A critical role of epigenetic inactivation of miR-9 in EVI1high pediatric AML.
ABSTRACT: Ectopic Viral Integration site 1 (EVI1) upregulation is implicated in 10-25% of pediatric acute myeloid leukemia (AML) and has an inferior outcome with current chemotherapy regimens. Here we report that EVI1 upregulation is associated with methylation of the miR-9 promoter and correlated with downregulation of miR-9 in human AML cell lines and bone marrow (BM) cells from pediatric patients. Reactivation of miR-9 by hypomethylating agents and forced expression of miR-9 in EVI1high leukemia cell lines and primary leukemia cells results in apoptosis and decreased proliferation of EVI1high leukemia cells. Furthermore, re-expression of miR-9 delays disease progression in EVI1high leukemia-xenograft mice. Our results suggest that EVI1-induced hypermethylation and downregulation of the miR-9 plays an important role in leukemogenesis in EVI-1high pediatric AML, indicating that hypomethylating agents may be a potential therapeutic strategy for EVI1high pediatric AML.
Project description:The ecotropic virus integration site 1 (EVI1) transcription factor is associated with human myeloid malignancy of poor prognosis and is overexpressed in 8-10% of adult AML and strikingly up to 27% of pediatric MLL-rearranged leukemias. For the first time, we report comprehensive genomewide EVI1 binding and whole transcriptome gene deregulation in leukemic cells using a combination of ChIP-Seq and RNA-Seq expression profiling. We found disruption of terminal myeloid differentiation and cell cycle regulation to be prominent in EVI-induced leukemogenesis. Specifically, we identified EVI1 directly binds to and downregulates the master myeloid differentiation gene Cebpe and several of its downstream gene targets critical for terminal myeloid differentiation. We also found EVI1 binds to and downregulates Serpinb2 as well as numerous genes involved in the Jak-Stat signaling pathway. Finally, we identified decreased expression of several ATP-dependent P2X purinoreceptors genes involved in apoptosis mechanisms. These findings provide a foundation for future study of potential therapeutic gene targets for EVI1-induced leukemia.
Project description:Histone deacetylase (HDAC) inhibitors either alone or in combination with hypomethylating agents have limited clinical effect in acute myeloid leukemia (AML). Previously, we demonstrated that AML patients with higher miR (microRNA)-29b expression had better response to the hypomethylating agent decitabine. Therefore, an increase in miR-29b expression preceding decitabine treatment may provide a therapeutic advantage. We previously showed that miR-29b expression is suppressed by a repressor complex that includes HDACs. Thus, HDAC inhibition may increase miR-29b expression. We hypothesized that priming AML cells with the novel HDAC inhibitor (HDACI) AR-42 would result in increased response to decitabine treatment via upregulation of miR-29b. Here, we show that AR-42 is a potent HDACI in AML, increasing miR-29b levels and leading to downregulation of known miR-29b targets (that is, SP1, DNMT1, DNMT3A and DNMT3B). We then demonstrated that the sequential administration of AR-42 followed by decitabine resulted in a stronger anti-leukemic activity in vitro and in vivo than decitabine followed by AR-42 or either drug alone. These preclinical results with AR-42 priming before decitabine administration represent a promising, novel treatment approach and a paradigm shift with regard to the combination of epigenetic-targeting compounds in AML, where decitabine has been traditionally given before HDACIs.
Project description:The Ecotropic viral integration site 1 (Evi1) is a zinc finger transcription factor, which is located on chromosome 3q26, over-expression in some acute myeloid leukemia (AML) and myelodysplastic syndrome (MDS). Elevated Evi1 expression in AML is associated with unfavorable prognosis. Therefore, Evi1 is one of the strong candidate in molecular target therapy for the leukemia. MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are small non-coding RNAs, vital to many cell functions that negatively regulate gene expression by translation or inducing sequence-specific degradation of target mRNAs. As a novel biologics, miRNAs is a promising therapeutic target due to its low toxicity and low cost. We screened miRNAs which down-regulate Evi1. miR-133 was identified to directly bind to Evi1 to regulate it. miR-133 increases drug sensitivity specifically in Evi1 expressing leukemic cells, but not in Evi1-non-expressing cells The results suggest that miR-133 can be promising therapeutic target for the Evi1 dysregulated poor prognostic leukemia.
Project description:Mixed lineage leukemia (MLL)-fusion proteins can induce acute myeloid leukemias (AMLs) from either hematopoietic stem cells (HSCs) or granulocyte-macrophage progenitors (GMPs), but it remains unclear whether the cell of origin influences the biology of the resultant leukemia. MLL-AF9-transduced single HSCs or GMPs could be continuously replated, but HSC-derived clones were more likely than GMP-derived clones to initiate AML in mice. Leukemia stem cells derived from either HSCs or GMPs had a similar immunophenotype consistent with a maturing myeloid cell (LGMP). Gene expression analyses demonstrated that LGMP inherited gene expression programs from the cell of origin including high-level Evi-1 expression in HSC-derived LGMP. The gene expression signature of LGMP derived from HSCs was enriched in poor prognosis human MLL-rearranged AML in three independent data sets. Moreover, global 5'-mC levels were elevated in HSC-derived leukemias as compared with GMP-derived leukemias. This mirrored a difference seen in 5'-mC between MLL-rearranged human leukemias that are either EVI1 positive or EVI1 negative. Finally, HSC-derived leukemias were more resistant to chemotherapy than GMP-derived leukemias. These data demonstrate that the cell of origin influences the gene expression profile, the epigenetic state and the drug response in AML, and that these differences can account for clinical heterogeneity within a molecularly defined group of leukemias.
