TCEA1 regulates the proliferative potential of mouse myeloid cells.
ABSTRACT: Leukemia is a malignance with complex pathogenesis and poor prognosis. Discovery of noval regulators amenable to leukemia could be of value to gain insight into the pathogenesis, diagnosis and prognosis of leukemia. Here, we conducted a large-scale shRNA library screening for functional regulators in the development of myeloid cells in primary cells. We identified eighteen candidate regulators in the primary screening. Those genes cover a wide range of cellular functions, including gene expression regulation, intracellular signaling transduction, nucleotide excision repair, cell cycle control and transcription regulation. In both primary screening and validation, shRNAs targeting Tcea1, encoding the transcription elongation factor A (SII) 1, exhibited the greatest influence on the proliferative potential of cells. Knocking down the expression of Tcea1 in the 32Dcl3 myeloid cell line led to enhanced proliferation of myeloid cells and blockage of myeloid differentiation induced by G-CSF. In addition, silence of Tcea1 inhibited apoptosis of myeloid cells. Thus, Tcea1 was identified as a gene which can influence the proliferative potential, survival and differentiation of myeloid cells. These findings have implications for how transcriptional elongation influences myeloid cell development and leukemic transformation.
Project description:C/EBP? plays a key role in specifying myeloid lineage development. HoxA9 is expressed in myeloid progenitors, with its level diminishing during myeloid maturation, and HOXA9 is over-expressed in a majority of acute myeloid leukemia cases, including those expressing NUP98-HOXD13. The objective of this study was to determine whether HoxA9 directly represses Cebpa gene expression. We find 4-fold increased HoxA9 and 5-fold reduced Cebpa in marrow common myeloid and LSK progenitors from Vav-NUP98-HOXD13 transgenic mice. Conversely, HoxA9 decreases 5-fold while Cebpa increases during granulocytic differentiation of 32Dcl3 myeloid cells. Activation of exogenous HoxA9-ER in 32Dcl3 cells reduces Cebpa mRNA even in the presence of cycloheximide, suggesting direct repression. Cebpa transcription in murine myeloid cells is regulated by a hematopoietic-specific +37 kb enhancer and by a more widely active +8 kb enhancer. ChIP-Seq analysis of primary myeloid progenitor cells expressing exogenous HoxA9 or HoxA9-ER demonstrates that HoxA9 localizes to both the +8 kb and +37 kb Cebpa enhancers. Gel shift analysis demonstrates HoxA9 binding to three consensus sites in the +8 kb enhancer, but no affinity for the single near-consensus site present in the +37 kb enhancer. Activity of a Cebpa +8 kb enhancer/promoter-luciferase reporter in 32Dcl3 or MOLM14 myeloid cells is increased ~2-fold by mutation of its three HOXA9-binding sites, suggesting that endogenous HoxA9 represses +8 kb Cebpa enhancer activity. In contrast, mutation of five C/EBP?-binding sites in the +8 kb enhancer reduces activity 3-fold. Finally, expression of a +37 kb enhancer/promoter-hCD4 transgene reporter is reduced ~2-fold in marrow common myeloid progenitors when the Vav-NUP98-HOXD13 transgene is introduced. Overall, these data support the conclusion that HoxA9 represses Cebpa expression, at least in part via inhibition of its +8 kb enhancer, potentially allowing normal myeloid progenitors to maintain immaturity and contributing to the pathogenesis of acute myeloid leukemia associated with increased HOXA9.
Project description:Identification of genes that regulate clonogenicity of acute myelogenous leukemia (AML) cells is hindered by the difficulty of isolating pure populations of cells with defined proliferative abilities. By analyzing the growth of clonal siblings in low passage cultures of the cell line OCI/AML4 we resolved this heterogeneous population into strata of distinct clonogenic potential, permitting analysis of the transcriptional signature of single cells with defined proliferative abilities. By microarray analysis we showed that the expression of the orphan nuclear receptor EAR-2 (NR2F6) is greater in leukemia cells with extensive proliferative capacity than in those that have lost proliferative ability. EAR-2 is expressed highly in long-term hematopoietic stem cells, relative to short-term hematopoietic stem and progenitor cells, and is downregulated in AML cells after induction of differentiation. Exogenous expression of EAR-2 increased the growth of U937 cells and prevented the proliferative arrest associated with terminal differentiation, and blocked differentiation of U937 and 32Dcl3 cells. Conversely, silencing of EAR-2 by short-hairpin RNA initiated terminal differentiation of these cell lines. These data identify EAR-2 as an important factor in the regulation of clonogenicity and differentiation, and establish that analysis of clonal siblings allows the elucidation of differences in gene expression within the AML hierarchy.
