Progressive genomic instability in the Nup98-HoxD13 model of MDS correlates with loss of the PIG-A gene product.
ABSTRACT: The Nup98-HoxD13 (NHD13) fusion gene was identified in a patient with therapy-related myelodysplastic syndrome (MDS). When transgenically expressed in hematopoietic cells, mice faithfully recapitulate human disease with serial progression from peripheral blood (PB) cytopenias and increased bone marrow (BM) blasts to acute leukemia. It is well accepted that genomic instability in dysplastic hematopoietic stem/progenitor cells (HSPC) drives the evolution of MDS to acute leukemia. Findings here demonstrate that reticulocytes, myeloid and lymphoid PB cells of NHD13 mice, display an increase in the age-associated loss of glycosylphosphatidylinositol-linked surface proteins versus wild type controls. These data correlate with a progressive increase in the DNA damage response as measured by γ-H2AX activity, accumulating BM blasts as the disease progresses and finally development of acute leukemia. These findings clearly demonstrate a state of progressive genomic instability that increases the likelihood of a "second hit" or complimentary mutation later in the disease to trigger development of acute leukemia and underscores the mechanistic nature of how the NUP98-HoxD13 transgene induces progression of MDS to acute leukemia. Additionally, these data support the use of the PIG-A assay as an efficient, real-time surrogate marker of the genomic instability that occurs in the MDS HSPCs. Key Point The PIG-A assay is a sensitive, nonlethal method for the serial assessment of genomic instability in mouse models of MDS.
Project description:The nucleoporin gene NUP98 is fused to several genes including HOXD13 in patients with myelodysplastic syndromes (MDS), acute myeloid leukemia, and chronic myeloid leukemia, blast crisis. Genetically engineered mice that express a NUP98-HOXD13 (NHD13) transgene (Tg) display the phenotypic features of MDS, including cytopenias, bone marrow dysplasia, and transformation to acute leukemia. Here we show that short-term treatment with the p53 inhibitor Pifithrin-? partially and transiently rescued the myeloid and lymphoid abnormalities found in NHD13(+) Tg mice, with no improvement in the anemia, while the genetic deletion of 2 alleles of p53 rescued both the myeloid progenitor cell and long-term hematopoietic stem cell compartments. Nonetheless, loss of one or both alleles of p53 did not rescue the MDS phenotype, but instead exacerbated the MDS phenotype and accelerated the development of acute myeloid leukemia. Our studies suggest that while targeting p53 may transiently improve hematopoiesis in MDS, over the long-term, it has detrimental effects, raising caution about abrogating its function to treat the cytopenias that accompany this disease.
Project description:The t(2;11)(q31;p15) chromosomal translocation results in a fusion between the NUP98 and HOXD13 genes and has been observed in patients with myelodysplastic syndrome (MDS) or acute myelogenous leukemia. We previously showed that expression of the NUP98-HOXD13 (NHD13) fusion gene in transgenic mice results in an invariably fatal MDS; approximately one third of mice die due to complications of severe pancytopenia, and about two thirds progress to a fatal acute leukemia. In the present study, we used retroviral insertional mutagenesis to identify genes that might collaborate with NHD13 as the MDS transformed to an acute leukemia. Newborn NHD13 transgenic mice and littermate controls were infected with the MOL4070LTR retrovirus. The onset of leukemia was accelerated, suggesting a synergistic effect between the NHD13 transgene and the genes neighboring retroviral insertion events. We identified numerous common insertion sites located near protein-coding genes and confirmed dysregulation of a subset of these by expression analyses. Among these genes were Meis1, a known collaborator of HOX and NUP98-HOX fusion genes, and Mn1, a transcriptional coactivator involved in human leukemia through fusion with the TEL gene. Other putative collaborators included Gata2, Erg, and Epor. Of note, we identified a common insertion site that was >100 kb from the nearest coding gene, but within 20 kb of the miR29a/miR29b1 microRNA locus. Both of these miRNA were up-regulated, demonstrating that retroviral insertional mutagenesis can target miRNA loci as well as protein-coding loci. Our data provide new insights into NHD13-mediated leukemogenesis as well as retroviral insertional mutagenesis mechanisms.
Project description:The NUP98-HOXD13 (NHD13) fusion gene occurs in patients with myelodysplastic syndrome (MDS) and acute nonlymphocytic leukemia (ANLL). We reported that transgenic mice expressing NHD13 develop MDS, and that more than half of these mice eventually progress to acute leukemia. The latency period suggests a requirement for at least 1 complementary event before leukemic transformation. We conducted a candidate gene search for complementary events focused on genes that are frequently mutated in human myeloid leukemia. We investigated 22 ANLL samples and found a high frequency of Nras and Kras mutations, an absence of Npm1, p53, Runx1, Kit and Flt3 mutations, and a single Cbl mutation. Our findings support a working hypothesis that predicts that ANLL cases have one mutation which inhibits differentiation, and a complementary mutation which enhances proliferation or inhibit apoptosis. In addition, we provide the first evidence for spontaneous collaborating mutations in a genetically engineered mouse model of ANLL.