Project description:We previously showed that the CD82/signal transducer and activator of transcription/interleukin-10 (IL-10) axis is activated in CD34+ /CD38- AML cells that favor the bone marrow microenvironment. The present study explored the novel biological function of IL-10 in regulation of expression of adhesion molecules in AML cells and found that exposing AML cells to IL-10 induced expression of E-cadherin, but not other adhesion molecules, including VLA4, CD29, and LFA1. Downregulation of E-cadherin with an siRNA suppressed the adhesion of leukemia cells to bone marrow-derived mesenchymal stem cells and enhanced the anti-leukemia effect of cytarabine. A microRNA (miRNA) database search identified an miR-9 as a candidate miRNA binding onto the 3'-UTR of E-cadherin and regulating its expression. Notably, treatment of leukemia cells with IL-10 decreased miR-9 expression through hypermethylation of the miR-9 CpG islands. In addition, downregulation of DNA methyltransferase 3A by siRNAs decreased E-cadherin expression in parallel with an increase in levels of miR-9 in leukemia cells. Notably, short hairpin RNA-mediated IL-10 downregulation impaired engraftment of human AML cells and enhanced the anti-leukemia effect of cytarabine in conjunction with miR-9 upregulation and E-cadherin downregulation in a human AML xenograft model. Taken together, the IL-10/E-cadherin axis may be a promising therapeutic target for treating AML.
Project description:Ecotropic viral integration site-1 (EVI1) is one of the candidate oncogenes for human acute myeloid leukemia (AML) with chromosomal alterations at 3q26. High EVI1 expression (EVI1(high)) is a risk factor for AML with poor outcome. Using DNA microarray analysis, we previously identified that integrin ?6 (ITGA6) was upregulated over 10-fold in EVI1(high) leukemia cells. In this study, we determined whether the increased expression of ITGA6 is associated with drug-resistance and increased cell adhesion, resulting in poor prognosis. To this end, we first confirmed the expression pattern of a series of integrin genes using semi-quantitative PCR and fluorescence-activated cell sorter (FACS) analysis and determined the cell adhesion ability in EVI1(high) leukemia cells. We found that the adhesion ability of EVI1(high) leukemia cells to laminin increased with the increased expression of ITGA6 and integrin ?4 (ITGB4). The introduction of small-hairpin RNA against EVI1 (shEVI1) into EVI1(high) leukemia cells reduced the cell adhesion ability and downregulated the expression of ITGA6 and ITGB4. In addition, the overexpression of EVI1 in EVI1(low) leukemia cells enhanced their cell adhesion ability and increased the expression of ITGA6 and ITGB4. In a subsequent experiment, the introduction of shRNA against ITGA6 or ITGB4 into EVI1(high) AML cells downregulated their cell adhesion ability; however, the EVI1(high) AML cells transfected with shRNA against ITGA6 could not be maintained in culture. Moreover, treating EVI1(high) leukemia cells with neutralizing antibodies against ITGA6 or ITGB4 resulted in an enhanced responsiveness to anti-cancer drugs and a reduction of their cell adhesion ability. The expression of ITGA6 is significantly elevated in cells from relapsed and EVI1(high) AML cases; therefore, ITGA6 might represent an important therapeutic target for both refractory and EVI1(high) AML.
Project description:Metabolic reprogramming of leukemia cells is important for survival, proliferation, and drug resistance under conditions of metabolic stress in the bone marrow. Deregulation of cellular metabolism, leading to development of leukemia, occurs through abnormally high expression of transcription factors such as MYC and Ecotropic Virus Integration site 1 protein homolog (EVI1). Overexpression of EVI1 in adults and children with mixed lineage leukemia-rearrangement acute myeloid leukemia (MLL-r AML) has a very poor prognosis. To identify a metabolic inhibitor for EVI1-induced metabolic reprogramming in MLL-r AML, we used an XFp extracellular flux analyzer to examine metabolic changes during leukemia development in mouse models of AML expressing MLL-AF9 and Evi1 (Evi1/MF9). Oxidative phosphorylation (OXPHOS) in Evi1/MF9 AML cells accelerated prior to activation of glycolysis, with a higher dependency on glutamine as an energy source. Furthermore, EVI1 played a role in glycolysis as well as driving production of metabolites in the tricarboxylic acid cycle. L-asparaginase (L-asp) exacerbated growth inhibition induced by glutamine starvation and suppressed OXPHOS and proliferation of Evi1/MF9 both in vitro and in vivo; high sensitivity to L-asp was caused by low expression of asparagine synthetase (ASNS) and L-asp-induced suppression of glutamine metabolism. In addition, samples from patients with EVI1+MF9 showed low ASNS expression, suggesting that it is a sensitive marker of L-asp treatment. Clarification of metabolic reprogramming in EVI1+ leukemia cells may aid development of treatments for EVI1+MF9 refractory leukemia.
