Session: Plenary Scientific Session
Hematology Disease Topics & Pathways:
AML, Diseases, Biological Processes, MPN, Myeloid Malignancies, pathogenesis, pathways
We next investigated the mechanism by which loss of STK11 cooperates with enhanced JAK/STAT signaling to promote leukemia. RNA-sequencing of wild-type, Stk11+/+/ MPLW515L, and Stk11-/-/MPLW515L hematopoietic cells revealed enrichment of a number of pathways related to hypoxia, oxidative phosphorylation and mitochondrial translation in cells lacking LKB1. Western blot assays confirmed activation of mTOR signaling as well as HIF1a stabilization and pathway activation, both of which have been reported to lie downstream of LKB1 loss.
We also performed a number of studies to determine the relevance of reduced LKB1 expression to leukemic progression. First, we induced deletion of Stk11 in mice that were transplanted with HSPCs expressing MPLW515L after development of the MPN phenotype. Loss of Stk11 caused a rapid lethality that was associated with enhanced bone marrow fibrosis and osteosclerosis. We also observed accumulation of leukemic blasts in small clusters consistent with AML transformation arising in the spent phase MPN. Additionally, we deleted STK11 by CRISPR/Cas9 in primary MPN patient samples and monitored their engraftment in immunocompromised mice. We observed enhanced engraftment and increased reticulin fibrosis and osteosclerosis in mice that received the STK11 edited cells compared to those with non-targeted sgRNA. Third, we compared the expression of STK11 in paired blast and chronic phase myelofibrosis patient samples by RT-PCR. Consistent with the hypothesis that loss of STK11 facilitates leukemia, we found that its expression was decreased by more than 50% in five of seven paired post-MPN AML patient samples, with two having STK11 levels below 20%. We further validated downregulation of LKB1 by immunohistochemistry on paired chronic and blast phase MPN specimens and observed little staining in the blast phase specimens. Finally, to further show that the mechanism of in vitro enhanced self-renewal is related to leukemia progression, we stained the paired marrows for HIF1a and saw a dramatic increase in staining at the AML phase. We also analyzed RNA-seq data of paired chronic versus blast phase MPNs specimens and observed that there is a strong congruence of enriched pathways that are associated with the in vitro mouse HSPC phenotype and the human blast phase progression, such as oxidative phosphorylation and hypoxia.
Together, our study demonstrates that loss of LKB1/STK11 promotes transformation of cells with activated JAK/STAT signaling and that STK11 is a prominent candidate tumor suppressor gene in post-MPN AML.
Disclosures: Gurbuxani: UpToDate: Honoraria. Hoffman: Dompe: Research Funding; Protagonist: Consultancy; Abbvie: Membership on an entity's Board of Directors or advisory committees; Forbius: Consultancy; Novartis: Membership on an entity's Board of Directors or advisory committees. Levine: Astellas: Consultancy; Amgen: Honoraria; Gilead: Honoraria; Qiagen: Current equity holder in publicly-traded company, Membership on an entity's Board of Directors or advisory committees; Morphosys: Consultancy; Novartis: Consultancy; Prelude Therapeutics: Research Funding; Loxo: Current equity holder in private company, Membership on an entity's Board of Directors or advisory committees; Imago: Current equity holder in private company, Membership on an entity's Board of Directors or advisory committees; C4 Therapeutics: Current equity holder in private company, Membership on an entity's Board of Directors or advisory committees; Isoplexis: Current equity holder in private company, Membership on an entity's Board of Directors or advisory committees; Celgene: Consultancy, Honoraria, Research Funding; Roche: Consultancy, Honoraria, Research Funding; Lilly: Consultancy, Honoraria; Janssen: Consultancy. Rampal: Blueprint: Consultancy; Jazz Pharmaceuticals: Consultancy; Constellation: Research Funding; Incyte: Consultancy, Research Funding; Celgene: Consultancy; Galecto: Consultancy; Promedior: Consultancy; Pharmaessentia: Consultancy; CTI Biopharma: Consultancy; Stemline: Consultancy, Research Funding; Abbvie: Consultancy.