The Oncogenic Transcription Factor RUNX1/ETO Corrupts Cell Cycle Regulation to Drive Leukemic Transformation.
ABSTRACT: Oncogenic transcription factors such as the leukemic fusion protein RUNX1/ETO, which drives t(8;21) acute myeloid leukemia (AML), constitute cancer-specific but highly challenging therapeutic targets. We used epigenomic profiling data for an RNAi screen to interrogate the transcriptional network maintaining t(8;21) AML. This strategy identified Cyclin D2 (CCND2) as a crucial transmitter of RUNX1/ETO-driven leukemic propagation. RUNX1/ETO cooperates with AP-1 to drive CCND2 expression. Knockdown or pharmacological inhibition of CCND2 by an approved drug significantly impairs leukemic expansion of patient-derived AML cells and engraftment in immunodeficient murine hosts. Our data demonstrate that RUNX1/ETO maintains leukemia by promoting cell cycle progression and identifies G1 CCND-CDK complexes as promising therapeutic targets for treatment of RUNX1/ETO-driven AML.
Project description:Oncogenic transcription factors such as the leukaemic fusion protein RUNX1/ETO constitute cancer-specific but highly challenging therapeutic targets, whose functions depend on pharmacologically tractable downstream pathways. Here we interrogated the transcriptional network of RUNX1/ETO in an in vitro/in vivo RNAi screen and identified Cyclin D2 (CCND2) as a crucial transmitter of RUNX1/ETO-driven leukemic propagation. RUNX1/ETO drives CCND2 expression by binding to a regulatory element upstream of the CCND2 promoter. Both knockdown of CCND2 and treatment with the CDK4/6 inhibitor palbociclib inhibited leukemic expansion patient-derived AML cells and impaired engraftment of immunodeficient murine hosts. Our data demonstrate that RUNX1/ETO drives leukaemia by directly promoting cell cycle progression and establish inhibition of G1 CCND-CDK complexes as a promising therapeutic strategy for RUNX1/ETO-driven AML. Overall design: Capture HiC experiment before and after RUNX1/ETO knock-down is used in this study
Project description:Oncogenic transcription factors such as the leukaemic fusion protein RUNX1/ETO constitute cancer-specific but highly challenging therapeutic targets, whose functions depend on pharmacologically tractable downstream pathways. Here we interrogated the transcriptional network of RUNX1/ETO in an in vitro/in vivo RNAi screen and identified Cyclin D2 (CCND2) as a crucial transmitter of RUNX1/ETO-driven leukemic propagation. RUNX1/ETO drives CCND2 expression by binding to a regulatory element upstream of the CCND2 promoter. Both knockdown of CCND2 and treatment with the CDK4/6 inhibitor palbociclib inhibited leukemic expansion patient-derived AML cells and impaired engraftment of immunodeficient murine hosts. Our data demonstrate that RUNX1/ETO drives leukaemia by directly promoting cell cycle progression and establish inhibition of G1 CCND-CDK complexes as a promising therapeutic strategy for RUNX1/ETO-driven AML. Overall design: ChIP-seq exprement before and after RUNX1/ETO knock-down is used in this study
Project description:The t(8;21) translocation fuses the DNA-binding domain of the hematopoietic master regulator RUNX1 to the ETO protein. The resultant RUNX1/ETO fusion protein is a leukemia-initiating transcription factor that interferes with RUNX1 function. The result of this interference is a block in differentiation and, finally, the development of acute myeloid leukemia (AML). To obtain insights into RUNX1/ETO-dependant alterations of the epigenetic landscape, we measured genome-wide RUNX1- and RUNX1/ETO-bound regions in t(8;21) cells and assessed to what extent the effects of RUNX1/ETO on the epigenome depend on its continued expression in established leukemic cells. To this end, we determined dynamic alterations of histone acetylation, RNA Polymerase II binding and RUNX1 occupancy in the presence or absence of RUNX1/ETO using a knockdown approach. Combined global assessments of chromatin accessibility and kinetic gene expression data show that RUNX1/ETO controls the expression of important regulators of hematopoietic differentiation and self-renewal. We show that selective removal of RUNX1/ETO leads to a widespread reversal of epigenetic reprogramming and a genome-wide redistribution of RUNX1 binding, resulting in the inhibition of leukemic proliferation and self-renewal, and the induction of differentiation. This demonstrates that RUNX1/ETO represents a pivotal therapeutic target in AML.
