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4584 Compound Loss of Dnmt3a and Kmt2c in Myeloid Malignancies

Program: Oral and Poster Abstracts
Session: 636. Myelodysplastic Syndromes—Basic and Translational: Poster III
Hematology Disease Topics & Pathways:
Acute Myeloid Malignancies, AML, hematopoiesis, Diseases, Myeloid Malignancies, Biological Processes, pathogenesis
Monday, December 11, 2023, 6:00 PM-8:00 PM

Prabhjot Kaur, PhD1*, Cassandra Berntsen2*, James Leonard2*, Daniil Shabashvili2*, Qingchen Yuan, MBBS2, Bowen Yan, PhD2*, Richard Lynn Bennett, PhD2, Alberto Riva, PhD3*, Jonathan D. Licht, MD2 and Olga A. Guryanova, MD, PhD4

1Department of Pharmacology and Therapeutics, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL
2University of Florida, Gainesville, FL
3ICBR Bioinformatics, Cancer and Genetic Research Complex, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL
4Department of Pharmacology and therapeutics, University of Florida College of Medicine, Gainesville, FL

Monosomy 7, or loss of 7q (-7/del(7q)), is one the most common chromosomal anomalies in myelodysplastic syndromes (MDS, ~10% of patients), a malignant disorder of the blood system with few treatment options. There are currently no targeted therapies available for -7/del(7q) MDS, and patients progress to a deadly acute myeloid leukemia (AML). The 7q segment is rich in genes that are implicated in MDS pathophysiology, including KMT2C encoding a histone H3 lysine 4 methyltransferase (depositing H3K4me1) that marks active gene enhancers during myeloid differentiation. Co-occurring DNA methyltransferase DNMT3A mutations are significantly overrepresented in -7/del(7q) MDS, especially in the absence of other chromosomal aberrations (23%). Individually, loss in DNMT3A activity in hematopoietic stem cells (HSCs) has shown bias towards self-renewal due to a failure to shut off stem-cell-related genes, whereas a loss of KMT2C leads to aberrant myelopoiesis. Generally, only one allele of KMT2C and DNMT3A is lost in MDS, suggesting that these haploinsufficient tumor suppressors may need to cooperate to drive disease. We hypothesized that disruption of Dnmt3a cooperated with loss of Kmt2c creating an aberrant epigenetic state that may accelerate development of MDS and progression to AML.

To address this, we generated mice that lacked one copy of both Kmt2c and Dnmt3a in the bone marrow by conditional deletion with a hematopoietic-specific inducible Mx1-driven Cre recombinase. After inducing Cre-mediated recombination by poly(I:C) treatment creating Kmt2c(+/del):Dnmt3a(+/del) animals, the hematopoietic stem and progenitor compartment was subjected to comprehensive immunophenotypic and functional characterization. In serial competitive bone marrow repopulation assays, cells with combined heterozygous loss of both Dnmt3a and Kmt2c demonstrated increased competitive advantage in secondary transplants and retained ability to reconstitute tri-lineage hematopoiesis in tertiary transplants, unlike single gene deletion and wild-type controls. Consistently, immunophenotypic analysis of the bone marrow compartment 16 weeks after the third transplant demonstrated persistence of the primitive long-term hematopoietic stem cells (LT-HSCs) defined as LineageSca1+cKit+ (LSK) CD150+CD48, which were absent in other genotypes. Further, we found expansion of the LT-HSCs in aged 80-week old Kmt2c(+/del):Dnmt3a(+/del) animals that were also characterized by a gain in self-renewal as seen by their ability to serially replate in semisolid media (MethoCult GM3434).

To test if combined loss of Kmt2c and Dnmt3a led to disease development, next we established a large cohort of animals non-competitively transplanted with Kmt2c(+/del):Dnmt3a(+/del), single gene deletion, and wild-type control bone marrow, and initiated a tumor watch by monthly monitoring the composition of their peripheral blood by CBCs and flow cytometry. Sixty weeks after transplantation, over a half of double knock-out animals developed myeloid disease characterized by neutrophilia and/or monocytosis accompanied by anemia, occasional thrombocytopenia, and splenomegaly most consistent with myelodysplasia. Immunophenotypically, we found expanded LSK populations (LT-HSCs specifically) in the bone marrow and evidence of extramedullary hematopoiesis in the spleen. At the same time, the majority of mice with single gene deletion and all wild-type controls remained healthy.

Overall, our studies demonstrate that combined loss of Kmt2c and Dnmt3a results in the development of myelodysplastic disease with long latency through endowing the HSCs with enhanced self-renewal capacity. We are currently interrogating the epigenetic profiles and gene expression patterns resulting from combined disruption of Dnmt3a and Kmt2c aiming to identify gene targets and signaling networks for future therapeutic intervention. Better understanding of the molecular pathogenesis of the -7/del(7q) MDS with concurrent DNMT3A mutations is critical to develop more effective treatment approaches and to improve outcomes for MDS patients.

Disclosures: Licht: AstraZeneca: Consultancy; Epizyme: Research Funding.

*signifies non-member of ASH