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711 TRIP13 Is a Fetal-Enriched Therapeutic Target in NUP98-JARID1A+ Pediatric Non-Down Syndrome AMKL

Program: Oral and Poster Abstracts
Type: Oral
Session: 602. Myeloid Oncogenesis: Basic: RNA Splicing, Transcription, and Chromatin Dynamics
Hematology Disease Topics & Pathways:
Fundamental Science, Research, Acute Myeloid Malignancies, AML, apoptosis, Translational Research, Non-Biological therapies, Combination therapy, hematopoiesis, Diseases, Therapies, Myeloid Malignancies, Pharmacology, Biological Processes, molecular biology, Technology and Procedures, gene editing, omics technologies
Monday, December 11, 2023: 11:00 AM

Luca Nunzio Cifarelli, MSc1*, Hasan Issa, PhD2*, Konstantin Schuschel2*, Katja Menge3*, Lucie Gack3*, Christian Ihling, PhD4*, Andrea Sinz, PhD4*, Jan-Henning Klusmann, MD2 and Dirk Heckl, PhD3,5*

1Department of Pediatric Hematology and Oncology, Martin‐Luther‐University Halle‐Wittenberg, Halle, Sachsen-Anhalt, Germany
2Pediatric Hematology and Oncology, Department of Pediatrics, Goethe University Frankfurt, Frankfurt, Germany
3Department of Pediatric Hematology and Oncology, Martin‐Luther‐University Halle‐Wittenberg, Halle, Germany
4Department of Pharmaceutical Chemistry and Bioanalytics, Institute of Pharmacy, Martin-Luther-University Halle-Wittenberg, Halle, Germany
5Institute for Experimental Pediatric Hematology and Oncology, Goethe University Frankfurt, Frankfurt, Germany

Chromosomal rearrangements have been identified as the main drivers of pediatric Acute Megakaryoblastic Leukemia in absence of Down syndrome (non-DS-AMKL). The t(11;12) involving NUP98 and KDM5A/JARID1A (NJ) accounts for approximately 15% of pediatric non-DS-AMKL cases and correlates with poor prognosis. An important aspect of AMKL is the strong enrichment in pediatric patients with frequent occurrence in infants (disease within 2 years post birth). In this study, we aimed to explore the role of cellular ontogeny in NJ-driven non-DS-AMKL and highlight TRIP13 as a fetal-enriched NJ-specific vulnerability acting through P53 regulation.

To investigate the mechanism of NJ transformation, we first transduced murine hematopoietic stem and progenitor cells (HSPCs) originating from fetal liver (mFL-HSPCs) and bone marrow of adult mice (mBM-HSPCs) with a lentiviral vector overexpressing the cDNA encoding human NJ. In line with other studies, NJ acts as a potent oncogene in vitro, sustaining cell proliferation and arresting cell differentiation. Both mFL-HSPCs and mBM-HSPCs expressing NJ transformed and dominated the culture after 3-4 weeks with an immature immune-phenotype (Lin-, Sca1+ and c-Kit+). Notably, outgrowth of mFL-HSPCs was significantly accelerated compared to adult mBM-HSPCs, despite similar transduction rates. Furthermore, in vivo experiments revealed that NJ-expressing mFL-HSPCs displayed a more aggressive phenotype (latency of 36 days) compared to mBM-HSPCs cells expressing NJ (latency of 70 days; PLong-rank < 0.001). Thus, both our in vitro and in vivo experiments strongly indicate an impact of fetal cell background.

Suspecting an impact of fetal gene programs on NJ-mediated transformation, we performed a CRISPR-Cas9 screening targeting fetal expression signatures with a library probing 880 genes found to be deregulated when comparing fetal versus adult murine and human primary HSPCs. By comparing our findings with two other fetal liver-derived leukemia models – representing DS AMKL and familial platelet disorder with predisposition to AML (FPD-AML) –, we identified TRIP13 as a high-confidence candidate gene with exclusive dependency in NJ-driven non-DS-AMKL. Comparing human AML cell lines and NJ-overexpressing human fetal liver cells (hFL-HSPCs) confirmed selective targeting of NJ-driven cells by TRIP13 loss.

To explore the molecular mechanism of TRIP13 sensitivity, we performed RNAseq. Surprisingly, gene set expression analysis (GSEA) revealed one highly significantly enriched pathway, i.e. TP53 signaling. Rescue experiments of Trip13 knockout in NJ-driven non-DS-AMKL cells further supported this finding: the massive depletion upon loss of Trip13 was completely reverted by either re-expression of a human TRIP13 cDNA or by knockout of Trp53. Of note, neither activation of TP53 signaling nor cell depletion was seen in healthy hematopoietic cells from FL upon Trip13 perturbation.

Finally, we aimed to leverage TRIP13 dependency therapeutically. To this end, we first explored Trip13-depletion in an in vivo setting. In a fluorescence-based competitive transplantation assay, Trip13-ablated leukemic blasts were significantly diminished in the bone marrow of recipient mice after 4 weeks, showing a mean depletion of 83%. Next, NJ-driven non-DS-AMKL mFL-HSPCs were treated with the TRIP13 inhibitor DCZ0415. Similarly to genetic TRIP13 ablation, DCZ0415-treated NJ mFL-HSPCs showed a significantly higher sensitivity to the drug compared to models of DS AMKL, FPD-AML, and healthy HSPCs with fold changes of 1.6 (p-value = 0.024), 2.3 (p-value = 0.001) and 2.0 (p-value = 0.008), respectively. To exploit our mechanistic knowledge on TRIP13 ablation-mediated P53 activation, we further combined DCZ0415 with the MDM2 inhibitor Idasanutlin. In line with our mechanistic data, a high synergy (Bliss synergy score = 9.7) of TRIP13 and MDM2 inhibition was observed.

In conclusion, our study uncovers TRIP13 as a fetal-enriched vulnerability in NJ-driven non-DS-AMKL, mechanistically acting through P53, which we leveraged for a mechanism-driven treatment approach with dual TRIP13/MDM2 inhibition as a potential therapeutic strategy for the treatment of high-risk pediatric non-DS-AMKL.

Disclosures: Klusmann: Boehringer Ingelheim: Consultancy; Jazz Pharmaceuticals: Consultancy.

*signifies non-member of ASH