The N6-methyladenosine (m6A)-forming enzyme METTL3 controls myeloid differentiation of normal hematopoietic and leukemia cells.
ABSTRACT: N6-methyladenosine (m6A) is an abundant nucleotide modification in mRNA that is required for the differentiation of mouse embryonic stem cells. However, it remains unknown whether the m6A modification controls the differentiation of normal and/or malignant myeloid hematopoietic cells. Here we show that shRNA-mediated depletion of the m6A-forming enzyme METTL3 in human hematopoietic stem/progenitor cells (HSPCs) promotes cell differentiation, coupled with reduced cell proliferation. Conversely, overexpression of wild-type METTL3, but not of a catalytically inactive form of METTL3, inhibits cell differentiation and increases cell growth. METTL3 mRNA and protein are expressed more abundantly in acute myeloid leukemia (AML) cells than in healthy HSPCs or other types of tumor cells. Furthermore, METTL3 depletion in human myeloid leukemia cell lines induces cell differentiation and apoptosis and delays leukemia progression in recipient mice in vivo. Single-nucleotide-resolution mapping of m6A coupled with ribosome profiling reveals that m6A promotes the translation of c-MYC, BCL2 and PTEN mRNAs in the human acute myeloid leukemia MOLM-13 cell line. Moreover, loss of METTL3 leads to increased levels of phosphorylated AKT, which contributes to the differentiation-promoting effects of METTL3 depletion. Overall, these results provide a rationale for the therapeutic targeting of METTL3 in myeloid leukemia.
Project description:N6-methyladenosine (m6A), the most prevalent internal modification in eukaryotic messenger RNAs (mRNAs), plays critical roles in many bioprocesses. However, its functions in normal and malignant hematopoiesis remain elusive. Here, we report that METTL14, a key component of the m6A methyltransferase complex, is highly expressed in normal hematopoietic stem/progenitor cells (HSPCs) and acute myeloid leukemia (AML) cells carrying t(11q23), t(15;17), or t(8;21) and is downregulated during myeloid differentiation. Silencing of METTL14 promotes terminal myeloid differentiation of normal HSPCs and AML cells and inhibits AML cell survival/proliferation. METTL14 is required for development and maintenance of AML and self-renewal of leukemia stem/initiation cells (LSCs/LICs). Mechanistically, METTL14 exerts its oncogenic role by regulating its mRNA targets (e.g., MYB and MYC) through m6A modification, while the protein itself is negatively regulated by SPI1. Collectively, our results reveal the SPI1-METTL14-MYB/MYC signaling axis in myelopoiesis and leukemogenesis and highlight the critical roles of METTL14 and m6A modification in normal and malignant hematopoiesis.
Project description:Haematopoietic stem cells (HSCs) maintain balanced self-renewal and differentiation, but how these functions are precisely regulated is not fully understood. N6-methyladenosine (m6A) messenger RNA methylation has emerged as an important mode of epitranscriptional gene expression regulation affecting many biological processes. We show that deletion of the m6A methyltransferase Mettl3 from the adult haematopoietic system led to an accumulation of HSCs in the bone marrow and a marked reduction of reconstitution potential due to a blockage of HSC differentiation. Interestingly, deleting Mettl3 from myeloid cells using Lysm-cre did not impact myeloid cell number or function. RNA sequencing revealed 2,073 genes with significant m6A modifications in HSCs. Myc was identified as a direct target of m6A in HSCs. Mettl3-deficient HSCs failed to upregulate MYC expression following stimulation to differentiate and enforced expression of Myc rescued differentiation defects of Mettl3-deficient HSCs. Our results reveal a key role of m6A in governing HSC differentiation.
Project description:Stem cells balance cellular fates through asymmetric and symmetric divisions in order to self-renew or to generate downstream progenitors. Symmetric commitment divisions in stem cells are required for rapid regeneration during tissue damage and stress. The control of symmetric commitment remains poorly defined. Using single-cell RNA sequencing (scRNA-seq) in combination with transcriptomic profiling of HSPCs (hematopoietic stem and progenitor cells) from control and m6A methyltransferase Mettl3 conditional knockout mice, we found that m6A-deficient hematopoietic stem cells (HSCs) fail to symmetrically differentiate. Dividing HSCs are expanded and are blocked in an intermediate state that molecularly and functionally resembles multipotent progenitors. Mechanistically, RNA methylation controls Myc mRNA abundance in differentiating HSCs. We identified MYC as a marker for HSC asymmetric and symmetric commitment. Overall, our results indicate that RNA methylation controls symmetric commitment and cell identity of HSCs and may provide a general mechanism for how stem cells regulate differentiation fate choice.