Project description:YEATS domain containing 4 (YEATS4) is usually amplified and functions as an oncogene in several malignancies, such as colorectum, ovarian, breast and lung. However, the biological role of YEATS4 in hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) has not yet been discussed. Herein, we found that YEATS4 was significantly upregulated in HCC compared to para-cancerous tissues, and was associated with poor prognosis, large tumor size, poor differentiation and distant metastasis. In addition, YEATS4 promoted HCC cell proliferation and colony formation by binding to and increasing the transcriptional activity of the TCEA1 promoter. Concurrently, upregulation of TCEA1 increased the stability of the DDX3 protein, a member of the DEAD box RNA helicase family, and augmented the proliferative and colony forming ability of HCC cells. Furthermore, YEATS4 accelerated tumor growth in vivo in a xenograft HCC model. Taken together, our study provides evidence for the first time on the potential role of the YEATS4/TCEA1/DDX3 axis in regulating HCC progression, and presents YEATS4 as a promising therapeutic target and prognosis maker for HCC.
Project description:Deletion of Runx1 in adult mice produces a myeloproliferative phenotype. We now find that Runx1 gene deletion increases marrow monocyte while reducing granulocyte progenitors and that exogenous RUNX1 rescues granulopoiesis. Deletion of Runx1 reduces Cebpa mRNA in lineage-negative marrow cells and in granulocyte-monocyte progenitors or common myeloid progenitors. Pu.1 mRNA is also decreased, but to a lesser extent. We also transduced marrow with dominant-inhibitory RUNX1a. As with Runx1 gene deletion, RUNX1a expands lineage-Sca-1+c-kit+ and myeloid cells, increased monocyte CFUs relative to granulocyte CFUs, and reduced Cebpa mRNA. Runx1 binds a conserved site in the Cebpa promoter and binds 4 sites in a conserved 450-bp region located at +37 kb; mutation of the enhancer sites reduces activity 6-fold in 32Dcl3 myeloid cells. Endogenous Runx1 binds the promoter and putative +37 kb enhancer as assessed by ChIP, and RUNX1-ER rapidly induces Cebpa mRNA in these cells, even in cycloheximide, consistent with direct gene regulation. The +37 kb region contains strong H3K4me1 histone modification and p300-binding, as often seen with enhancers. Finally, exogenous C/EBP? increases granulocyte relative to monocyte progenitors in Runx1-deleted marrow cells. Diminished CEBPA transcription and consequent impairment of myeloid differentiation may contribute to leukemic transformation in acute myeloid leukemia cases associated with decreased RUNX1 activity.
Project description:Inherited or sporadic heterozygous mutations in the transcription factor GATA2 lead to a clinical syndrome characterized by non-tuberculous mycobacterial and other opportunistic infections, a severe deficiency in monocytes, B cells and natural killer cells, and progression from a hypocellular myelodysplastic syndrome to myeloid leukemias. To identify acquired somatic mutations associated with myeloid transformation in patients with GATA2 mutations, we sequenced the region of the ASXL1 gene previously associated with transformation from myelodysplasia to myeloid leukemia. Somatic, heterozygous ASXL1 mutations were identified in 14/48 (29%) of patients with GATA2 deficiency, including four out of five patients who developed a proliferative chronic myelomonocytic leukemia. Although patients with GATA2 mutations had a similarly high incidence of myeloid transformation when compared to previously described patients with ASXL1 mutations, GATA2 deficiency patients with acquired ASXL1 mutation were considerably younger, almost exclusively female, and had a high incidence of transformation to a proliferative chronic myelomonocytic leukemia. These patients may benefit from allogeneic hematopoietic stem cell transplantation before the development of acute myeloid leukemia or chronic myelomonocytic leukemia. (ClinicalTrials.gov identifier NCT00018044, NCT00404560, NCT00001467, NCT00923364.).
Project description:Among mutations in human Runx1/AML1 transcription factors, the t(8;21)(q22;q22) genomic translocation that creates an AML1-ETO fusion protein is implicated in etiology of the acute myeloid leukemia. To identify genes and components associated with this oncogene we used Drosophila as a genetic model. Expression of AML1-ETO caused an expansion of hematopoietic precursors in Drosophila, which expressed high levels of reactive oxygen species (ROS). Mutations in functional domains of the fusion protein suppress the proliferative phenotype. In a genetic screen, we found that inactivation of EcRB1 or activation of Foxo and superoxide dismutase-2 (SOD2) suppress the AML1-ETO-induced phenotype by reducing ROS expression in the precursor cells. Our studies indicate that ROS is a signaling factor promoting maintenance of normal as well as the aberrant myeloid precursors and suggests the importance of antioxidant enzymes and their regulators as targets for further study in the context of leukemia.
