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3215 SF3B1K700E Alters the Splicing of Metabolism and Stress Response Genes, Attenuating the Effect of DNMT3A Mutations in MDS

Program: Oral and Poster Abstracts
Session: 636. Myelodysplastic Syndromes—Basic and Translational: Poster II
Hematology Disease Topics & Pathways:
Research, Translational Research, genomics, hematopoiesis, Diseases, metabolism, Myeloid Malignancies, Biological Processes, pathogenesis
Sunday, December 10, 2023, 6:00 PM-8:00 PM

Lashanale Wallace, PhD1, Jacquelyn A. Myers1*, Mark Engelken1*, David Cullins2*, Heather Sheppard3* and Esther A. Obeng, MD, PhD1

1Oncology, St. Jude Children's Research Hospital, Memphis, TN
2Hematology, St. Jude Children's Research Hospital, Memphis, TN
3Comparative Pathology Core, St Jude Children's Research Hospital, Memphis, TN

Myelodysplastic syndromes (MDS) are clonal stem cell disorders associated with low blood counts and a high risk of leukemic transformation. Genomic sequencing studies have demonstrated that MDS develops due to the acquisition of somatic mutations in hematopoietic stem cells (HSCs). Splicing factor 3b subunit 1 (SF3B1) mutations, one of the most frequent mutations in MDS, are associated with lower-risk disease characterized by ineffective erythropoiesis. Our group and others have shown that mutations in SF3B1 cause aberrant mRNA splicing in human and murine HSCs, an expansion of long-term HSCs (LT-HSCs) in primary mice, but a competitive disadvantage in transplantation assays. DNMT3A, de novo methyltransferase 3A, is an epigenetic regulator mutated in ~10-15% of MDS. DNMT3A mutations are associated with unfavorable outcomes in MDS including a higher risk of leukemia transformation and shorter overall survival. Murine models of Dnmt3a mutations revealed that Dnmt3a-mutant HSCs have increased self-renewal over lineage-specific differentiation. SF3B1 and DNMT3A mutations co-occur more frequently than expected by chance and arise early in MDS pathogenesis, making them attractive therapeutic targets. MDS patients with SF3B1 and DNMT3A mutations have shorter progression-free survival than those with solely SF3B1 mutations. However, the mechanisms by which these mutations cooperate to cause HSC dysfunction and their possible combined role in leukemogenesis are not well understood.

To investigate how Dnmt3a and Sf3b1 mutations disrupt HSC function in vivo, we crossed two conditional knock-in mouse models of common point mutations in SF3B1 (K700E) and DNMT3A (R787H, murine equivalent to human DNMT3A R882H). We followed monthly blood counts and evaluated stem and progenitor cell composition in the bone marrow at 6 months. We found that Sf3b1/Dnmt3a double mutant mice display a similar phenotype to Sf3b1K700E mice, with a progressive anemia and an expansion in LT-HSCs. However, when assayed for HSC self-renewal potential, whole bone marrow and LT-HSCs isolated from Sf3b1/Dnmt3a mutant mice display increased serial colony formation capacities similar to Dnmt3a mutant hematopoietic stem and progenitor cells (HSPCs, 5 to 6 passages), but have a competitive disadvantage in secondary and tertiary transplant assays that is less severe than Sf3b1K700E HSPCs but distinct from the competitive advantage of Dnmt3a mutant HSPCs. Transcriptionally, double mutant HSCs clustered closer to Sf3b1 HSCs with shared expression of 74% of upregulated genes and 64% of downregulated genes and have decreased expression of stress response and metabolism genes. These results indicate Sf3b1 mutations may mitigate the preleukemic phenotype due to Dnmt3a mutations in MDS.

To identify factors regulated by SF3B1 mutations that may mitigate the effect of DNMT3A loss on leukemic progression, we generated isogenic DNMT3A KO and SF3B1 K700E single and double mutant K562 cell lines using CRISPR/Cas9. Transcriptome analysis demonstrated that SF3B1K700E/DNMT3AKO double mutant clones clustered with and shared similar upregulated (69%) and downregulated (62%) genes as SF3B1 single mutant clones. Similar to our findings in murine HSPCs, pathway analysis of SF3B1 and SF3B1/DNMT3A mutant clones displayed enrichment of stress response and metabolic pathways. Alternative mRNA splicing analysis identified 13 events (3 alternative 3’ splice site, 9 intron retention, and 1 skipped exon) in 8 genes that were upregulated in DNMT3A KO clones and downregulated in SF3B1 and SF3B1/DNMT3A mutant clones. We confirmed decreased protein expression of these mis-spliced genes in SF3B1 single and double mutant clones, but not DNMT3A KO clones. These genes include components of the integrated stress response pathway, which are also mis-spliced in SF3B1 and SF3B1/DNMT3A mutant MDS patient samples. Taken together our data suggest that aberrant splicing by mutant SF3B1 prevents metabolic reprogramming and decreases leukemic progression caused by DNMT3A mutation in MDS.

Disclosures: No relevant conflicts of interest to declare.

*signifies non-member of ASH