Session: 603. Oncogenes and Tumor suppressors: Pre clinical models and Novel Targets
Hematology Disease Topics & Pathways:
AML, Biological, HSCs, Diseases, Pediatric, Biological Processes, Technology and Procedures, Cell Lineage, Xenograft models, gene editing, Study Population, Myeloid Malignancies, hematopoiesis, molecular interactions, pathogenesis
Methods: Human long-term hematopoietic stem cells (LT-HSCs) were sorted from normal karyotype and T21 fetal livers (N-FL and T21-FL) and subsequently CRISPR/Cas9 edited to try to establish a humanized model of Down Syndrome associated pre-leukemia and AMKL. To model the initiation of the pre-leukemic state, GATA1s mutations were introduced, while additional STAG2- mutations were overlaid to model the progression to fully transformed AMKL. CRISPR/Cas9-edited control, GATA1s, STAG2- and GATA1s/STAG2- LT-HSCs were functionally interrogated in near-clonal xenograft assays, along with transcriptional and epigenetic profiling.
Results: T21 status in combination with GATA1s had a profound synergistic effect on megakaryocytic lineage output in vivo compared to normal karyotype with GATA1s. Moreover, a high percentage of blasts were found in xenografts of GATA1s edited T21-FL LT-HSCs (>30%) but not in xenografts of GATA1s edited N-FL LT-HSCs. Conversely, GATA1s/STAG2- edited LT-HSCs generated grafts with >50% of blasts, regardless of T21 status. The immunophenotype of these blasts recapitulated those observed in patients diagnosed with Down Syndrome pre-leukemia and AMKL (CD117+CD34+CD41+CD71+CD33+CD4+CD7+). Thus, T21 is required for pre-leukemia development, but seems dispensable for AMKL as both N- and T21-FL LT-HSCs underwent leukemic transformation upon GATA1s/STAG2-.
Serial xenotransplantation assays from primary engrafted mice were carried out to assess self-renewal properties of GATA1s-induced pre-leukemia and GATA1s/STAG2- induced AMKL. Only GATA1s/STAG2- edited N- and T21-FL grafts were able to propagate the leukemic phenotype with a high stem cell frequency, which was endowed by the additional STAG2- knock-out. ATACseq and RNAseq profiling of blast populations revealed an enrichment of GATA-binding sites with concomitant up-regulation of genes implicated in translation.
To assess the role of progenitor cells in pre-leukemic initiation and leukemic progression, we CRISPR/Cas9 edited short-term HSCs, common myeloid progenitors and myelo-erythroid progenitors with GATA1s and/or STAG2- and subjected them to xenotransplantation. Strikingly, all progenitor subsets with combined GATA1s/STAG2- editing were able to drive leukemic transformation, while single GATA1s editing in the same subsets did not initiate pre-leukemia. This data strongly suggests that the initial GATA1s mutation must occur in T21 LT-HSCs, but subsequent STAG2 mutations can occur further downstream in progenitors.
Lastly, to gain insight into how chromosome 21 predisposes towards pre-leukemia, three chromosome 21 miRNAs (miR-99a, -125b-2 and -155) were identified to be up-regulated in T21-FL LT-HSCs compared to N-FL LT-HSCs. Over-expression of these miRNAs in N-FL LT-HSCs induced a T21-like state with increased myeloid and megakaryocytic skewing. Dramatically, CRISPR/Cas9-edited knock-out of these miRNAs in GATA1s edited T21-FL LT-HSCs resulted in a block of pre-leukemia initiation.
Conclusion: Our findings demonstrate that T21 is required for pre-leukemia initiation, which is mediated by over-expression of chromosome 21 miRNAs in LT-HSCs. Further, this data demonstrates different cell of origins between pre-leukemia initiation and AMKL progression. Ongoing studies focus on preventing the progression of pre-leukemia to AMKL by pharmacological targeting.
Disclosures: Dick: Bristol-Myers Squibb/Celgene: Research Funding.
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