Project description:Oncogenic mutations in components of cytokine signaling pathways elicit ligand-independent activation of downstream signaling, enhancing proliferation and survival in acute myeloid leukemia (AML). The myeloproliferative leukemia virus oncogene, MPL, a homodimeric receptor activated by thrombopoietin (THPO), is mutated in myeloproliferative disorders but rarely in AML. Here we show that wild-type MPL expression is increased in a fraction of human AML samples expressing RUNX1-ETO, a fusion protein created by chromosome translocation t(8;21), and that up-regulation of Mpl expression in mice induces AML when coexpressed with RUNX1-ETO. The leukemic cells are sensitive to THPO, activating survival and proliferative responses. Mpl expression is not regulated by RUNX1-ETO in mouse hematopoietic progenitors or leukemic cells. Moreover, we find that activation of PI3K/AKT but not ERK/MEK pathway is a critical mediator of the MPL-directed antiapoptotic function in leukemic cells. Hence, this study provides evidence that up-regulation of wild-type MPL levels promotes leukemia development and maintenance through activation of the PI3K/AKT axis, and suggests that inhibitors of this axis could be effective for treatment of MPL-positive AML.
Project description:Acute myeloid leukemia (AML) is characterized by an aggressive clinical course and frequent cytogenetic abnormalities that include specific chromosomal translocations. The 8;21 chromosomal rearrangement disrupts the key hematopoietic RUNX1 transcription factor, and contributes to leukemia through recruitment of co-repressor complexes to RUNX1 target genes, altered subnuclear localization, and deregulation of the myeloid gene regulatory program. However, a role of non-coding microRNAs (miRs) in t(8;21)-mediated leukemogenesis is minimally understood. We present evidence of an interplay between the tumor suppressor miR-29b-1 and the AML1-ETO (also designated RUNX1-RUNX1T1) oncogene that is encoded by the t(8;21). We find that AML1-ETO and corepressor NCoR co-occupy the miR-29a/b-1 locus and downregulate its expression in leukemia cells. Conversely, re-introduction of miR-29b-1 in leukemia cells expressing AML1-ETO causes significant downregulation at the protein level through direct targeting of the 3' untranslated region of the chimeric transcript. Restoration of miR-29b-1 expression in leukemia cells results in decreased cell growth and increased apoptosis. The AML1-ETO-dependent differentiation block and transcriptional program are partially reversed by miR-29b-1. Our findings establish a novel regulatory circuit between the tumor-suppressive miR-29b-1 and the oncogenic AML1-ETO that controls the leukemic phenotype in t(8;21)-carrying acute myeloid leukemia.
Project description:<h4>Background</h4>Acute myeloid leukemia (AML) with the t(8;21)(q22;q22) chromosomal translocation is among the most common subtypes of AML and produces the AML1-ETO (RUNX1-ETO, RUNX1-RUNX1T1) oncogenic fusion gene. AML1-ETO functions as an aberrant transcription factor which plays a key role in blocking normal hematopoiesis. Thus, the expression of AML1-ETO is critical to t(8;21) AML leukemogenesis and maintenance. Post-transcriptional regulation of gene expression is often mediated through interactions between trans-factors and cis-elements within transcript 3'-untranslated regions (UTR). AML1-ETO uses the 3'UTR of the ETO gene, which is not normally expressed in hematopoietic cells. Therefore, the mechanisms regulating AML1-ETO expression via the 3'UTR are attractive therapeutic targets.<h4>Methods</h4>We used RNA-sequencing of t(8;21) patients and cell lines to examine the 3'UTR isoforms used by AML1-ETO transcripts. Using luciferase assay approaches, we test the relative contribution of 3'UTR cis elements to AML1-ETO expression. We further use let-7b microRNA mimics and anti-let-7b sponges for functional studies of t(8;21) AML cell lines.<h4>Results</h4>In this study, we examine the regulation of AML1-ETO via the 3'UTR. We demonstrate that AML1-ETO transcripts primarily use a 3.7 kb isoform of the ETO 3'UTR in both t(8;21) patients and cell lines. We identify a negative regulatory element within the AML1-ETO 3'UTR. We further demonstrate that the let-7b microRNA directly represses AML1-ETO through this site. Finally, we find that let-7b inhibits the proliferation of t(8;21) AML cell lines, rescues expression of AML1-ETO target genes, and promotes differentiation.<h4>Conclusions</h4>AML1-ETO is post-transcriptionally regulated by let-7b, which contributes to the leukemic phenotype of t(8;21) AML and may be important for t(8;21) leukemogenesis and maintenance.
