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4148 Ubiquitin-Mediated Degradation of MORF4L1 By FBXO11 Suppresses Cholesterol Biosynthesis in T Cell Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia

Program: Oral and Poster Abstracts
Session: 603. Lymphoid Oncogenesis: Basic: Poster III
Hematology Disease Topics & Pathways:
Research, Fundamental Science, Lymphoid Leukemias, ALL, Diseases, Lymphoid Malignancies, Biological Processes, molecular biology
Monday, December 11, 2023, 6:00 PM-8:00 PM

Ye Xin1*, Xiaowen Chen2*, Mengli Zhang1*, Yingcai Jin1*, Jinchao Xu1*, Jianxiang Zhang1*, Xinfeng Chen1*, Xue Yang1*, Madeline Niederkorn, PhD3, Feiqiu Wen2* and Peng Xu, PhD4

1Soochow University, Suzhou, China
2Shenzhen Children's Hospital, shenzhen, China
3St. Jude Children's Research Hospital, Memphis, TN
4Hematology Center, Cyrus Tang Medical Institute, Soochow University, SUZHOU, CHN

The substrate receptor of SKP1-Cullin1-FBOX complex, FBXO11, is frequently mutated in both diffuse large B cell lymphoma and acute myeloid leukemia, and typically functions as a tumor suppressor by targeting substrates for ubiquitin-mediated degradation. Although FBXO11 is also mutated in human T-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia (T-ALL) cell lines, the underlying mechanism in T-ALL development remains to be established. Here, we identified that both endogenous activation and exogenous overexpression of FBXO11 could suppress the growth of T-ALL cell in vitro and in vivo. While conversely, loss of FBXO11 accelerates the T-ALL cell proliferation. Transcriptomic and total quantitative proteomic analyses in FBXO11-depleted T-ALL cells reveal activation of the cholesterol biosynthesis pathway with accumulation of intracellular cholesterol levels. Importantly, we identified a chromatin regulator MORF4L1, mortality factor 4 like protein 1, as a functional substrate of FBXO11 in T-ALL cells.

We first observed that FBXO11 exhibited frequent copy number alterations in T-ALL cell lines and in patient cohorts from public datasets. Moreover, by CRISPR SAM (Synergistic Activation Mediator) endogenous activation and lentiviral mediated gene overexpression, we validated that FBXO11 played a role in inhibiting tumor cell proliferation in T-ALL cells both in vitro and in vivo. Conversely, loss of FBXO11 accelerated T-ALL cell proliferation. Taken together, our results suggest that FBXO11 functions as a tumor suppressor in T-ALL. Mechanistically, we uncovered that the absence of FBXO11 could activate the cholesterol synthesis signaling pathway from both the RNA-seq and the TMT proteomic analysis in FBXO11-depleted MOLT4 cells compared to control cells. Concordantly, loss of FBO11 resulted in the accumulation of intracellular cholesterol level, suggesting that FBXO11 may suppress cholesterol biosynthesis in T-ALL cells.

To understand how FBXO11 controls cholesterol biosynthesis, we further identified the potential substrates from the combined quantitative transcriptome and proteome analysis. MORF4L1, a chromatin modifier involved in histone acetylation, was identified as a key substrate of FBXO11 based on its upregulation at the protein level in FBXO11-depleted cells. Moreover, our data suggest MORF4L1 is a regulator of cholesterol biosynthesis in T-ALL. The inhibition of MORF4L1 suppressed the cellular growth of T-ALL cell lines, and led to the downregulation of the expression of cholesterol-related genes, such as gene HMGCR and HMGCS1. Of note, suppression of MORF4L1 and its cholesterol biosynthesis target genes such as HMGCR, HMGCS1 could rescue the accelerated growth effect after loss of FBXO11, indicating a functional role for MORF4L1 in T-ALL development.

In summary, our data support a model wherein the degradation of MORF4L1 by FBXO11 suppresses leukemia cell growth by controlling cholesterol biosynthesis. The identification of this regulatory mechanism is required for T-ALL and provides valuable insights into the metabolic vulnerabilities of leukemia.

Disclosures: No relevant conflicts of interest to declare.

*signifies non-member of ASH