Daniel C Link

Washington University in St. Louis, San Luis, Missouri, United States

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Publications (110)1302.45 Total impact

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    ABSTRACT: Therapy-related acute myeloid leukaemia (t-AML) and therapy-related myelodysplastic syndrome (t-MDS) are well-recognized complications of cytotoxic chemotherapy and/or radiotherapy. There are several features that distinguish t-AML from de novo AML, including a higher incidence of TP53 mutations, abnormalities of chromosomes 5 or 7, complex cytogenetics and a reduced response to chemotherapy. However, it is not clear how prior exposure to cytotoxic therapy influences leukaemogenesis. In particular, the mechanism by which TP53 mutations are selectively enriched in t-AML/t-MDS is unknown. Here, by sequencing the genomes of 22 patients with t-AML, we show that the total number of somatic single-nucleotide variants and the percentage of chemotherapy-related transversions are similar in t-AML and de novo AML, indicating that previous chemotherapy does not induce genome-wide DNA damage. We identified four cases of t-AML/t-MDS in which the exact TP53 mutation found at diagnosis was also present at low frequencies (0.003-0.7%) in mobilized blood leukocytes or bone marrow 3-6 years before the development of t-AML/t-MDS, including two cases in which the relevant TP53 mutation was detected before any chemotherapy. Moreover, functional TP53 mutations were identified in small populations of peripheral blood cells of healthy chemotherapy-naive elderly individuals. Finally, in mouse bone marrow chimaeras containing both wild-type and Tp53(+/-) haematopoietic stem/progenitor cells (HSPCs), the Tp53(+/-) HSPCs preferentially expanded after exposure to chemotherapy. These data suggest that cytotoxic therapy does not directly induce TP53 mutations. Rather, they support a model in which rare HSPCs carrying age-related TP53 mutations are resistant to chemotherapy and expand preferentially after treatment. The early acquisition of TP53 mutations in the founding HSPC clone probably contributes to the frequent cytogenetic abnormalities and poor responses to chemotherapy that are typical of patients with t-AML/t-MDS.
    Nature 12/2014; · 38.60 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Mutations in the gene for neutrophil elastase, ELANE, cause cyclic neutropenia (CyN) and severe congenital neutropenia (SCN). This study summarized data from the Severe Chronic Neutropenia International Registry (SCNIR) on genotype-phenotype relationships of ELANE mutations to important clinical outcomes. We also summarize findings for ELANE mutations not observed in SCNIR patients. There were 307 SCNIR patients with 104 distinctive ELANE mutations who were followed longitudinally for up to 27 years. The ELANE mutations were diverse; there were 65 single amino acid substitutions; 61 of these mutations (94%) were 'probably' or 'possibly damaging' by PolyPhen-2 analysis, and one of the 'benign' mutations was associated with two cases of acute myeloid leukemia (AML). All frame-shift mutations (19/19) were associated with the SCN. The pattern of mutations in the SCN versus CyN was significantly different (P < 10), but some mutations were observed in both groups (overlapping mutations). The cumulative incidence of severe adverse events, that is, myelodysplasia, AML, stem cell transplantation, or deaths was significantly greater for patients with SCN versus those with CyN or overlapping mutations. Specific mutations (i.e. G214R or C151Y) had a high risk for evolution to AML. Sequencing is useful for predicting outcomes of ELANE-associated neutropenia.
    Current opinion in hematology. 11/2014;
  • Ryan B Day, Daniel C Link
    Nature medicine. 11/2014; 20(11):1233-1234.
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    ABSTRACT: The contribution of osteoclasts to hematopoietic stem/progenitor cell (HSPC) retention in the bone marrow is controversial. Studies of HSPC trafficking in osteoclast-deficient mice are limited by osteopetrosis. Here, we employed two non-osteopetrotic mouse models to assess the contribution of osteoclasts to basal and granulocyte colony-stimulating factor (G-CSF) induced HSPC mobilization. We generated Rank-/- fetal liver chimeras using Csf3r-/- recipients to produce mice lacking G-CSF receptor expression in osteoclasts. Basal and G-CSF-induced HSPC mobilization was normal in these chimeras. We next acutely depleted osteoclasts in wild-type mice using the RANK ligand inhibitor osteoprotegerin (OPG). Marked suppression of osteoclasts was observed after a single injection of OPG-Fc. Basal and G-CSF-induced HSPC mobilization in OPG-Fc treated mice were comparable to control mice. Together, these data show that osteoclasts are not required for the efficient retention of HSPCs in the bone marrow and are dispensable for HSPC mobilization by G-CSF.