Project description:Epigenetic alterations have contributed greatly to human carcinogenesis. Conventional epigenetic studies have been predominantly focused on DNA methylation, histone modifications, and chromatin remodelling. Epitranscriptomics is an emerging field that encompasses the study of RNA modifications that do not affect the RNA sequence but affect functionality via a series of RNA binding proteins called writer, reader and eraser. Several kinds of epi-RNA modifications are known, such as 6-methyladenosine (m6A), 5-methylcytidine (m5C), and 1-methyladenosine. M6A modification is the most studied and has large therapeutic implications. In this review, we have summarised the therapeutic potential of m6A-modifiers in controlling haematological disorders, especially acute myeloid leukaemia (AML). AML is a type of blood cancer affecting specific subsets of blood-forming hematopoietic stem/progenitor cells (HSPCs), which proliferate rapidly and acquire self-renewal capacities with impaired terminal cell-differentiation and apoptosis leading to abnormal accumulation of white blood cells, and thus, an alternative therapeutic approach is required urgently. Here, we have described how RNA m6A-modification machineries EEE (Editor/writer: Mettl3, Mettl14; Eraser/remover: FTO, ALKBH5, and Effector/reader: YTHDF-1/2) could be reformed into potential druggable candidates or as RNA-modifying drugs (RMD) to treat leukaemia. Moreover, we have shed light on the role of microRNAs and suppressors of cytokine signalling (SOCS/CISH) in increasing anti-tumour immunity towards leukaemia. We anticipate, our investigation will provide fundamental knowledge in nurturing the potential of RNA modifiers in discovering novel therapeutics or immunotherapeutic procedures.
Project description:The METTL3 methyltransferase is responsible for the deposition of N6-methyladenosine (m6A) modifications in RNA and has been identified as essential for survival and proliferation of acute myeloid leukemia (AML) cells in a genome-wide CRISPR screen. In our experiments involving a small-molecule METTL3 inhibitor (UZH2) in the AML cell line MOLM-13, we observed suppression of cell proliferation, induction of apoptosis and differentiation. The aim of RNA-seq experiment was to characterize the transcriptomic changes occurring in MOLM-13 cell line after treatment UZH2. Cell were treated with 10 µM of UZH2 for 16 h and compered to untreated controls (5 % DMSO).
Project description:The H2.0-like homeobox transcription factor (HLX) regulates hematopoietic differentiation and is overexpressed in Acute Myeloid Leukemia (AML), but the mechanisms underlying these functions remain unclear. We demonstrate here that HLX overexpression leads to a myeloid differentiation block both in zebrafish and human hematopoietic stem and progenitor cells (HSPCs). We show that HLX overexpression leads to downregulation of genes encoding electron transport chain (ETC) components and upregulation of PPAR? gene expression in zebrafish and human HSPCs. HLX overexpression also results in AMPK activation. Pharmacological modulation of PPAR? signaling relieves the HLX-induced myeloid differentiation block and rescues HSPC loss upon HLX knockdown but it has no effect on AML cell lines. In contrast, AMPK inhibition results in reduced viability of AML cell lines, but minimally affects myeloid progenitors. This newly described role of HLX in regulating the metabolic state of hematopoietic cells may have important therapeutic implications.
Project description:Spermatogenesis is a differentiation process during which diploid spermatogonial stem cells (SSCs) produce haploid spermatozoa. This highly specialized process is precisely controlled at the transcriptional, posttranscriptional, and translational levels. Here we report that N6-methyladenosine (m6A), an epitranscriptomic mark regulating gene expression, plays essential roles during spermatogenesis. We present comprehensive m6A mRNA methylomes of mouse spermatogenic cells from five developmental stages: undifferentiated spermatogonia, type A1 spermatogonia, preleptotene spermatocytes, pachytene/diplotene spermatocytes, and round spermatids. Germ cell-specific inactivation of the m6A RNA methyltransferase Mettl3 or Mettl14 with Vasa-Cre causes loss of m6A and depletion of SSCs. m6A depletion dysregulates translation of transcripts that are required for SSC proliferation/differentiation. Combined deletion of Mettl3 and Mettl14 in advanced germ cells with Stra8-GFPCre disrupts spermiogenesis, whereas mice with single deletion of either Mettl3 or Mettl14 in advanced germ cells show normal spermatogenesis. The spermatids from double-mutant mice exhibit impaired translation of haploid-specific genes that are essential for spermiogenesis. This study highlights crucial roles of mRNA m6A modification in germline development, potentially ensuring coordinated translation at different stages of spermatogenesis.
