tyrosine kinase inhibitors to suppress oncogenic signalling below a minimum threshold for survival. We tested the hypothesis that targeted hyperactivation-above a maximum threshold-will engage a deletional checkpoint for removal of self-reactive B cells and selectively kill ALL cells. Here we find, by testing various components of proximal pre-BCR signalling in mouse BCR-ABL1 cells, that an incremental increase of Syk tyrosine kinase activity was required and sufficient to induce cell death. Hyperactive Syk was functionally equivalent to acute activation of a self-reactive BCR on ALL cells. Despite oncogenic transformation, this basic mechanism of negative selection was still functional in ALL cells. Unlike normal pre-B cells, patient-derived ALL cells express the inhibitory receptors PECAM1, CD300A and LAIR1 at high levels. Genetic studies revealed that Pecam1, Cd300a and Lair1 are critical to calibrate oncogenic signalling strength through recruitment of the inhibitory phosphatases Ptpn6 (ref. 7) and Inpp5d (ref. 8). Using a novel small-molecule inhibitor of INPP5D (also known as SHIP1), we demonstrated that pharmacological hyperactivation of SYK and engagement of negative B-cell selection represents a promising new strategy to overcome drug resistance in human ALL.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Despite recent advances in the cure rate of acute lymphoblastic leukaemia (ALL), the prognosis for patients with relapsed ALL remains poor. Here we identify FOXM1 as a candidate responsible for an aggressive clinical course. We show that FOXM1 levels peak at the pre-B-cell receptor checkpoint but are dispensable for normal B-cell development. Compared with normal B-cell populations, FOXM1 levels are 2- to 60-fold higher in ALL cells and are predictive of poor outcome in ALL patients. FOXM1 is negatively regulated by FOXO3A, supports cell survival, drug resistance, colony formation and proliferation in vitro, and promotes leukemogenesis in vivo. Two complementary approaches of pharmacological FOXM1 inhibition-(i) FOXM1 transcriptional inactivation using the thiazole antibiotic thiostrepton and (ii) an FOXM1 inhibiting ARF-derived peptide-recapitulate the findings of genetic FOXM1 deletion. Taken together, our data identify FOXM1 as a novel therapeutic target, and demonstrate feasibility of FOXM1 inhibition in ALL.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: DNA methylation pattern mapping is heavily studied in normal and diseased tissues. A variety of methods have been established to interrogate the cytosine methylation patterns in cells. Reduced representation of whole genome bisulfite sequencing was developed to detect quantitative base pair resolution cytosine methylation patterns at GC-rich genomic loci. This is accomplished by combining the use of a restriction enzyme followed by bisulfite conversion. Enhanced Reduced Representation Bisulfite Sequencing (ERRBS) increases the biologically relevant genomic loci covered and has been used to profile cytosine methylation in DNA from human, mouse and other organisms. ERRBS initiates with restriction enzyme digestion of DNA to generate low molecular weight fragments for use in library preparation. These fragments are subjected to standard library construction for next generation sequencing. Bisulfite conversion of unmethylated cytosines prior to the final amplification step allows for quantitative base resolution of cytosine methylation levels in covered genomic loci. The protocol can be completed within four days. Despite low complexity in the first three bases sequenced, ERRBS libraries yield high quality data when using a designated sequencing control lane. Mapping and bioinformatics analysis is then performed and yields data that can be easily integrated with a variety of genome-wide platforms. ERRBS can utilize small input material quantities making it feasible to process human clinical samples and applicable in a range of research applications. The video produced demonstrates critical steps of the ERRBS protocol.