    Experimental Hematology. 11/2014;
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    ABSTRACT: Apoptosis and the DNA damage response have been implicated in hematopoietic development and differentiation, as well as in the pathogenesis of myelodysplastic syndromes (MDS) and leukemia. However, the importance of late-stage mediators of apoptosis in hematopoiesis and leukemogenesis has not been elucidated. Here, we examine the role of Caspase-9, the initiator caspase of the intrinsic apoptotic cascade, in murine fetal and adult hematopoiesis. Casp9 deficiency resulted in decreased erythroid and B-cell progenitor abundance and impaired function of hematopoietic stem cells after transplantation. Mouse bone marrow chimeras lacking Casp9 or its cofactor Apaf1 developed low white blood cell counts, decreased B cell numbers, anemia, and reduced survival. Defects in apoptosis have also been previously implicated in susceptibility to therapy-related leukemia, a disease caused by exposure to DNA-damaging chemotherapy. We found that the burden of DNA damage was increased in Casp9 deficient cells after exposure to the alkylator, N-ethyl-nitrosourea (ENU). Furthermore, exome sequencing revealed that oligoclonal hematopoiesis emerged in Casp9 deficient bone marrow chimeras after alkylator exposure. Taken together, these findings suggest that defects in apoptosis could be a key step in the pathogenesis of alkylator-associated secondary malignancies.
    Blood 10/2014; · 9.78 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Several genetic alterations characteristic of leukemia and lymphoma have been detected in the blood of individuals without apparent hematological malignancies. The Cancer Genome Atlas (TCGA) provides a unique resource for comprehensive discovery of mutations and genes in blood that may contribute to the clonal expansion of hematopoietic stem/progenitor cells. Here, we analyzed blood-derived sequence data from 2,728 individuals from TCGA and discovered 77 blood-specific mutations in cancer-associated genes, the majority being associated with advanced age. Remarkably, 83% of these mutations were from 19 leukemia and/or lymphoma-associated genes, and nine were recurrently mutated (DNMT3A, TET2, JAK2, ASXL1, TP53, GNAS, PPM1D, BCORL1 and SF3B1). We identified 14 additional mutations in a very small fraction of blood cells, possibly representing the earliest stages of clonal expansion in hematopoietic stem cells. Comparison of these findings to mutations in hematological malignancies identified several recurrently mutated genes that may be disease initiators. Our analyses show that the blood cells of more than 2% of individuals (5-6% of people older than 70 years) contain mutations that may represent premalignant events that cause clonal hematopoietic expansion.
    Nature medicine. 10/2014;
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    ABSTRACT: Next-generation sequencing has been used to infer the clonality of heterogeneous tumor samples. These analyses yield specific predictions-the population frequency of individual clones, their genetic composition, and their evolutionary relationships-which we set out to test by sequencing individual cells from three subjects diagnosed with secondary acute myeloid leukemia, each of whom had been previously characterized by whole genome sequencing of unfractionated tumor samples. Single-cell mutation profiling strongly supported the clonal architecture implied by the analysis of bulk material. In addition, it resolved the clonal assignment of single nucleotide variants that had been initially ambiguous and identified areas of previously unappreciated complexity. Accordingly, we find that many of the key assumptions underlying the analysis of tumor clonality by deep sequencing of unfractionated material are valid. Furthermore, we illustrate a single-cell sequencing strategy for interrogating the clonal relationships among known variants that is cost-effective, scalable, and adaptable to the analysis of both hematopoietic and solid tumors, or any heterogeneous population of cells.
    PLoS Genetics 07/2014; 10(7):e1004462. · 8.52 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The inherited bone marrow failure syndromes are a diverse group of genetic diseases associated with inadequate production of one or more blood cell lineages. Examples include Fanconi anemia, dyskeratosis congenita, Diamond-Blackfan anemia, thrombocytopenia absent radii syndrome, severe congenital neutropenia, and Shwachman-Diamond syndrome. The management of these disorders was once the exclusive domain of pediatric subspecialists, but increasingly physicians who care for adults are being called upon to diagnose or treat these conditions. Through a series of patient vignettes, we highlight the clinical manifestations of inherited bone marrow failure syndromes in adolescents and young adults. The diagnostic and therapeutic challenges posed by these diseases are discussed.
