BCOR Binding to MLL-AF9 Is Essential for Leukemia via Altered EYA1, SIX, and MYC Activity.
ABSTRACT: MLL is a target of chromosomal translocations in acute leukemias with poor prognosis. The common MLL fusion partner AF9 (MLLT3) can directly bind to AF4, DOT1L, BCOR, and CBX8. To delineate the relevance of BCOR and CBX8 binding to MLL-AF9 for leukemogenesis, here we determine protein structures of AF9 complexes with CBX8 and BCOR, and show that binding of all four partners to AF9 is mutually exclusive. Using the structural analyses, we identify point mutations that selectively disrupt AF9 interactions with BCOR and CBX8. In bone marrow stem/progenitor cells expressing point mutant CBX8 or point mutant MLL-AF9, we show that disruption of direct CBX8/MLL-AF9 binding does not impact in vitro cell proliferation, whereas loss of direct BCOR/MLL-AF9 binding causes partial differentiation and increased proliferation. Strikingly, loss of MLL-AF9/BCOR binding abrogated its leukemogenic potential in a mouse model. The MLL-AF9 mutant deficient for BCOR binding reduces the expression of the EYA1 phosphatase and the protein level of c-Myc. Reduction in BCOR binding to MLL-AF9 alters a MYC-driven gene expression program, as well as altering expression of SIX-regulated genes, likely contributing to the observed reduction in the leukemia-initiating cell population.
Project description:Chromosomal translocations involving the mixed lineage leukemia (MLL) gene lead to the development of acute leukemias. Constitutive HOX gene activation by MLL fusion proteins is required for MLL-mediated leukemogenesis; however, the underlying mechanisms remain elusive. Here, we show that chromobox homolog 8 (CBX8), a Polycomb Group protein that interacts with MLL-AF9 and TIP60, is required for MLL-AF9-induced transcriptional activation and leukemogenesis. Conversely, both CBX8 ablation and specific disruption of the CBX8 interaction by point mutations in MLL-AF9 abrogate HOX gene upregulation and abolish MLL-AF9 leukemic transformation. Surprisingly, Cbx8-deficient mice are viable and display no apparent hematopoietic defects. Together, our findings demonstrate that CBX8 plays an essential role in MLL-AF9 transcriptional regulation and leukemogenesis.
Project description:The MLL gene is a common target of chromosomal translocations found in human leukemia. MLL-fusion leukemia has a consistently poor outcome. One of the most common translocation partners is AF9 (MLLT3). MLL-AF9 recruits DOT1L, a histone 3 lysine 79 methyltransferase (H3K79me1/me2/me3), leading to aberrant gene transcription. We show that DOT1L has three AF9 binding sites and present the nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) solution structure of a DOT1L-AF9 complex. We generate structure-guided point mutations and find that they have graded effects on recruitment of DOT1L to MLL-AF9. Chromatin immunoprecipitation sequencing (ChIP-seq) analyses of H3K79me2 and H3K79me3 show that graded reduction of the DOT1L interaction with MLL-AF9 results in differential loss of H3K79me2 and me3 at MLL-AF9 target genes. Furthermore, the degree of DOT1L recruitment is linked to the level of MLL-AF9 hematopoietic transformation.
Project description:Rearrangement of the mixed lineage leukemia (MLL; also known as lysine methyltransferase 2A) gene is a recurrent genomic aberration in acute myeloid leukemia (AML). MLLT3, super elongation complex subunit (AF9) is one of the most common MLL fusion partners in AML. The present study aimed to explore the aberrant expression of genes associated with the MLL?AF9 translocation and identified potential new targets for the therapy of AML with MLL?AF9 translocation. The transcriptomic and epigenetic datasets were downloaded from National Center of Biotechnology Information Gene Expression Omnibus (GEO) database. Differentially expressed genes were obtained from two independent datasets (GSE68643 and GSE73457). Gene Ontology biological process and Kyoto Encyclopedia of Genes and Genomes pathway enrichment analysis was performed using the Database for Annotation, Visualization and Integrated Discovery. MLL?AF9?associated chromatin immunoprecipitation sequencing (ChIP?Seq) data was analyzed and identified binding sites for MLL?AF9 and wild type MLL (MLL WT). The ChIP?Seq of histone modification data was downloaded from the GEO database, including histone 3 lysine 4 trimethylation (H3K4me3), histone 3 lysine 79 dimethylation (H3K79me2) and histone 3 lysine 27 acetylation (H3K27ac), was used for comparing histone modification marks between the MLL?AF9 leukemia cells and normal hematopoietic cells at MLL?AF9 and MLL WT binding sites. The differentially expressed genes with the same trend in H3K79me2, H3K27ac and H3K4me3 alteration were identified as potential MLL?AF9 direct target genes. Upon validation using RNA?Seq data from the Therapeutically Applicable Research to Generate Effective Treatments AML project, eight potential direct target genes of MLL?AF9 were identified and further confirmed in MLL?AF9 mouse model using reverse transcription?quantitative polymerase chain reaction. These genes may have a critical role in AML with MLL?AF9 translocation.
