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1573 Targeting DNA2 Overcomes Myeloma Cells’ Metabolic Reprogramming in Response to DNA Damage

Program: Oral and Poster Abstracts
Session: 651. Multiple Myeloma and Plasma Cell Dyscrasias: Basic and Translational: Poster I
Hematology Disease Topics & Pathways:
Translational Research
Saturday, December 11, 2021, 5:30 PM-7:30 PM

Natthakan Thongon, PhD1, Andrea Santoni, PhD1*, Jintan Liu, PhD2*, Natalia Baran, PhD, MD1, Feiyang Ma, PhD3*, Christopher Jackson, BS1*, Pamela Lockyer, MS1*, Irene Ganan-Gomez, PhD1, Vera Adema, PhD1*, Ashley Rose, MD4, Matteo Marchesini, PhD1,5*, Yun Qing, PhD6*, Min Jin Ha, PhD6*, Caleb Class, PhD6*, Matteo Pellegrini, PhD3*, Lin Tan7*, Philip Lorenzi, PhD8, Marina Konopleva, MD, PhD1 and Simona Colla, PhD1*

1Department of Leukemia, The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, TX
2Department of Genomic Medicine, The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, TX
3Molecular Biology Institute, Molecular Cell and Developmental Biology, University of California, Los Angeles, Los Angeles, CA
4Department of Leukemia, The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, Tampa, FL
5Department of Medicine and Surgery, University of Parma, Parma, Italy
6Department of Biostatistics, The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, TX
7Department of Bioinformatics and Computational Biology and The Proteomics and Metabolomics Core Facility, The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, TX
8Department of Bioinformatics and Computational Biology, The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, TX

DNA damage resistance is a major barrier to effective DNA-damaging anticancer therapy in multiple myeloma (MM). To discover novel mechanisms through which MM cells overcome DNA damage, we investigated how MM cells become resistant to antisense therapy targeting ILF2, an important DNA damage regulator in MM (Marchesini et. al., Cancer Cell 2017). We continuously treated JJN3 and KMS11 cells with an ILF2-targeting antisense oligonucleotide (ILF2 ASOs) or control non-targeting antisense oligonucleotide (NT ASOs). Whereas KMS11 cells maintained a high level of DNA damage activation and a significantly increased rate of apoptosis after 3 weeks of ILF2 ASOs treatment, JJN3 cells overcame ILF2 ASO-induced DNA damage activation and became resistant to ILF2 ASOs treatment.

To evaluate whether continuous ILF2 ASOs exposure could lead to the selection of MM clones intrinsically resistant to ILF2 ASO-induced DNA damage, we performed single-cell RNA seq (scRNA-seq) analysis of JJN3 cells treated with NT or ILF2 ASOs for 3 weeks. Our analysis divided JJN3 cells into 2 main clusters that were independent of treatment (Fig. 1A), suggesting that persistent exposure to ILF2 ASOs did not induce clonal selection. Differential gene expression analysis of NT ASO- and ILF2 ASO-treated cells in each of these clusters revealed that DNA damage resistant ILF2 ASO-treated cells had significantly upregulated oxidative phosphorylation (OXPHOS), DNA repair signaling, and reactive oxidative species (ROS). Consistent with these results, metabolomic analysis of JJN3 cells after long-term exposure to ILF2-ASOs showed a significant enrichment of tricarboxylic acid cycle (TCA) intermediates (Fig. 1B). ILF2-ASO-resistant MM cells were significantly more sensitive to the OXPHOS inhibitor IACS-010759 than ILF2-ASO-sensitive cells were. These data suggest that MM cells can undergo an adaptive metabolic rewiring to restore energy balance and promote survival in response to DNA damage.

We then hypothesized that ILF2-ASO-resistant cells’ metabolic reprogramming relies on the repair of DNA damage induced by ILF2 depletion or by the generation of ROS from activated mitochondrial metabolism and that targeting DNA repair proteins involved in these processes overcomes DNA damage resistance. We used a CRISPR/Cas9 library screening strategy to identify DNA repair genes whose loss of function suppresses MM cells’ ability to overcome ILF2-ASO-induced DNA damage. Compared with those in NT-ASO-treated cells, DNA2-targeting sgRNAs were significantly depleted after 3 weeks of treatment in ILF2-ASO-treated JJN3 cells but not in ILF2-ASO-treated KMS11 cells. These data suggest that DNA2 is needed to promote resistance to ILF2 depletion. Accordingly, the DNA2 inhibitor NSC105808 (NSC) significantly enhanced ILF2-ASO-induced apoptosis in JJN3 cells. These data gain added significance in light of previous findings that DNA2 is a nuclear and mitochondrial DNA nuclease/helicase that enables cancer cells to counteract the DNA replication stress and mitochondrial oxidative DNA damage induced by DNA-damaging agents. Accordingly, we observed that DNA2 was mainly localized into the mitochondria of MM cells.

To dissect the mechanisms of DNA2 inhibition-induced synthetic lethality, we evaluated whether DNA2 activity is essential to maintain activated OXPHOS, which ILF2-ASO-resistant cells require to survive. The quantification of mitochondrial respiratory activity in NT-ASO-and ILF2-ASO-treated MM cells exposed to NSC for 72 hours showed that DNA2 activity inhibition significantly decreased the oxygen consumption rate while increasing ROS production in only ILF2-depleted cells. Transmission electron microscopy analysis showed that NSC-treated ILF2-depleted cells had fragmented mitochondrial cristae structures, whose perturbations affect the OXPHOS system structure and impair cell metabolism. These data suggest that DNA2 is essential to counteract oxidative DNA damage and maintain mitochondrial respiration after MM cells’ metabolic reprogramming.

In conclusion, our study has revealed a novel mechanism through which MM cells can overcome DNA damage activation. Further studies will clarify whether targeting DNA2 is synthetically lethal in tumors with increased demand of mitochondrial metabolism.

Disclosures: Konopleva: Genentech: Consultancy, Honoraria, Other: grant support, Research Funding; AbbVie: Consultancy, Honoraria, Other: Grant Support, Research Funding; Sanofi: Other: grant support, Research Funding; Ablynx: Other: grant support, Research Funding; Reata Pharmaceuticals: Current holder of stock options in a privately-held company, Patents & Royalties: intellectual property rights; Agios: Other: grant support, Research Funding; Cellectis: Other: grant support; Rafael Pharmaceuticals: Other: grant support, Research Funding; Calithera: Other: grant support, Research Funding; Forty Seven: Other: grant support, Research Funding; Ascentage: Other: grant support, Research Funding; AstraZeneca: Other: grant support, Research Funding; F. Hoffmann-La Roche: Consultancy, Honoraria, Other: grant support; Stemline Therapeutics: Research Funding; Novartis: Other: research funding pending, Patents & Royalties: intellectual property rights; Eli Lilly: Patents & Royalties: intellectual property rights, Research Funding; KisoJi: Research Funding.

*signifies non-member of ASH