    Annals of medicine. 06/2014;
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    ABSTRACT: Pancreatic cancer (PC) mobilizes myeloid cells from the bone marrow to the tumor where they promote tumor growth and proliferation. Cancer stem cells (CSCs) are a population of tumor cells that are responsible for tumor initiation. Aldehyde dehydrogenase-1 activity in PC identifies CSCs, and its activity has been correlated with poor overall prognosis in human PC. Myeloid cells have been shown to impact tumor stemness, but the impact of immunosuppressive tumor-infiltrating granulocytic and monocytic myeloid-derived suppressor cells (Mo-MDSC) on ALDH1(Bright) CSCs and epithelial to mesenchymal transition is not well understood. In this study, we demonstrate that Mo-MDSC (CD11b(+)/Gr1(+)/Ly6G(-)/Ly6C(hi)) significantly increase the frequency of ALDH1(Bright) CSCs in a mouse model of PC. Additionally, there was significant upregulation of genes associated with epithelial to mesenchymal transition. We also found that human PC converts CD14(+) peripheral blood monocytes into Mo-MDSC (CD14(+)/HLA-DR(low/-)) in vitro, and this transformation is dependent on the activation of the STAT3 pathway. In turn, these Mo-MDSC increase the frequency of ALDH1(Bright) CSCs and promote mesenchymal features of tumor cells. Finally, blockade of STAT3 activation reversed the increase in ALDH1(Bright) CSCs. These data suggest that the PC tumor microenvironment transforms monocytes to Mo-MDSC by STAT3 activation, and these cells increase the frequency of ALDH1(Bright) CSCs. Therefore, targeting STAT3 activation may be an effective therapeutic strategy in targeting CSCs in PC.
    Cancer Immunology and Immunotherapy 03/2014; · 3.64 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The relationships between clonal architecture and functional heterogeneity in acute myeloid leukemia (AML) samples are not yet clear. We used targeted sequencing to track AML subclones identified by whole-genome sequencing using a variety of experimental approaches. We found that virtually all AML subclones trafficked from the marrow to the peripheral blood, but some were enriched in specific cell populations. Subclones showed variable engraftment potential in immunodeficient mice. Xenografts were predominantly comprised of a single genetically defined subclone, but there was no predictable relationship between the engrafting subclone and the evolutionary hierarchy of the leukemia. These data demonstrate the importance of integrating genetic and functional data in studies of primary cancer samples, both in xenograft models and in patients.
    Cancer cell 03/2014; · 25.29 Impact Factor
  • Bryan A Anthony, Daniel C Link
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    ABSTRACT: Hematopoietic stem cells (HSCs) reside in specialized microenvironments (niches) in the bone marrow. The stem cell niche is thought to provide signals that support key HSC properties, including self-renewal capacity and long-term multilineage repopulation ability. The stromal cells that comprise the stem cell niche and the signals that they generate that support HSC function are the subjects of intense investigation. Here, we review the complex and diverse stromal cell populations that reside in the bone marrow and examine their contribution to HSC maintenance. We highlight recent data suggesting that perivascular chemokine CXC ligand (CXCL)12-expressing mesenchymal progenitors and endothelial cells are key cellular components of the stem cell niche in the bone marrow.
    Trends in Immunology 11/2013; · 9.49 Impact Factor
  • Laura M Calvi, Daniel C Link
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    ABSTRACT: The skeleton serves as the principal site for hematopoiesis in adult terrestrial vertebrates. The function of the hematopoietic system is to maintain homeostatic levels of all circulating blood cells, including myeloid cells, lymphoid cells, red blood cells, and platelets. This action requires the daily production of more than 500 billion blood cells. The vast majority of these cells are synthesized in the bone marrow, where they arise from a limited number of hematopoietic stem cells (HSCs) that are multipotent and capable of extensive self-renewal. These attributes of HSCs are best demonstrated by marrow transplantation, where even a single HSC can repopulate the entire hematopoietic system. HSCs are therefore adult stem cells capable of multilineage repopulation, poised between cell fate choices which include quiescence, self-renewal, differentiation, and apoptosis. While HSC fate choices are in part determined by multiple stochastic fluctuations of cell autonomous processes, according to the niche hypothesis, signals from the microenvironment are also likely to determine stem cell fate. While it had long been postulated that signals within the bone marrow could provide regulation of hematopoietic cells, it is only in the past decade that advances in flow cytometry and genetic models have allowed for a deeper understanding of the microenvironmental regulation of HSCs. In this review, we will highlight the cellular regulatory components of the HSC niche.