Project description:BACKGROUND:microRNA-381 is dysregulated in a variety of cancers. However, its clinical significance in pediatric acute myeloid leukemia (AML) is still unclear. The purpose of this study was to detect the expression level of miR-381 in pediatric AML patients and to explore its potential clinical significance. METHODS:The levels of miR-381 in bone marrow and serum of 102 pediatric AML patients were measured by quantitative real-time polymorperase chain reaction (qRT-PCR). The diagnostic value of serum miR-381 in pediatric AML patients was evaluated by the receiver operating characteristic (ROC) curve. A Chi square test was used to analyze the relationship between serum miR-381 and the clinical characteristics of patients. Cox regression analysis and Kaplan-Meier evaluated the prognostic value of serum miR-381 in patients. Finally, the proliferation of the cells was analyzed by the CCK-8 assay. RESULTS:Compared with healthy controls, the levels of miR-381 in serum and bone marrow of pediatric AML patients were significantly decreased (P?<?0.001). ROC curve showed that miR-381 could distinguish pediatric AML cases from normal controls. At the same time, the downregulation of miR-381 was associated with M7 in the French-American-British (FAB) classifications and unfavorable cytogenetic risks (P?<?0.05). Low serum miR-381 levels were associated with poor overall survival of pediatric AML (log-rank test, P?=?0.011) and poor relapse-free survival (log-rank test, P?=?0.004). Cox regression analysis confirmed that reduced serum miR-381 was an independent predictor of poor prognosis in AML (HR?=?3.794, 95% CI 1.3633-10.559, P?=?0.011). In addition, low expression of miR-381 significantly reduced the proliferation of cells (P?<?0.05). CONCLUSION:All experimental results confirm that miR-381 has reduced bone marrow and serum expression in pediatric AML, and low levels of serum miR-381 have certain diagnostic and prognostic value in pediatric AML and may be a potential therapeutic target for AML.
Project description:MicroRNA-22 (miR-22) is emerging as a critical regulator in organ development and various cancers. However, its role in normal hematopoiesis and leukaemogenesis remains unclear. Here, we detected its increased expression during monocyte/macrophage differentiation of HL-60, THP1 cells and CD34+ hematopoietic stem/progenitor cells, and confirmed that PU.1, a key transcriptional factor for monocyte/macrophage differentiation, is responsible for transcriptional activation of miR-22 during the differentiation. By gain- and loss-of-function experiments, we demonstrated that miR-22 promoted monocyte/macrophage differentiation, and MECOM (EVI1) mRNA is a direct target of miR-22 and MECOM (EVI1) functions as a negative regulator in the differentiation. The miR-22-mediated MECOM degradation increased c-Jun but decreased GATA2 expression, which results in increased interaction between c-Jun and PU.1 via increasing c-Jun levels and relief of MECOM- and GATA2-mediated interference in the interaction, and thus promoting monocyte/macrophage differentiation. We also observed significantly down-regulation of PU.1 and miR-22 as well as significantly up-regulation of MECOM in acute myeloid leukemia (AML) patients. Reintroduction of miR-22 relieved the differentiation blockage and inhibited the growth of bone marrow blasts of AML patients. Our results revealed new function and mechanism of miR-22 in normal hematopoiesis and AML development and demonstrated its potential value in AML diagnosis and therapy.
Project description:All-trans retinoic acid (atRA) has a dramatic impact on the survival of patients with acute promyelocytic leukemia, but its therapeutic value in other types of acute myeloid leukemia (AML) has so far remained unclear. Given that AML is a stem cell-driven disease, recent studies have addressed the effects of atRA on leukemic stem cells (LSCs). atRA promoted stemness of MLL-AF9-driven AML in an Evi1-dependent manner but had the opposite effect in Flt3-ITD/Nup98-Hoxd13-driven AML. Overexpression of the stem cell-associated transcription factor EVI1 predicts a poor prognosis in AML, and is observed in different genetic subtypes, including cytogenetically normal AML. Here, we therefore investigated the effects of Evi1 in a mouse model for cytogenetically normal AML, which rests on the combined activity of Flt3-ITD and Npm1c mutations. Experimental expression of Evi1 on this background strongly promoted disease aggressiveness. atRA inhibited leukemia cell viability and stem cell-related properties, and these effects were counteracted by overexpression of Evi1. These data further underscore the complexity of the responsiveness of AML LSCs to atRA and point out the need for additional investigations which may lay a foundation for a precision medicine-based use of retinoids in AML.