Project description:BACKGROUND: The translocation t(9;11)(p22;q23) leading to the leukemogenic fusion gene MLL-AF9 is a frequent translocation in infant acute myeloid leukemia (AML). This study aimed to identify genes and molecular processes downstream of MLL-AF9 (alias MLL-MLLT3) which could assist to develop new targeted therapies for such leukemia with unfavorable prognosis. METHODS: In the AML cell line THP1 which harbors this t(9;11) translocation, endogenous MLL-AF9 was silenced via siRNA while ensuring specificity of the knockdown and its efficiency on functional protein level. RESULTS: The differential gene expression profile was validated for leukemia-association by gene set enrichment analysis of published gene sets from patient studies and MLL-AF9 overexpression studies and revealed 425 differentially expressed genes. Gene ontology analysis was consistent with a more differentiated state of MLL-AF9 depleted cells, with involvement of a wide range of downstream transcriptional regulators and with defined functional processes such as ribosomal biogenesis, chaperone binding, calcium homeostasis and estrogen response. We prioritized 41 gene products as candidate targets including several novel and potentially druggable effectors of MLL-AF9 (AHR, ATP2B2, DRD5, HIPK2, PARP8, ROR2 and TAS1R3). Applying the antagonist SCH39166 against the dopamine receptor DRD5 resulted in reduced leukemic cell characteristics of THP1 cells. CONCLUSION: Besides potential new therapeutic targets, the described transcription profile shaped by MLL-AF9 provides an information source into the molecular processes altered in MLL aberrant leukemia.
Project description:The MLL gene is a common target of chromosomal translocations found in human leukemia. MLL-fusion leukemias are consistently poor prognosis. One of the most common translocation partners is AF9 (a.k.a. MLLT3). MLL-AF9 recruits DOT1L, a histone 3 lysine 79 methyltransferase (H3K79me1/me2/me3), leading to aberrant gene transcription. We show that DOT1L has three AF9 binding sites, and present the NMR solution structure of a DOT1L-AF9 complex. We generated structure-guided point mutations with graded effects on recruitment of DOT1L to MLL-AF9. ChIP-Seq analyses of H3K79me2 and H3K79me3 show that graded reduction of the DOT1L interaction with MLL-AF9 results in selective losses in H3K79me2 and me3 marks at MLL-AF9 target genes. Furthermore, the degree of DOT1L recruitment defines the level of MLL-AF9 hematopoietic transformation. Hematopoietic progenitor cells isolated from mouse bone marrow were transduced with retrovirus expressing either wildtype MLL-AF9 (WT), mutants, MLL-AF9 (D544R) and MLL-AF9 (D546R). ChIP-Seq analyses were performed on these wildtype and mutant cells using H3K79me2 and H3K79me3 antibodies. 3 samples corresponding to ChIP-Seq with H3K79me2 antibody: 1) MLL-AF9 (WT) 2) MLL-AF9 (D544R) 3) MLL-AF9 (D546R) 3 Samples Corresponding to ChIP-Seq with H3K79me3 antibody: 4) MLL-AF9 (WT) 5) MLL-AF9 (D544R) 6) MLL-AF9 (D546R)
Project description:Stimulation of transcriptional elongation is a key activity of leukemogenic MLL fusion proteins. Here, we provide evidence that MLL-ENL also inhibits Polycomb-mediated silencing as a prerequisite for efficient transformation. Biochemical studies identified ENL as a scaffold that contacted the elongation machinery as well as the Polycomb repressive complex 1 (PRC1) component CBX8. These interactions were mutually exclusive in vitro, corresponding to an antagonistic behavior of MLL-ENL and CBX8 in vivo. CBX8 inhibited elongation in a specific reporter assay, and this effect was neutralized by direct association with ENL. Correspondingly, CBX8-binding-defective MLL-ENL could not fully activate gene loci necessary for transformation. Finally, we demonstrate dimerization of MLL-ENL as a neomorphic activity that may augment Polycomb inhibition and transformation.