    Calcified Tissue International 10/2013; · 2.75 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Altered microRNA (miRNA) expression is frequently observed in acute myelogenous leukemia (AML) and has been implicated in leukemic transformation. Whether somatic copy number alterations (CNAs) are a frequent cause of altered miRNA gene expression is largely unknown. Herein, we used comparative genomic hybridization using a custom high-resolution miRNA-centric array and/or whole genome sequence data to identify somatic CNAs involving miRNA genes in 113 cases of AML, including 50 cases of de novo AML, 18 cases of relapsed AML, 15 cases of secondary AML following myelodysplastic syndrome, and 30 cases of therapy-related AML. We identified a total of 48 somatic miRNA gene containing CNAs that were not identified by routine cytogenetics in 20 patients (18%). All these CNAs also included one or more protein coding genes. We identified a single case with a hemizygous deletion of MIR223, resulting in the complete loss of miR-223 expression. Three other cases of AML were identified with very low to absent miR-223 expression, a miRNA gene know to play a key role in myelopoiesis. However, in these cases, no somatic genetic alteration of MIR223 was identified, suggesting epigenetic silencing. These data show that somatic CNAs specifically targeting miRNA genes are uncommon in AML.
    Blood 09/2013; · 9.78 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Recent studies suggest that most cases of myelodysplastic syndrome (MDS) are clonally heterogeneous, with a founding clone and multiple subclones. It is not known whether specific gene mutations typically occur in founding clones or subclones. We screened a panel of 94 candidate genes in a cohort of 157 patients with MDS or secondary acute myeloid leukemia (sAML). This included 150 cases with samples obtained at MDS diagnosis and 15 cases with samples obtained at sAML transformation (8 were also analyzed at the MDS stage). We performed whole genome sequencing (WGS) to define the clonal architecture in 8 sAML genomes and identified the range of variant allele frequencies (VAFs) for founding clone mutations. At least one mutation or cytogenetic abnormality was detected in 83% of the 150 MDS patients and 17 genes were significantly mutated with an FDR 0.05. Individual genes and patient samples displayed a wide range of VAFs for recurrently mutated genes, indicating that no single gene is exclusively mutated in the founding clone. The VAFs of recurrently mutated genes did not fully recapitulate the clonal architecture defined by WGS, suggesting that comprehensive sequencing may be required to accurately assess the clonal status of recurrently mutated genes in MDS.Leukemia accepted article preview online, 27 February 2013; doi:10.1038/leu.2013.58.
    Leukemia: official journal of the Leukemia Society of America, Leukemia Research Fund, U.K 02/2013; · 10.16 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Haematopoietic stem cells (HSCs) primarily reside in the bone marrow where signals generated by stromal cells regulate their self-renewal, proliferation and trafficking. Endosteal osteoblasts and perivascular stromal cells including endothelial cells, CXCL12-abundant reticular cells, leptin-receptor-positive stromal cells, and nestin-green fluorescent protein (GFP)-positive mesenchymal progenitors have all been implicated in HSC maintenance. However, it is unclear whether specific haematopoietic progenitor cell (HPC) subsets reside in distinct niches defined by the surrounding stromal cells and the regulatory molecules they produce. CXCL12 (chemokine (C-X-C motif) ligand 12) regulates both HSCs and lymphoid progenitors and is expressed by all of these stromal cell populations. Here we selectively deleted Cxcl12 from candidate niche stromal cell populations and characterized the effect on HPCs. Deletion of Cxcl12 from mineralizing osteoblasts has no effect on HSCs or lymphoid progenitors. Deletion of Cxcl12 from osterix-expressing stromal cells, which include CXCL12-abundant reticular cells and osteoblasts, results in constitutive HPC mobilization and a loss of B-lymphoid progenitors, but HSC function is normal. Cxcl12 deletion from endothelial cells results in a modest loss of long-term repopulating activity. Strikingly, deletion of Cxcl12 from nestin-negative mesenchymal progenitors using Prx1-cre (Prx1 also known as Prrx1) is associated with a marked loss of HSCs, long-term repopulating activity, HSC quiescence and common lymphoid progenitors. These data suggest that osterix-expressing stromal cells comprise a distinct niche that supports B-lymphoid progenitors and retains HPCs in the bone marrow, and that expression of CXCL12 from stromal cells in the perivascular region, including endothelial cells and mesenchymal progenitors, supports HSCs.