Project description:The 8;21 translocation is the most common chromosomal aberration occurring in acute myeloid leukemia (AML). This translocation causes expression of the RUNX1-ETO (AML1-ETO) fusion protein, which cooperates with additional mutations in leukemia development. We report here that interferons (IFNs) and IFN-stimulated genes are a group of genes consistently up-regulated by RUNX1-ETO in both human and murine models. RUNX1-ETO-induced up-regulation of IFN-stimulated genes occurs primarily via type I IFN signaling with a requirement for the IFNAR complex. Addition of exogenous IFN in vitro significantly reduces the increase in self-renewal potential induced by both RUNX1-ETO and its leukemogenic splicing isoform RUNX1-ETO9a. Finally, loss of type I IFN signaling via knockout of Ifnar1 significantly accelerates leukemogenesis in a t(8;21) murine model. This demonstrates the role of increased IFN signaling as an important factor inhibiting t(8;21) fusion protein function and leukemia development and supports the use of type I IFNs in the treatment of AML.
Project description:The t(8;21) RUNX1-ETO translocation is one of the most frequent cytogenetic abnormalities in acute myeloid leukemia (AML). In RUNX1-ETO(+) patient samples, differing classes of activating c-KIT receptor tyrosine kinase mutations have been observed. The most common (12%-48%) involves mutations, such as D816V, which occur in the tyrosine kinase domain, whereas another involves mutations within exon 8 in a region mediating receptor dimerization (2%-13% of cases). To test whether distinct subtypes of activating c-KIT mutations differ in their leukemogenic potential in association with RUNX1-ETO, we used a retroviral transduction/transplantation model to coexpress RUNX1-ETO with either c-Kit(D814V) or c-Kit(T417I?418-419) in murine hematopoietic stem/progenitor cells used to reconstitute lethally irradiated mice. Analysis of reconstituted animals showed that RUNX1-ETO;c-Kit(D814V) coexpression resulted in 3 nonoverlapping phenotypes. In 45% of animals, a transplantable AML of relatively short latency and frequent granulocytic sarcoma was noted. Other mice exhibited a rapidly fatal myeloproliferative phenotype (35%) or a lethal, short-latency pre-B-cell leukemia (20%). In contrast, RUNX1-ETO;c-Kit(T417I?418-419) coexpression promoted exclusively AML in a fraction (51%) of reconstituted mice. These observations indicate that c-Kit(D814V) promotes a more varied and aggressive leukemic phenotype than c-Kit(T417I?418-419), which may be the result of differing potencies of the activating c-Kit alleles.
Project description:Acute myeloid leukemia (AML) is a hematopoietic malignancy caused by recurrent mutations in genes encoding transcriptional, chromatin, and/or signaling regulators. The t(8;21) translocation generates the aberrant transcription factor RUNX1-ETO (RUNX1-RUNX1T1), which by itself is insufficient to cause disease. t(8;21) AML patients show extensive chromatin reprogramming and have acquired additional mutations. Therefore, the genomic and developmental effects directly and solely attributable to RUNX1-ETO expression are unclear. To address this, we employ a human embryonic stem cell differentiation system capable of forming definitive myeloid progenitor cells to express RUNX1-ETO in an inducible fashion. Induction of RUNX1-ETO causes extensive chromatin reprogramming by interfering with RUNX1 binding, blocks differentiation, and arrests cellular growth, whereby growth arrest is reversible following RUNX1-ETO removal. Single-cell gene expression analyses show that RUNX1-ETO induction alters the differentiation of early myeloid progenitors, but not of other progenitor types, indicating that oncoprotein-mediated transcriptional reprogramming is highly target cell specific.
Project description:Acute myeloid leukemia (AML) is associated with mutations in transcriptional and epigenetic regulator genes impairing myeloid differentiation. The t(8;21)(q22;q22) translocation generates the RUNX1-ETO fusion protein, which interferes with the hematopoietic master regulator RUNX1. We previously showed that the maintenance of t(8;21) AML is dependent on RUNX1-ETO expression. Its depletion causes extensive changes in transcription factor binding, as well as gene expression, and initiates myeloid differentiation. However, how these processes are connected within a gene regulatory network is unclear. To address this question, we performed Promoter-Capture Hi-C assays, with or without RUNX1-ETO depletion and assigned interacting cis-regulatory elements to their respective genes. To construct a RUNX1-ETO-dependent gene regulatory network maintaining AML, we integrated cis-regulatory element interactions with gene expression and transcription factor binding data. This analysis shows that RUNX1-ETO participates in cis-regulatory element interactions. However, differential interactions following RUNX1-ETO depletion are driven by alterations in the binding of RUNX1-ETO-regulated transcription factors.