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1070 Mechanisms of Primaquine Induced Hemolysis in a Novel Humanized Murine Model of Mediterranean G6PD Deficiency

Program: Oral and Poster Abstracts
Session: 101. Red Cells and Erythropoiesis, Excluding Iron: Poster I
Hematology Disease Topics & Pathways:
Research, Fundamental Science, Translational Research
Saturday, December 9, 2023, 5:30 PM-7:30 PM

Karolina Dziewulska-Cronk1*, Julie A Reisz, PhD2*, Travis Nemkov, PhD3*, Ariel M Hay4*, Aaron Issaian3*, Francesca Cendali, BS5, Monika Dzieciatkowska, Ph.D6*, Fabia Gamboni7*, Derek Lamb, BSc8*, Mitasha Palha9*, Joseph Kao9*, Paul Buehler, PharmD, PhD8*, Angelo D'Alessandro, PhD2, Robert Commons10* and James C Zimring, MD, PhD1*

1University of Virginia School of Medicine, Charlottesville, VA
2Biochemistry and Molecular Genetics, University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus, Aurora, CO
3University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus, Aurora, CO
4University of Virginia, Charlottesville, VA
5University of Colorado School of Medicine, Anschutz, Aurora, CO
6University of Colorado Denver - Anschutz Medical Campus, Aurora, CO
7University of Colorado, Aurora, CO
8Center for Blood Oxygen Transport and Hemostasis, University of Maryland, Baltimore, MD
9University of Maryland, Baltimore
10Menzies School of Medicine, Darwin, Australia

Background: Approximately half a billion individuals are genetically deficient in glucose 6-phosphate dehydrogenase (G6PD) due to amino acid variants generally thought to decrease enzyme half-life. Decreased G6PD activity limits the antioxidant capacity of red blood cells (RBCs). As such, certain drugs that induce oxidative stress can cause life-threatening hemolysis in G6PD deficient (G6DPd) individuals. Standard regiments of the only approved drugs that can cure liver phase Plasmodium vivax (p. vivax) (i.e. primaquine and tafenoquine) are contraindicated in G6PDd patients due to risks of hemolysis. Effective treatment of G6PDd individuals infected with p. vivax requires a prolonged course of primaquine (8 weeks), leading to non-adherence, and subsequent reduced efficacy and increased risk of transmission. Despite decades of research and large drug screening programs, no non-hemolytic compound has been identified that can eradicate p. vivax. Lack of progress in this area has likely been hampered by an incomplete mechanistic understanding of primaquine induced hemolysis, in part due to the lack of an animal model that recapitulates G6PD instability.

Methods: Recombinant non-deficient human hG6PD(ND) or the deficient Mediterranean variant (hG6PD(MED)) were expressed, purified, and subjected to thermal proteome profiling in combination with TMT10-assisted quantitative cross-linking proteomics. Mice were generated in which murine genomic G6PD is replaced with either genomic human hG6PD(ND) or hG6PD(MED). Hemolysis in humans is caused by primaquine metabolites (e.g. primaquine-5,6-orthoquinone (5,6-POQ)) and not primaquine itself. As such, RBCs from both strains were exposed to 5,6-POQ and then analyzed by 1) high resolution metabolomics and proteomics, 2) electron paramagnetic resonance (EPR) to measure superoxide, 3) methemoglobin (MetHb) formation, 4) light and electron microscopy, 5) in vitro hemolysis, and 6) in vivo hemolysis (clearance) after infusion into animals. In vivo pulse chase biotinylation allowed visualization and identification of younger (1-6 days) RBCs vs. older (7-55 day) RBCs.

Results: Recombinant hG6PD(MED) enzyme had a 2.6-fold lower specific activity compared to hG6PD(ND). Thermal gradient crosslinking proteomics identified specific amino acid spacing (less than 26 angstroms) that was higher in hG6PD(ND) [82-95 and 91-432] vs. higher in hG6PD(MED) [89-205, 97-429, and 429-497]. Analysis of mice demonstrated that hG6PD(MED) RBCs had 5% of G6PD activity as compared to hG6PD(ND) RBCs, with an RBC age dependent decrease in G6PD activity in hG6PD(MED) RBCs. Exposure to 5,6-POQ caused increased superoxide generation, increased MetHb formation, alterations to morphology, in vitro hemolysis, and in vivo hemolysis of hG6PD(MED) RBCs compared to hG6PD(ND) RBCs. However, younger hG6PD(MED) RBCs with higher G6PD activity were highly resistant to 5,6-POQ induced hemolysis (both in vivo and in vitro). All experiments were carried out a minimum of 3 times and all stated findings were statistically significant (p<0.05). Proteomic and metabolomic analysis (with combined samples from multiple experiments) demonstrated oxidation of glyceraldehyde 3-phosphate dehydrogenase (GAPDH), resulting in a block in glycolysis that increases dihydroxyacetone phosphate (DHAP) leading to cytotoxic methylglyoxal that broadly oxidizes protein lysines to carboxymethyllysine (CML) - the first step in advanced glycation end products (AGEs) known to facilitate RBC clearance.

Discussion: We identify specific conformational changes caused by the hG6PD(MED) variant resulting in decreased specific activity and half-life, and confirm that G6PD activity decreases with RBC age, in a humanized mouse model. The resistance of young hG6PD(MED) RBCs to 5,6-POQ has immediate practical ramifications, in that it supports the rationale of clinical studies currently proposing new dose escalation primaquine regimens to induce low level early hemolysis, leading to reticulocytosis, and decreasing the mean age of circulating RBCs such that increased parricidal doses of primaquine can then be tolerated in G6PDd patients. The elucidation of the metabolic and proteomic lesion (under conditions confirmed to cause 5,6-POQ induced hemolysis of hG6PD(MED) but not hG6PD(ND) RBCs) provides a mechanistic landscape to guide development of non-hemolytic drugs to treat p. vivax.

Disclosures: Nemkov: Omix Technologies Inc: Current equity holder in private company. D'Alessandro: Hemanext Inc: Consultancy; Omix Technologies Inc: Current equity holder in private company; Macopharma: Consultancy. Zimring: Rubius Therapeutics: Consultancy.

*signifies non-member of ASH