Project description:The myelodysplastic syndromes (MDS) are characterized by ineffective hematopoiesis, dysplasia, and transformation to acute myeloid leukemia (AML). Although it has been suggested that additional mutations lead to progression of MDS to AML, the causative agent(s) for such mutations remains unclear. Oxidative stress is a potential cause, therefore, we evaluated levels of reactive oxygen species (ROS) in NUP98-HOXD13 (NHD13) transgenic mice, a murine model for MDS. Increased levels of ROS were detected in bone marrow nucleated cells (BMNC) that express CD71, a marker for cell proliferation, as well as immature, lineage negative bone marrow nucleated cells from NHD13 mice. In addition to the increase in ROS, increased DNA double strand breaks and activation of a G2/M phase cell cycle checkpoint were noted in NHD13 BMNC. Finally, using an in vivo assay for mutation frequency, we detected an increased mutation frequency in NHD13 BMNC. These results suggest that oxidative stress may contribute to disease progression of MDS to AML through ineffective repair of DNA damage and acquisition of oncogenic mutations.
Project description:Myelodysplastic syndromes (MDS) are a group of clonal hematopoietic diseases which have a high risk of progressing to acute myeloid leukemia. MDS patients have immunologic deficiency, including T and B cells dysfunction. Follicular T helper cells (Tfh, CD4+CXCR5+) are an important subset of helper T cells which help to the formation of germinal centers and B cells differentiation. In this study, we investigated the proportion and function of Tfh using NUP98-HOXD13 transgenic (NHD13) mice model with MDS phenotype. The proportion of Tfh from bone marrow and spleen of NHD13 mice decreased compared with wild type (WT) mice tested by flow cytometry. In NHD13 mice spleens, there were decreased CXCR5+ cells and increased PD-1+ cells using immunohistochemistry. The active markers (ICOS, CD40L and OX40) expressed on Tfh of NHD13 mice were decreased. In contrast, PD-1 expression on Tfh of NHD13 mice was higher than that of WT mice. After coculture with Tfh from NHD13 mice, IgG and IgM production of B cells were decreased. In conclusion, the proportion and function of Tfh in the MDS mice model were altered. The dysfunction and reduction of Tfh may inhibit B cells differentiation and antibody production. Abnormal Tfh might contribute to the immune tolerance promoting the progression of MDS.
Project description:SETD2, the histone H3 lysine 36 methyltransferase, previously identified by us, plays an important role in the pathogenesis of hematologic malignancies, but its role in myelodysplastic syndromes (MDSs) has been unclear. In this study, low expression of SETD2 correlated with shortened survival in patients with MDS, and the SETD2 levels in CD34+ bone marrow cells of those patients were increased by decitabine. We knocked out Setd2 in NUP98-HOXD13 (NHD13) transgenic mice, which phenocopies human MDS, and found that loss of Setd2 accelerated the transformation of MDS into acute myeloid leukemia (AML). Loss of Setd2 enhanced the ability of NHD13+ hematopoietic stem and progenitor cells (HSPCs) to self-renew, with increased symmetric self-renewal division and decreased differentiation and cell death. The growth of MDS-associated leukemia cells was inhibited though increasing the H3K36me3 level by using epigenetic modifying drugs. Furthermore, Setd2 deficiency upregulated hematopoietic stem cell signaling and downregulated myeloid differentiation pathways in the NHD13+ HSPCs. Our RNA-seq and chromatin immunoprecipitation-seq analysis indicated that S100a9, the S100 calcium-binding protein, is a target gene of Setd2 and that the addition of recombinant S100a9 weakens the effect of Setd2 deficiency in the NHD13+ HSPCs. In contrast, downregulation of S100a9 leads to decreases of its downstream targets, including Ikba and Jnk, which influence the self-renewal and differentiation of HSPCs. Therefore, our results demonstrated that SETD2 deficiency predicts poor prognosis in MDS and promotes the transformation of MDS into AML, which provides a potential therapeutic target for MDS-associated acute leukemia.
