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944 Adenylate Kinase 2 Is a Selective Dependency in NSD2-High Multiple Myeloma

Program: Oral and Poster Abstracts
Session: 602. Disordered Gene Expression in Hematologic Malignancy, including Disordered Epigenetic Regulation: Poster I
Hematology Disease Topics & Pathways:
multiple myeloma, Diseases, Biological Processes, Plasma Cell Disorders, epigenetics, Lymphoid Malignancies, genomics
Saturday, December 5, 2020, 7:00 AM-3:30 PM

Amin Sobh, PhD1, Charlotte Kaestner1*, Jianping Li, MD1, Alberto Riva, PhD2*, Richard Lynn Bennett, PhD2 and Jonathan D. Licht, MD1

1Department of Medicine, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL
2Cancer and Genetics Research Complex, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL

Background: Multiple myeloma (MM)-associated t (4;14) chromosomal translocation leads to overexpression of NSD2, the histone H3 lysine 36 specific methyltransferase. t(4;14) MM patients have a high risk of relapse and NSD2 overexpression drives an oncogenic epigenetic and transcriptional program promoting clonogenicity, proliferation, altered adhesion and chemoresistance in MM cells. The lack of a specific and potent NSD2 inhibitors mandates finding alternative strategies for treating NSD2-high MM.

Aim: This study aims to test the hypothesis that NSD2 overexpression in MM cells generates cellular vulnerabilities that can be therapeutically exploited for treatment of t (4;14) MM.

Methods: We conducted a genome wide CRISPR-based loss-of-function genetic screen using the human Brunello library in isogenic NSD2-high (NTKO) and NSD2-low (TKO) KMS-11 derived MM cells to define genes whose loss is selectively detrimental to cells with NSD2 overexpression. The cellular dependency of each identified candidate was then investigated across hundreds of human cell lines using the Cancer Dependency Map portal (www.Depmap.org). Candidate genes were validated using CRISPR-Cas9 gene knockout and shRNA knockdown of individual target genes followed by in vitro competitive growth assays and cell viability assays.

Results: Our study revealed multiple candidate genes with increased dependency in NSD2-high cells including the adenine nucleotide regulator Adenylate Kinase 2 (AK2). AK2 catalyzes the reversible conversion of ADP to AMP and ATP and can thus modulates energy balance within the cell. Dependency map analysis showed that AK2 is not a commonly essential gene. The top enriched lineages with AK2 dependency included MM with notable representation of t(4;14)-positive MM cell lines. The increased dependency of NTKO and other t (4;14) MM cells on AK2 was confirmed by in vitro competition assays. Disruption of AK2 in TKO cells had a minimal effect on cellular fitness but the dependency on AK2 was restored upon engineered overexpression of NSD2 in these cells. In addition, NSD2-high cells displayed higher sensitivity to the proteasome inhibitor bortezomib than NSD2-low cells suggesting elevated levels of endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress in cells overexpressing NSD2. Elevated ER stress necessitates increased levels of ATP to refold proteins and could underlie the increased dependency of NSD2-high cells on AK2. Notably, suppression of AK2 increased bortezomib sensitivity in t (4;14) MM cell lines.

Conclusions: Our findings indicate that NSD2 high t(4;14) MM may have a vulnerability due to increased proteostatic stress. Accordingly, AK2 inhibition could be used in combination with proteasome inhibitors to treat MM patients with t (4;14) translocations by inducing the accumulation of lethal levels of unfolded proteins.

Disclosures: No relevant conflicts of interest to declare.

*signifies non-member of ASH