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4050 High Mobility Group A1 Chromatin Regulators Drive Regenerative Capacity during Stress Hematopoiesis through Modulation of TNF-α and Aging Transcriptional Networks

Program: Oral and Poster Abstracts
Session: 501. Hematopoietic Stem and Progenitor Cells and Hematopoiesis: Basic and Translational: Poster III
Hematology Disease Topics & Pathways:
Research, hematopoiesis, Biological Processes
Monday, December 11, 2023, 6:00 PM-8:00 PM

Zanshe Thompson, PhD, MS1, Li Z Luo, PhD2*, Bowen Wang, MS3*, Jung-Hyun Kim, PhD3*, Hyunsung Woo, BS4*, Leslie Cope, PhD5* and Linda Resar, MD6

1Division of Hematology, The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Owings Mills, MD
2Department of Medicine, Division of Hematology, The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore, MD
3The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore, MD
4Whiting School of Engineering, The Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, MD
5Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center, Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, MD
6Division of Hematology, Departments of Medicine, Oncology & Pathology, The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore, MD

Introduction: Chromatin structure and epigenetic modifications are key determinants of regenerative function and cell fate decisions, although mechanisms governing these properties in hematopoiesis are only beginning to emerge. The High Mobility Group A1 (HMGA1) chromatin regulator gene is induced by growth factors and highly expressed during embryogenesis and in hematopoietic stem cells (HSCs), but silenced in differentiated tissues (Cancer Res 2018,78:1890). In leukemia and solid tumors, HMGA1 is re-expressed where it activates enhancers that induce stem cell transcriptional networks, leading to aberrant proliferation and differentiation (Blood 2022,139:2797; JCI 2023 133:e151601). HMGA1 also drives self-renewal by amplifying Wnt networks in intestinal stem cells (Nature Comm 2017,8:15008). However, its role in normal hematopoiesis is unknown. We therefore sought to: 1) Define HMGA1 function in HSC, and, 2) Test the hypothesis that modulating HMGA1 epigenetic networks enhances regenerative function.

Methods: First, we compared HMGA1 expression across hematopoietic stem and progenitor cells (HSPC) and differentiated progeny in humans and mice. Next, we generated mice with global Hmga1 knock-out (Hmga1-KO) or Hmga1 deficiency confined to HSC (vav-Hmga1-KO) to assess HSPC function in clonogenic assays, competitive bone marrow transplantation (cBMT), and following irradiation. To elucidate underlying mechanisms, we performed single cell RNA sequencing (scRNAseq) of bone marrow (BM)-derived Lin-, Sca+, c-kit+ (LSK) cells followed by pathway analysis. To assess HMGA1 function in human CD34+ cells, we used CRISPR to inactivate HMGA1.

Results: HMGA1 is expressed in HSC, multipotent progenitors (MPP), and megakaryocyte-erythroid progenitors (MEP), with decreasing levels after differentiation, suggesting that HMGA1 functions in stem and progenitors. However, steady state hematopoiesis is unperturbed in both Hmga1-KO and vav-Hmga1-KO mice up to 18 months. By contrast, HSPC lacking Hmga1 show decreases in total colony forming units (CFU), but only after serial replating, suggesting that Hmga1 deficiency impairs long-term HSC (LT-HSC) regenerative function. Accordingly, in cBMT assays, Hmga1-KO HSC are outcompeted by HSC with both Hmga1 alleles, with most pronounced effects after serial transplantation. Serial cBMT from young donors (6 weeks) show decreases in LT-HSC, short-term HSC (ST-HSC), and progenitors from Hmga1 KO HSPC compared to control HSPC. Results were similar with older donors (4 months, 18 months). Following irradiation, vav-Hmga1-KO mice have impaired platelet recovery, although the frequency of HSPC in bone marrow were similar to controls. HSPC function in clonogenic assays is also impaired after irradiation, as evidenced by decreases in total CFU, GM-CFU and megakaryocyte (Mk)-CFU. To determine how HMGA1 modulates cell state, we compared scRNAseq in BM-derived LSK cells from adult mice (4 months old) with intact Hmga1 to those with Hmga1-KO. The transcriptomes in HSPC lacking Hmga1 were distinct from those with both Hmga1 alleles intact. The Hmga1 KO HSPC show a decrease in quiescent HSC (marked by high Procr expression), with a relative expansion in more proliferative HSC and early progenitors. In human CD34+ cells, CRISPR-mediated HMGA1 inactivation decreases total CFU, GM-CFU, and Mk-CFU. To elucidate underlying mechanisms, we applied gene set enrichment analyses to scRNAseq results which revealed that Hmga1 activates TNF-a signaling via NF-κB, a pathway that maintains HSC survival and regeneration following inflammatory stress. Hmga1 also represses aging-related transcriptional networks. Further, TNFa partially rescues HSC with Hmga1 deficiency in serial clonogenicity assays.

Conclusions: HMGA1 deficiency impairs HSC regenerative capacity under conditions of stress hematopoiesis by depleting quiescent HSC. Mechanistically, HMGA1 induces transcriptional networks involved in survival signals, including TNFa -NF-κB networks, while repressing transcriptional networks activated with aging. Further, TNF-apartially rescues regenerative capacity in clonogenicity assays. Our findings highlight HMGA1 as a critical factor in stress hematopoiesis and suggest that modifying its function could enhance regenerative capacity and repress aging pathways following BMT or irradiation.

Disclosures: No relevant conflicts of interest to declare.

*signifies non-member of ASH