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2732 Reduced Polycomb Repressor Complex 2 (PRC2) Activity and Increased TP53 Activity Mediate Hematopoietic Stem Cell Dysfunction in RPS19-Mutated Diamond-Blackfan Anemia

Program: Oral and Poster Abstracts
Session: 509. Bone Marrow Failure and Cancer Predisposition Syndromes: Congenital: Poster II
Hematology Disease Topics & Pathways:
Research, Fundamental Science, Translational Research, Bone Marrow Failure Syndromes, Inherited Marrow Failure Syndromes, hematopoiesis, Diseases, Biological Processes
Sunday, December 10, 2023, 6:00 PM-8:00 PM

Senthil V. Bhoopalan, MBBS, PhD1*, Ruopeng Feng, PhD2, Thiyagaraj Mayuranathan2*, Kalin Mayberry2*, Yoonjeong Jang, DVM, PhD2, Jonathan S Yen, PhD3, Yu Yao, MD4*, Lance Palmer, PhD2*, Yong Cheng, PhD5, Marcin W. Wlodarski, MD, PhD2 and Mitchell Weiss, MD, PhD4

1St Jude Children's Research Hospital, Memphis, TN
2St. Jude Children's Research Hospital, Memphis, TN
3Department of Hematology, St. Jude Children's Research Hospital, Memphis, TN
4Dept. of Hematology, St. Jude Children's Research Hospital, Memphis, TN
5St. Jude Children's Rsesearch Hospital, Memphis, TN

Diamond-Blackfan anemia (DBA) is a congenital hypoplastic anemia caused by heterozygous loss-of-function mutations in one of 23 ribosomal protein (RP) genes, with RPS19 being mutated in approximately 25% of patients. While DBA typically manifests in infancy as isolated anemia with reticulocytopenia, older patients can develop multilineage cytopenias and bone marrow (BM) hypocellularity suggesting impaired hematopoietic stem cell (HSC) function. Defects in HSCs have been observed in Rps19-depleted mice but studies on human DBA HSCs have been inconclusive, largely because patient BM cells are difficult to obtain for research. To address this gap, we developed a new, robust, and scalable cellular model using CRISPR/Cas9 to create heterozygous RPS19 loss-of-function mutations in healthy donor CD34+ hematopoietic stem and progenitor cells (HSPCs). Transplantation of RPS19+/- HSPCs into NBSGW immunodeficient mice revealed a defect in BM repopulation that was partially rescued by co-disruption of the TP53 gene (Bhoopalan et al, JCI Insight, 2023). Here we provide further mechanistic insight into this HSC defect by showing that RP imbalance caused by RPS19 deficiency leads to the activation of TP53 and inhibition of Polycomb Repressor Complex 2 (PRC2), which has been previously shown to be required for HSC maintenance.

Healthy donor CD34+ HSPC were electroporated with ribonucleoprotein (RNP) complex consisting of Cas9 and guide RNAs (gRNAs) targeting RPS19 or the AAVS1 safe harbor locus as a negative control. RPS19 disruption was verified by next-generation sequencing of the targeted region and by Western blot analysis showing reduction of RPS19 protein. RNA-Seq at 3 days after electroporation showed enrichment of TP53 pathway genes in RPS19-edited HSPCs compared to control cells, confirming our previous observations. Additionally, we noted an enrichment of HSPC genes that were previously shown to harbor the repressive histone mark H3K27me3 in normal HSPCs. Methylation of H3K27 is catalyzed by EZH2, the catalytic component of PRC2, which maintains HSCs by inhibiting transcription of genes that promote differentiation. Gene set enrichment analysis (GSEA) revealed significant induction of PRC2 target genes in RPS19-disrupted HSPCs and in induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) generated from two different DBA patients with heterozygous RPS19 mutations. The “Cleavage under targets and release using nuclease (CUT&RUN)” assay indicated globally reduced EZH2 binding to chromatin in RPS19-disrupted HSPCs. These findings suggest that PRC2 activity is inhibited by RPS19 haploinsufficiency.

Previous studies have shown that RPS19 haploinsufficiency can cause accumulation of large RP subunits, RPL5 and RPL11, which bind 5S ribosomal RNA to form 5S RNP. This complex can sequester the ubiquitin ligase MDM2 to inhibit its function. MDM2 ubiquitinates TP53, targeting it for proteasomal degradation. Additionally, MDM2 binds PRC2 to augment its activity. Thus, we theorized that RPS19 haploinsufficiency leads to the accumulation of 5S RNP complex which sequesters MDM2, causing increased TP53 activity and suppression of PRC2 activity, both of which can inhibit HSC maintenance. To test this, we inhibited formation of 5S RNP complex by co-disrupting RPL5 or RPL11 along with RPS19 in CD34+ HSPCs, followed by RNA-Seq analysis or transplantation into NBSGW mice. Remarkably, haploinsufficiency of either large RP gene rescued the BM repopulation defect of RPS19+/- HSPC (p<0.05) (Fig. 1A), reduced TP53 activity and improved PRC2 activity (p<0.001 and FDR q<0.01) (Fig. 1B).

In summary, our data support the model that RPS19 haploinsufficiency leads to increased TP53 activity and reduced PRC2 activity through 5S RNP-mediated sequestration of MDM2, causing impairment of HSC function. These studies provide insights into the molecular mechanisms of DBA and could potentially inform new therapies.

Disclosures: Yen: IMAGO/Merck: Consultancy; Beam therapeutics: Current equity holder in publicly-traded company. Wlodarski: Novartis: Honoraria. Weiss: Vertex Pharmaceuticals: Consultancy; bluebird bio: Consultancy; GlaxoSmithKline: Consultancy; Graphite Bio: Consultancy; Dyne: Consultancy; Forma Therapeutics: Consultancy; Novartis Inc.: Consultancy; Cellarity: Consultancy, Current equity holder in private company.

*signifies non-member of ASH