Project description:The myelodysplastic syndrome (MDS) is a clonal hematologic disorder that frequently evolves to acute myeloid leukemia (AML). Its pathogenesis remains unclear, but mutations in epigenetic modifiers are common and the disease often responds to DNA methylation inhibitors. We analyzed DNA methylation in the bone marrow and spleen in two mouse models of MDS/AML, the NUP98-HOXD13 (NHD13) mouse and the RUNX1 mutant mouse model. Methylation array analysis showed an average of 512/3445 (14.9%) genes hypermethylated in NHD13 MDS, and 331 (9.6%) genes hypermethylated in RUNX1 MDS. Thirty-two percent of genes in common between the two models (2/3 NHD13 mice and 2/3 RUNX1 mice) were also hypermethylated in at least two of 19 human MDS samples. Detailed analysis of 41 genes in mice showed progressive drift in DNA methylation from young to old normal bone marrow and spleen; to MDS, where we detected accelerated age-related methylation; and finally to AML, which markedly extends DNA methylation abnormalities. Most of these genes showed similar patterns in human MDS and AML. Repeat element hypomethylation was rare in MDS but marked the transition to AML in some cases. Our data show consistency in patterns of aberrant DNA methylation in human and mouse MDS and suggest that epigenetically, MDS displays an accelerated aging phenotype.
Project description:The myelodysplastic syndromes (MDS) comprise a group of premalignant hematologic disorders characterized by ineffective hematopoiesis, dysplasia, and transformation to acute myeloid leukemia (AML). Although it is well established that many malignancies can be transplanted, there is little evidence to demonstrate that a premalignant disease entity, such as MDS or colonic polyps, can be transplanted and subsequently undergo malignant transformation in vivo. Using mice that express a NUP98-HOXD13 (NHD13) transgene in hematopoietic tissues, we show that a MDS can be transplanted to WT recipients. Recipients of the MDS bone marrow displayed all of the critical features of MDS, including peripheral blood cytopenias, dysplasia, and transformation to AML. Even when transplanted with a 10-fold excess of WT cells, the NHD13 cells outcompeted the WT cells over a 38-week period. Limiting-dilution experiments demonstrated that the frequency of the cell that could transmit the disease was approximately 1/6,000-1/16,000 and that the MDS was also transferable to secondary recipients as a premalignant condition. Transformation to AML in primary transplant recipients was generally delayed (46-49 weeks after transplant); however, 6 of 10 secondary transplant recipients developed AML. These findings demonstrate that MDS originates in a transplantable, premalignant, long-term repopulating, MDS-initiating cell.
Project description:Myelodysplastic syndrome (MDS) is characterized by ineffective hematopoiesis with resultant cytopenias. Increased apoptosis and aberrantly functioning progenitors are thought to contribute to this phenotype. As is the case for other malignancies, overcoming apoptosis is believed to be important in progression toward acute myeloid leukemia (AML). Using the NUP98-HOXD13 (NHD13) transgenic mouse model of MDS, we previously reported that overexpression of the anti-apoptotic protein BCL2, blocked apoptosis and improved cytopenias, paradoxically, delaying leukemic progression. To further understand this surprising result, we examined the role of p53 and its pro-apoptotic effectors, PUMA and NOXA in NHD13 mice. The absence of p53 or PUMA but not NOXA reduced apoptosis and expanded the numbers of MDS-repopulating cells. Despite a similar effect on apoptosis and cell numbers, the absence of p53 and PUMA had diametrically opposed effects on progression to AML: absence of p53 accelerated leukemic progression, while absence of PUMA significantly delayed progression. This may be explained in part by differences in cellular responses to DNA damage. The absence of p53 led to higher levels of ?-H2AX (indicative of persistent DNA lesions) while PUMA-deficient NHD13 progenitors resolved DNA lesions in a manner comparable to wild-type cells. These results suggest that targeting PUMA may improve the cytopenias of MDS without a detrimental effect on leukemic progression thus warranting further investigation.
Project description:Transgenic mice that express either a NUP98-PHF23 (NP23) or NUP98-HOXD13 (NHD13) fusion in the hematopoietic compartment develop a wide spectrum of leukemias, including myeloid, erythroid, megakaryocytic and lymphoid, at age 9-14 months. NP23-NHD13 double transgenic mice were generated by interbreeding NP23 and NHD13 mice. Remarkably, 100% of the NP23-NHD13 double transgenic mice developed acute myeloid leukemia (AML) within three months, characterized by replacement of the thymus with leukemic myeloblasts. The marked infiltration of thymus led to the intriguing hypothesis that AML generated in NP23-NHD13 mice arose in the thymus, as opposed to the bone marrow (BM). Transplantation of CD4-CD8- double negative (DN) thymocytes (which were also negative for Mac1 and Gr1) from leukemic NHD13/NP23 mice demonstrated that DN thymocytes could transmit AML, and limiting dilution studies showed that leukemia initiating cells were increased 14-fold in the thymus compared to BM. Further thymocyte fractionation demonstrated that DN1 and DN2, but not DN3 or DN4 fractions transmitted AML, and a marked expansion (100-fold) of Lineage-Sca1?+?Kit?+?(LSK) cells in the thymus of the NP23-NHD13 mice. Taken together, these results show that the thymus of NP23-NHD13 mice acts as a reservoir for AML initiating cells and that thymic progenitors can transmit AML.