Project description:In the present work we aimed to identify targetable signaling networks in human MLL-AF9 leukemias. We show that MLL-AF9 cells critically depend on FLT3-ligand induced pathways as well as on BRD3/4 for their survival. We evaluated the in vitro and in vivo efficacy of the BRD3/4 inhibitor I-BET151 in various human MLL-AF9 (primary) models and patient samples and analyzed the transcriptome changes following treatment. To further understand the mode of action of BRD3/4 inhibition, we performed ChIP-seq experiments on the MLL-AF9 complex in THP1 cells and compared it to RNA-seq data of I-BET151 treated cells. While we could confirm a consistent and specific downregulation of key-oncogenic drivers such as MYC and BCL2, we found that the majority of I-BET151-responsive genes were not direct MLL-AF9 targets. In fact, MLL-AF9 specific targets such as the HOXA cluster, MEIS1 and other cell cycle regulators such as CDK6 were not affected by I-BET151 treatment. Furthermore, we also highlight how MLL-AF9 transformed cells are dependent on the function of non-mutated hematopoietic transcription factors and tyrosine kinases such as the FLT3-TAK1/NF-kB pathway, again impacting on BCL2 but not on the HOXA cluster. We conclude that BRD3/4 and the FLT3-TAK1/NF-kB pathways collectively control a set of targets that are critically important for the survival of human MLL-AF9 cells.
Project description:The histone 3 lysine 79 (H3K79) methyltransferase Dot1l has been implicated in the development of leukemias bearing translocations of the Mixed Lineage Leukemia (MLL) gene. We identified the MLL-fusion targets in an MLL-AF9 leukemia model, and conducted epigenetic profiling for H3K79me2, H3K4me3, H3K27me3, and H3K36me3 in hematopoietic progenitor and leukemia stem cells (LSCs). We found abnormal profiles only for H3K79me2 on MLL-AF9 fusion target loci in LSCs. Inactivation of Dot1l led to downregulation of direct MLL-AF9 targets and an MLL translocation-associated gene expression signature, whereas global gene expression remained largely unaffected. Suppression of MLL translocation-associated gene expression corresponded with dependence of MLL-AF9 leukemia on Dot1l in vivo. These data point to DOT1L as a potential therapeutic target in MLL-rearranged leukemia.
Project description:The MLL fusion proteins, AF9 and ENL, activate target genes in part via recruitment of the histone methyltransferase DOT1L (disruptor of telomeric silencing 1-like). Here we report biochemical, biophysical, and functional characterization of the interaction between DOT1L and MLL fusion proteins, AF9/ENL. The AF9/ENL-binding site in human DOT1L was mapped, and the interaction site was identified to a 10-amino acid region (DOT1L865-874). This region is highly conserved in DOT1L from a variety of species. Alanine scanning mutagenesis analysis shows that four conserved hydrophobic residues from the identified binding motif are essential for the interactions with AF9/ENL. Binding studies demonstrate that the entire intact C-terminal domain of AF9/ENL is required for optimal interaction with DOT1L. Functional studies show that the mapped AF9/ENL interacting site is essential for immortalization by MLL-AF9, indicating that DOT1L interaction with MLL-AF9 and its recruitment are required for transformation by MLL-AF9. These results strongly suggest that disruption of interaction between DOT1L and AF9/ENL is a promising therapeutic strategy with potentially fewer adverse effects than enzymatic inhibition of DOT1L for MLL fusion protein-associated leukemia.
Project description:Mutation of the gene encoding the transcriptional corepressor BCOR results in the X-linked disorder Oculofaciocardiodental syndrome (OFCD or MCOPS2). Female OFCD patients suffer from severe ocular, craniofacial, cardiac, and digital developmental defects and males do not survive through gestation. BCOR can mediate transcriptional repression by the oncoprotein BCL6 and has the ability to reduce transcriptional activation by AF9, a known mixed-lineage leukemia (MLL) fusion partner. The essential role of BCOR in development and its ability to modulate activity of known oncogenic proteins prompted us to determine the expression profile of Bcor during mouse development. Identification of independently transcribed exons in the 5' untranslated region of Bcor suggests that three independent promoters control the expression of Bcor in mice. Although Bcor is widely expressed in adult mouse tissues, analysis of known spliced isoforms in the coding region of Bcor reveals differential isoform usage. Whole mount in situ hybridization of mouse embryos shows that Bcor is strongly expressed in the extraembryonic tissue during gastrulation and expression significantly increases throughout the embryo after embryonic turning. During organogenesis and fetal stages Bcor is differentially expressed in multiple tissue lineages, with a notable presence in the developing nervous system. Strikingly, we observed that Bcor expression in the eye, brain, neural tube, and branchial arches correlates with tissues affected in OFCD patients.