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1319 The VWRPY Domain Is Essential for RUNX1 Function in Hematopoietic Progenitor Cell Maturation and Megakaryocyte Differentiation

Program: Oral and Poster Abstracts
Session: 602. Disordered Gene Expression in Hematologic Malignancy, including Disordered Epigenetic Regulation: Poster I
Hematology Disease Topics & Pathways:
Biological, Diseases, Therapies, Bleeding and clotting, Biological Processes, Platelet Disorders, gene therapy, hematopoiesis, pathogenesis
Saturday, December 1, 2018, 6:15 PM-8:15 PM
Hall GH (San Diego Convention Center)

Halah Alkadi, BSc, MSc, MT(ASCP)1,2*, David McKellar, BS1*, Tao Zhen, PhD1*, Tatiana Karpova, PhD3*, Lisa J Garrett, MS4*, Yongxing Gao, MS5*, Anfal A Alsadhan, MS6*, Erika Mijin Kwon, PhD1*, James J Greene, PhD6*, David A Ball, PhD3*, Linzhao Cheng, PhD5, April D Sorrell, MD7* and Paul P. Liu, MD8

1Oncogenesis and Development Section, National Human Genome Research Institute/ NIH, Bethesda, MD
2Biology, Catholic University of America, Alexandria, VA
3Optical Microscopy Core, National Cancer Institute/ NIH, Bethesda, MD
4Embryonic Stem Cells and Transgenic Mouse Core, National Human Genome Research Institute/ NIH, Bethesda, MD
5Division of Hematology and Stem Cell Program in Institute for Cell Engineering, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore, MD
6Biology, Catholic University of America, Washington, DC
7Children's Hospital of San Antonio, Baylor College of Medicine, San Antonio, TX
8National Human Genome Research Institute, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, MD

RUNX1 is a transcription factor essential during definitive hematopoiesis. Germline mutations in RUNX1 results in a disorder called Familial Platelet Disorder with Associated Myeloid Malignancy (FPDMM). FPDMM patients have abnormal bleeding due to reduced platelet count and/or function. Importantly, 20-60% of the FPDMM patients develop hematological malignancies, which are mainly myeloid. Reported RUNX1 mutations in FPDMM families are mostly clustered in the N-terminal runt domain and the C-terminal transactivation domain. Recently, three mutations have been reported at or near the end of the C-terminal repression domain, the VWRPY motif. However, the mechanism behind the VWRPY motif involvement in the FPDMM pathogenesis has not been studied. Interestingly, these VWRPY-mutated RUNX1 proteins still have intact runt and transactivation domains, but patients still show FPDMM phenotype. Here, we evaluate the functional defects of a RUNX1 mutation, L472fsX, which was reported in a FPDMM family, using three different experimental models. Our study is aimed to unravel the significance of the VWRPY motif in FPDMM pathogenesis.

The RUNX1 L472fsX mutation is caused by a GC insertion upstream of the VWRPY motif. The mutation results in a frameshift and a run on protein for an additional 123 amino acids. The frameshift abolishes the VWRPY motif, which is responsible for the binding between RUNX1 and a co-repressor protein, TLE1. As expected, from both FRET and co-IP assays, the mutated RUNX1 lost binding with TLE1. Interestingly, we observed increased binding between the mutated RUNX1 and its co-factor CBFβ in the FRET assay, as compared to the wildtype RUNX1. Furthermore, in reporter assays we found that TLE1 failed to repress the expression of a RUNX1 target, M-CSFR promoter, when co-transfected with the mutated RUNX1, which is contrary to what has been seen with wildtype RUNX1. Consistent with increased binding between the mutated RUNX1 and CBFβ in the FRET assay, co-transfecting mutant RUNX1 and CBFβ resulted in a significant increase of M-CSFR promoter expression as compared to wildtype RUNX1 with CBFβ. For another RUNX1 target, Hmga2, wildtype RUNX1 and CBFβ decreased Hmga2 expression, which could be restored by adding TLE1. Transfected mutant RUNX1 and CBFβ also decreased Hmga2 expression, but TLE1 could not restore Hmga2 expression when co-transfected with the mutant RUNX1. These findings suggest that the VWRPY-disrupting L472fsX mutation leads to the loss of binding between mutant RUNX1 and TLE1, which in turn resulted in defective repression of the RUNX1 activity by TLE1.

To assess for hematopoietic defects in the FPDMM patients with the L472fsX mutation, blood cells from two family members were reprogrammed to induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs). Similar to previous studies, iPSCs from these patients gave rise to fewer megakaryocyte progenitors and mature megakaryocytes during in vitro differentiation. In addition, these FPDMM iPSCs showed decrease in hematopoietic stem cell (HSCs) maturation and differentiation to progenitors. The L472fsX mutation in the iPSCs was then corrected by genome editing using zinc finger nuclease. Importantly, the hematopoietic defects of the FPDMM iPSCs mentioned above were rescued after mutation correction. Overall, the findings in these iPSCs differentiation assays showed that the VWRPY motif is essential for RUNX1 activity in megakaryocytes differentiation. In addition, the VWRPY motif is important for HSCs maturation and differentiation to progenitors.

To evaluate the impact of this VWRPY-deletion mutation on hematopoiesis in an in vivo model, CRISPR-mediated genome editing was used to generate mice with frameshift mutations that remove the VWRPY domain. Preliminary observations showed that the mutant mice have minor defects in the peripheral blood. More data on this mouse model will be presented at the meeting.

In conclusion, we present a novel RUNX1 mutation (L472fsX) with unique hematopoietic defect that has not been reported previously in FPDMM. Our findings imply the significance of the VWRPY motif in megakaryopoiesis, as well as HSCs maturation and differentiation.

Disclosures: No relevant conflicts of interest to declare.

*signifies non-member of ASH