Project description:N6-methyladenosine (m6A), installed by the Mettl3/Mettl14 methyltransferase complex, is the most prevalent internal mRNA modification. Whether m6A regulates mammalian brain development is unknown. Here, we show that m6A depletion by Mettl14 knockout in embryonic mouse brains prolongs the cell cycle of radial glia cells and extends cortical neurogenesis into postnatal stages. m6A depletion by Mettl3 knockdown also leads to a prolonged cell cycle and maintenance of radial glia cells. m6A sequencing of embryonic mouse cortex reveals enrichment of mRNAs related to transcription factors, neurogenesis, the cell cycle, and neuronal differentiation, and m6A tagging promotes their decay. Further analysis uncovers previously unappreciated transcriptional prepatterning in cortical neural stem cells. m6A signaling also regulates human cortical neurogenesis in forebrain organoids. Comparison of m6A-mRNA landscapes between mouse and human cortical neurogenesis reveals enrichment of human-specific m6A tagging of transcripts related to brain-disorder risk genes. Our study identifies an epitranscriptomic mechanism in heightened transcriptional coordination during mammalian cortical neurogenesis.
Project description:Osteoclast differentiation and function are crucial for maintaining bone homeostasis and preserving skeletal integrity. N6-methyladenosine (m6A) is an abundant mRNA modification that has recently been shown to be important in regulating cell lineage differentiation. Nevertheless, the effect of m6A on osteoclast differentiation remains unknown. In the present study, we observed that the m6A level and methyltransferase METTL3 expression increased during osteoclast differentiation. Mettl3 knockdown resulted in an increased size but a decreased bone-resorbing ability of osteoclasts. The expression of osteoclast-specific genes (Nfatc1, c-Fos, Ctsk, Acp5 and Dcstamp) was inhibited by Mettl3 depletion, while the expression of the cellular fusion-specific gene Atp6v0d2 was upregulated. Mechanistically, Mettl3 knockdown elevated the mRNA stability of Atp6v0d2 and the same result was obtained when the m6A-binding protein YTHDF2 was silenced. Moreover, the phosphorylation levels of key molecules in the MAPK, NF-?B and PI3K-AKT signaling pathways were reduced upon Mettl3 deficiency. Depletion of Mettl3 maintained the retention of Traf6 mRNA in the nucleus and reduced the protein levels of TRAF6. Taken together, our data suggest that METTL3 regulates osteoclast differentiation and function through different mechanisms involving Atp6v0d2 mRNA degradation mediated by YTHDF2 and Traf6 mRNA nuclear export. These findings elucidate the molecular basis of RNA epigenetic regulation in osteoclast development.
Project description:Janus kinase 2 (JAK2) is a central kinase in hematopoietic stem/progenitor cells (HSPCs), and its uncontrolled activation is a prominent oncogenic driver of hematopoietic neoplasms. However, molecular mechanisms underlying the regulation of JAK2 have remained elusive. Here we report that the Casitas B-cell lymphoma (CBL) family E3 ubiquitin ligases down-regulate JAK2 stability and signaling via the adaptor protein LNK/SH2B3. We demonstrated that depletion of CBL/CBL-B or LNK abrogated JAK2 ubiquitination, extended JAK2 half-life, and enhanced JAK2 signaling and cell growth in human cell lines as well as primary murine HSPCs. Built on these findings, we showed that JAK inhibitor (JAKi) significantly reduced aberrant HSPCs and mitigated leukemia development in a mouse model of aggressive myeloid leukemia driven by loss of Cbl and Cbl-b Importantly, primary human CBL mutated (CBLmut ) leukemias exhibited increased JAK2 protein levels and signaling and were hypersensitive to JAKi. Loss-of-function mutations in CBL E3 ubiquitin ligases are found in a wide range of myeloid malignancies, which are diseases without effective treatment options. Hence, our studies reveal a novel signaling axis that regulates JAK2 in normal and malignant HSPCs and suggest new therapeutic strategies for treating CBLmut myeloid malignancies.