Journal of Visualized Experiments 02/2015; DOI:10.3791/52246
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Leukemia stem cells (LSCs) are found in most aggressive myeloid diseases and contribute to therapeutic resistance. Leukemia cells exhibit a dysregulated developmental program as the result of genetic and epigenetic alterations. Overexpression of the RNA-binding protein Musashi2 (MSI2) has been previously shown to predict poor survival in leukemia. Here, we demonstrated that conditional deletion of Msi2 in the hematopoietic compartment results in delayed leukemogenesis, reduced disease burden, and a loss of LSC function in a murine leukemia model. Gene expression profiling of these Msi2-deficient animals revealed a loss of the hematopoietic/leukemic stem cell self-renewal program and an increase in the differentiation program. In acute myeloid leukemia patients, the presence of a gene signature that was similar to that observed in Msi2-deficent murine LSCs correlated with improved survival. We determined that MSI2 directly maintains the mixed-lineage leukemia (MLL) self-renewal program by interacting with and retaining efficient translation of Hoxa9, Myc, and Ikzf2 mRNAs. Moreover, depletion of MLL target Ikzf2 in LSCs reduced colony formation, decreased proliferation, and increased apoptosis. Our data provide evidence that MSI2 controls efficient translation of the oncogenic LSC self-renewal program and suggest MSI2 as a potential therapeutic target for myeloid leukemia.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: PTPN11 encodes the Shp2 non-receptor protein-tyrosine phosphatase implicated in several signaling pathways. Activating mutations in Shp2 are commonly associated with juvenile myelomonocytic leukemia (JMML) but are not as well defined in other neoplasms. Here we report that Shp2 mutations occur in human acute myeloid leukemia (AML) at a rate of 6.6% (6/91) in the ECOG E1900 dataset. We examined the role of mutated Shp2 in leukemias harboring MLL translocations which co-occur in human AML. The hyperactive Shp2E76K mutant, commonly observed in leukemia patients, significantly accelerated MLL-AF9 mediated leukemogenesis in vivo. Shp2E76K increased leukemic stem cell frequency and affords MLL-AF9 leukemic cells IL3 cytokine hypersensitivity. As Shp2 is reported to regulate anti-apoptotic genes, we investigated Bcl2, Bcl-xL and Mcl1 expression in MLL-AF9 leukemic cells with and without Shp2E76K. While the Bcl2 family of genes was upregulated in Shp2E76K cells, Mcl1 showed the highest upregulation in MLL-AF9 cells in response to Shp2E76K. Indeed, expression of Mcl1 in MLL-AF9 cells phenocopies expression of Shp2E76K suggesting Shp2 mutations cooperate through activation of anti-apoptotic genes. Finally, we show Shp2E76K mutations reduce sensitivity of AML cells to small molecule mediated Mcl1 inhibition suggesting reduced efficacy of drugs targeting MCL1 in patients with hyperactive Shp2.Leukemia accepted article preview online, 04 February 2015. doi:10.1038/leu.2015.18.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: While analyzing the DNA methylome of multiple myeloma (MM), a plasma cell neoplasm, by whole-genome bisulfite sequencing and high-density arrays, we observed a highly heterogeneous pattern globally characterized by regional DNA hypermethylation embedded in extensive hypomethylation. In contrast to the widely reported DNA hypermethylation of promoter-associated CpG islands (CGIs) in cancer, hypermethylated sites in MM, as opposed to normal plasma cells, were located outside CpG islands and were unexpectedly associated with intronic enhancer regions defined in normal B cells and plasma cells. Both RNA-seq and in vitro reporter assays indicated that enhancer hypermethylation is globally associated with downregulation of its host genes. ChIP-seq and DNase-seq further revealed that DNA hypermethylation in these regions is related to enhancer decommissioning. Hypermethylated enhancer regions overlapped with binding sites of B cell-specific transcription factors (TFs) and the degree of enhancer methylation inversely correlated with expression levels of these TFs in MM. Furthermore, hypermethylated regions in MM were methylated in stem cells and gradually became demethylated during normal B-cell differentiation, suggesting that MM cells either reacquire epigenetic features of undifferentiated cells or maintain an epigenetic signature of a putative myeloma stem cell progenitor. Overall, we have identified DNA hypermethylation of developmentally-regulated enhancers as a new type of epigenetic modification associated with the pathogenesis of MM.
Published by Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Press.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: T-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia (T-ALL) is an aggressive form of leukemia that is mainly diagnosed in children and shows a skewed gender distribution towards males. Here, we report somatic loss-of-function mutations in the X-linked histone H3K27me3 demethylase UTX in human T-ALL. Interestingly, UTX mutations were exclusively present in male T-ALL patients and allelic expression analysis revealed that UTX escapes X-inactivation in female T-ALL lymphoblasts and normal T-cells. Notably, we demonstrate in vitro and in vivo that the H3K27me3 demethylase Utx functions as a bona fide tumor suppressor in T-ALL. Moreover, T-ALL driven by UTX inactivation exhibits collateral sensitivity to pharmacological H3K27me3 inhibition. All together, our results show how a gender-specific and therapeutically relevant defect in balancing H3K27 methylation contributes to T-cell leukemogenesis.