    Nature 02/2013; · 38.60 Impact Factor
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    Laura G Schuettpelz, Daniel C Link
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    ABSTRACT: Hematopoietic stem cells (HSCs) are quiescent cells with self-renewal capacity and the ability to generate all mature blood cells. HSCs normally reside in specialized niches in the bone marrow that help maintain their quiescence and long-term repopulating activity. There is emerging evidence that certain cytokines induced during inflammation have significant effects on HSCs in the bone marrow. Type I and II interferons, tumor necrosis factor, and lipopolysaccharide (LPS) directly stimulate HSC proliferation and differentiation, thereby increasing the short-term output of mature effector leukocytes. However, chronic inflammatory cytokine signaling can lead to HSC exhaustion and may contribute the development of hematopoietic malignancies. Pro-inflammatory cytokines such as G-CSF can also indirectly affect HSCs by altering the bone marrow microenvironment, disrupting the stem cell niche, and leading to HSC mobilization into the blood. Herein, we review our current understanding of the effects of inflammatory mediators on HSCs, and we discuss the potential clinical implications of these findings with respect to bone marrow failure and leukemogenesis.
    Frontiers in Immunology 01/2013; 4:204.
  • Yen-Michael S Hsu, Daniel C Link
    Nature medicine 12/2012; 18(12):1740-1741. · 27.14 Impact Factor
  • Daniel C Link
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    ABSTRACT: In the past decade, a series of technological advances have revolutionized our ability to interrogate cancer genomes, culminating in whole-genome sequencing, which provides genome-wide coverage at a single base-pair resolution. To date, the tumor genome has been sequenced in nearly 40 cases of acute myeloid leukemia (AML). On average, each AML genome contains approximately 400 mutations, including 6-26 coding mutations. The majority of these mutations are 'background' mutations that were acquired during normal aging of hematopoietic stem cells. Though comprehensively identifying 'driver' mutations remains a challenge, a number of novel driver mutations in AML have been identified through whole-genome sequencing. The digital nature of next-generation sequencing has revealed clonal heterogeneity in the majority of AML at diagnosis. Importantly, in some cases, a minor subclone contributed to relapse, suggesting the strategies to assess clonal heterogeneity are needed to optimize therapy. As sequencing technologies improve and costs decrease, it is likely that whole-genome sequencing of cancer cells will become commonplace in the diagnostic work-up of patients with AML and other cancers.
    Best practice & research. Clinical haematology 12/2012; 25(4):409-14. · 3.13 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Increased expression of Kruppel-like factor 7 (KLF7) is an independent predictor of poor outcome in pediatric acute lymphoblastic leukemia. The contribution of KLF7 to hematopoiesis has not been previously described. Herein, we characterized the effect on murine hematopoiesis of the loss of KLF7 and enforced expression of KLF7. Long-term multilineage engraftment of Klf7(-/-) cells was comparable with control cells, and self-renewal, as assessed by serial transplantation, was not affected. Enforced expression of KLF7 results in a marked suppression of myeloid progenitor cell growth and a loss of short- and long-term repopulating activity. Interestingly, enforced expression of KLF7, although resulting in multilineage growth suppression that extended to hematopoietic stem cells and common lymphoid progenitors, spared T cells and enhanced the survival of early thymocytes. RNA expression profiling of KLF7-overexpressing hematopoietic progenitors identified several potential target genes mediating these effects. Notably, the known KLF7 target Cdkn1a (p21(Cip1/Waf1)) was not induced by KLF7, and loss of CDKN1A does not rescue the repopulating defect. These results suggest that KLF7 is not required for normal hematopoietic stem and progenitor function, but increased expression, as seen in a subset of lymphoid leukemia, inhibits myeloid cell proliferation and promotes early thymocyte survival.
    Blood 08/2012; 120(15):2981-9. · 9.78 Impact Factor

Publication Stats

7k Citations
1,302.45 Total Impact Points

Institutions

  • 1995–2014
    • Washington University in St. Louis
      • • Division of Oncology
      • • Department of Medicine
      • • Division of Pulmonary and Critical Care
      San Luis, Missouri, United States
  • 2013
    • University of Southern California
      • Department of Medicine
      Los Angeles, CA, United States
    • University of Rochester
      • Division of Hospital Medicine
      Rochester, New York, United States
  • 1996–2012
    • University of Washington Seattle
      • • Department of Medicine
      • • Division of Oncology
      • • Division of General Internal Medicine
      • • Division of Cardiology
      Seattle, WA, United States
    • Barnes Jewish Hospital
      San Luis, Missouri, United States
  • 2010
    • National Cancer Institute (USA)
      • Division of Cancer Epidemiology and Genetics
      Bethesda, MD, United States
  • 2008
    • National Institutes of Health
      • Division of Cancer Epidemiology and Genetics
      Bethesda, MD, United States
  • 2005
    • American University Washington D.C.
      Washington, Washington, D.C., United States
  • 2004
    • Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre
      • Stem Cell Biology Laboratory
      Melbourne, Victoria, Australia