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42 TIF1β Enhances Self-Renewal Capacity of BCR-ABL Leukemic Stem Cells and Inhibits the Myeloid Differentiation

Program: Oral and Poster Abstracts
Type: Oral
Session: 602. Myeloid Oncogenesis: Basic: Therapeutic Targeting of Myeloid Malignancies
Hematology Disease Topics & Pathways:
Research, Fundamental Science, Biological Processes, molecular biology
Saturday, December 10, 2022: 10:45 AM

Mariko Morii, PhD1*, Sho Kubota, PhD1*, Mihoko Iimori1*, Ai Hamashima1*, Kimi Araki, PhD2,3* and Goro Sashida, MD, PhD1

1Laboratory of Transcriptional Regulation in Leukemogenesis, International Research Center for Medical Sciences, Kumamoto University, Kumamoto, Japan
2Institute of Resource Development and Analysis, Kumamoto University, Kumamoto, Japan
3Center for Metabolic Regulation of Healthy Aging, Kumamoto University, Kumamoto, Japan

Chronic myeloid leukemia (CML), characterized by expression of p210-BCR-ABL, is a clonal myeloproliferative disease initiated by malignant transformation of hematopoietic stem cells (HSC). Blastic crisis phase (BC) of CML that shows expansion of therapy-refractory and differentiation-arrested blasts, remains a therapeutic challenge. Transcription intermediary factor TIF1β/TRIM28/KAP1 modulates chromatin structure to repress or activate transcription of target genes. Tif1β is essential for the proliferation and differentiation of normal hematopoietic stem cells, but the role of Tif1β in myeloid leukemia is unclear. Recently, high expression of TIF1β was correlated with poor prognosis in patients with various types of cancer. By analyzing datasets of gene expression in bone marrow (BM) cells in CML patients, we found that TIF1β expression levels were robustly elevated in CML cells at the BC stage. Thus, we hypothesized that TIF1β functions as an oncogene for the development of BCR-ABL leukemia.

To determine whether TIF1β promoted the development of BCR-ABL-induced myeloid leukemia in vivo, we generated BCR-ABL;Tif1βf/f;Cre-ERT2 compound mice by crossing Rosa26 locus BCR-ABL conditional knock-in mice and Tif1βf/f;Cre-ERT2 conditional KO mice. We transplanted BM cells isolated from Cre-ERT2 (WT), Tif1βf/f;Cre-ERT2 (Tif1β KO), BCR-ABL;Cre-ERT2 (BCR-ABL), and BCR-ABL;Tif1βf/f;Cre-ERT2 (BCR-ABL;Tif1β KO) mice into lethally irradiated CD45.1+ WT recipient mice, and injected tamoxifen 4 weeks after BM transplantation. While BCR-ABL KI mice showed rapid expansion of leukemic blast cells and died in a short period of time, the deletion of Tif1β gene resulted in a significantly longer survival with reduced tumor burden in BM, liver and spleen in BCR-ABL KI mice. BCR-ABL KI mice mostly developed myeloid leukemia, in contrast, BCR-ABL;Tif1β KO mice dominantly showed B-cell leukemia or bone marrow failure diseases. A subset of BCR-ABL;Tif1β KO mice survived without development of lethal leukemia in the primary and the secondary transplantation settings, indicating that TIF1β maintained the self-renewal capacity of leukemic stem cells (LSCs) but also controlled the myeloid/lymphoid lineage commitment.

To elucidate the mechanisms underlying the impaired development of leukemia in BCR-ABL;Tif1β KO mice, we performed RNA sequencing analyses of HSCs isolated from WT, Tif1β KO, BCR-ABL, BCR-ABL;Tif1β KO mice. Gene set enrichment analysis revealed that the loss of Tif1β repressed BCR-ABL-induced activation of proliferative stem cell signatures, but increased expression of myeloid differentiation genes including PU.1 gene in HSCs. We found that BCR-ABL;Tif1β KO HSCs reduced expression levels of Myc and Myc-target genes including Fra1 transcription factor (TF), which was known to promote tumor cell proliferation. Notably, human CML-CP and CML-BC CD34+ cells markedly increased expression levels of MYC and FRA1 genes.

To clarify how the Tif1β protein controlled self-renewal of LSCs, we performed ATAC-sequencing in murine HSCs and TIF1β-ChIP-sequencing using BCR-ABL-expressing human leukemia cells. ATAC-seq revealed that BCR-ABL KI HSCs showed enrichments of binding motif of Fra1 in open chromatin and that of PU.1 in closed chromatin, compared to WT HSCs, while BCR-ABL;Tif1β KO HSCs cancelled those enrichments of binding motifs of TFs. TIF1β-ChIP-seq revealed that the TIF1β protein directly bound to a promoter region of the FRA1 gene. TIF1β binding sites were enriched with canonical PU.1- and JUN/FRA1-binding motifs. We also found that treatment with imatinib decreased enrichment of FRA1-binding motif among TIFβ-binding regions in BCR-ABL+ cells, indicating that TIFβ opened chromatin accessibility to activate expression of and transcriptional function of the Fra1 gene in a BCR-ABL dependent manner, but repressed the accessibility of myeloid differentiation regulator TFs. Furthermore, knockdown of Fra1 significantly impaired the proliferation of BCR-ABL stem cells in an in vitro condition.

In conclusion, we demonstrate that the Tif1β gene was required for the propagation of BCR-ABL-induced myeloid leukemia stem cell in mice. Tif1β enhanced chromatin accessibility of Fra1 TF to promote transcription of LSC signature genes, but also reduced chromatin accessibility at the PU.1-binding motif, resulting in the enhanced proliferation and limited differentiation of LSCs.

Disclosures: No relevant conflicts of interest to declare.

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