Project description:Hematopoiesis is a tightly regulated process involving the control of gene expression that directs the transition from hematopoietic stem and progenitor cells to terminally differentiated blood cells. In leukemia, the processes directing self-renewal, differentiation and progenitor cell expansion are disrupted, leading to the accumulation of immature, non-functioning malignant cells. Insights into these processes have come in stages, based on technological advances in genetic analyses, bioinformatics and biological sciences. The first cytogenetic studies of leukemic cells identified chromosomal translocations that generate oncogenic fusion proteins and most commonly affect regulators of transcription. This was followed by the discovery of recurrent somatic mutations in genes encoding regulators of the signal transduction pathways that control cell proliferation and survival. Recently, studies of global changes in methylation and gene expression have led to the understanding that the output of transcriptional regulators and the proliferative signaling pathways are ultimately influenced by chromatin structure. Candidate gene, whole-genome and whole-exome sequencing studies have identified recurrent somatic mutations in genes encoding epigenetic modifiers in both acute myeloid leukemia (AML) and acute lymphoid leukemia (ALL). In contrast to the two-hit model of leukemogenesis, emerging evidence suggests that these epigenetic modifiers represent a class of mutations that are critical to the development of leukemia and affect the regulation of various other oncogenic pathways. In this review, we discuss the range of recurrent, somatic mutations in epigenetic modifiers found in leukemia and how these modifiers relate to the classical leukemogenic pathways that lead to impaired cell differentiation and aberrant self-renewal and proliferation.
Project description:CCAAT/enhancer-binding protein alpha (C/EBP?) is an important transcription factor involved in granulocytic differentiation. Here, for the first time we demonstrate that E6-associated protein (E6AP), an E3 ubiquitin ligase targets C/EBP? for ubiquitin-mediated proteasome degradation and thereby negatively modulates its functions. Wild-type E6AP promotes ubiquitin dependent proteasome degradation of C/EBP?, while catalytically inactive E6-associated protein having cysteine replaced with alanine at amino-acid position 843 (E6AP-C843A) rather stabilizes it. Further, these two proteins physically associate both in non-myeloid (overexpressed human embryonic kidney epithelium) and myeloid cells. We show that E6AP-mediated degradation of C/EBP? protein expression curtails its transactivation potential on its target genes. Noticeably, E6AP degrades both wild-type 42?kDa CCAAT-enhancer-binding protein alpha (p42C/EBP?) and mutant isoform 30?kDa CCAAT-enhancer-binding protein alpha (p30C/EBP?), this may explain perturbed p42C/EBP?/p30C/EBP? ratio often observed in acute myeloid leukemia (AML). We show that overexpression of catalytically inactive E6AP-C843A in C/EBP? inducible K562- p42C/EBP?-estrogen receptor (ER) cells inhibits ?-estradiol (E2)-induced C/EBP? degradation leading to enhanced granulocytic differentiation. This enhanced granulocytic differentiation upon E2-induced activation of C/EBP? in C/EBP? stably transfected cells (?-estradiol inducible K562 cells stably expressing p42C/EBP?-ER (K562-C/EBP?-p42-ER)) was further substantiated by siE6AP-mediated knockdown of E6AP in both K562-C/EBP?-p42-ER and 32dcl3 (32D clone 3, a cell line widely used model for in vitro study of hematopoietic cell proliferation, differentiation, and apoptosis) cells. Taken together, our data suggest that E6AP targeted C/EBP? protein degradation may provide a possible explanation for both loss of expression and/or functional inactivation of C/EBP? often experienced in myeloid leukemia.
Project description:The transcription factor MYB plays key roles in hematopoietic cells and has been implicated the development of leukemia. MYB has therefore emerged as an attractive target for drug development. Recent work has suggested that targeting MYB by small-molecule inhibitors is feasible and that inhibition of MYB has potential as a therapeutic approach against acute myeloid leukemia. To facilitate the identification of small-molecule MYB inhibitors we have re-designed and improved a previously established cell-based screening assay and have employed it to screen a natural product library for potential inhibitors. Our work shows that teniposide and etoposide, chemotherapeutic agents causing DNA-damage by inhibiting topoisomerase II, potently inhibit MYB activity and induce degradation of MYB in AML cell lines. MYB inhibition is suppressed by caffeine, suggesting that MYB is inhibited indirectly via DNA-damage signalling. Importantly, ectopic expression of an activated version of MYB in pro-myelocytic NB4 cells diminished the anti-proliferative effects of teniposide, suggesting that podophyllotoxins disrupt the proliferation of leukemia cells not simply by inducing general DNA-damage but that their anti-proliferative effects are boosted by inhibition of MYB. Teniposide and etoposide therefore act like double-edged swords that might be particularly effective to inhibit tumor cells with deregulated MYB.
Project description:NR4As are AML tumor suppressors that are frequently silenced in human acute myeloid leukemia (AML). Despite their potential as novel targets for therapeutic intervention, mechanisms of NR4A silencing and strategies for their reactivation remain poorly defined. Here we show that NR4A silencing in AML occurs through blockade of transcriptional elongation rather than epigenetic promoter silencing. By intersection of NR4A-regulated gene signatures captured upon acute, exogenous expression of NR4As in human AML cells with in silico chemical genomics screening, we identify several FDA-approved drugs including dihydroergotamine (DHE) that reactivate NR4A expression and regulate NR4A-dependent gene signatures. We show that DHE induces NR4A expression via recruitment of the super elongation complex to enable elongation of NR4A promoter paused RNA polymerase II. Finally, DHE exhibits AML selective NR4A-dependent anti-leukemic activity in cytogenetically distinct human AML cells in vitro and delays AML progression in mice revealing its potential as a novel therapeutic agent in AML.