Rearrangements involving the neurotrophic receptor kinase genes (NTRK1, NTRK2, and NTRK3; hereafter referred to as TRK) produce oncogenic fusions in a wide variety of cancers in adults and children. Although TRK fusions occur in <1% of all solid tumors, inhibition of TRK results in profound therapeutic responses resulting in breakthrough FDA-approval of the TRK inhibitor larotrectinib for adult and pediatric solid tumor patients regardless of histology. In contrast to solid tumors, the frequency of TRK fusions and clinical effects of targeting TRK in hematologic malignancies is unknown. Here, through an evaluation for TRK fusions across > 7,000 patients with hematologic malignancies, we identified TRK fusions in acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL), acute myeloid leukemia (AML), histiocytosis, multiple myeloma and dendritic cell neoplasms. Although TRK fusions occurred in only 0.1% of patients (8 out of 7,311 patients), they conferred responsiveness to TRK inhibition in vitro and in vivo in a patient-derived xenograft and a corresponding AML patient with ETV6-NTRK2 fusion. These data identify that despite their individual rarity, collectively TRK fusions are present in a wide variety of hematologic malignancies and predict clinically significant therapeutic responses to TRK inhibition.
Justin Taylor, Dean Pavlick, Akihide Yoshimi, Christina Marcelus, Stephen S. Chung, Jaclyn F. Hechtman, Ryma Benayed, Emiliano Cocco, Benjamin H. Durham, Lillian Bitner, Daichi Inoue, Young Rock Chung, Kerry Mullaney, Justin M. Watts, Eli L. Diamond, Lee A. Albacker, Tariq I. Mughal, Kevin Ebata, Brian B. Tuch, Nora Ku, Maurizio Scaltriti, Mikhail Roshal, Maria Arcila, Siraj Ali, David M. Hyman, Jae H. Park, Omar Abdel-Wahab
Very few B cells in germinal centers (GCs) and extrafollicular (EF) regions of lymph nodes express CD30. Their specific features and relationship to CD30-expressing Hodgkin and Reed/Sternberg (HRS) cells of Hodgkin lymphoma are unclear but highly relevant, because numerous patients with lymphoma are currently treated with an anti-CD30 immunotoxin. We performed a comprehensive analysis of human CD30+ B cells. Phenotypic and IgV gene analyses indicated that CD30+ GC B lymphocytes represent typical GC B cells, and that CD30+ EF B cells are mostly post-GC B cells. The transcriptomes of CD30+ GC and EF B cells largely overlapped, sharing a strong MYC signature, but were strikingly different from conventional GC B cells and memory B and plasma cells, respectively. CD30+ GC B cells represent MYC+ centrocytes redifferentiating into centroblasts; CD30+ EF B cells represent active, proliferating memory B cells. HRS cells shared typical transcriptome patterns with CD30+ B cells, suggesting that they originate from these lymphocytes or acquire their characteristic features during lymphomagenesis. By comparing HRS to normal CD30+ B cells we redefined aberrant and disease-specific features of HRS cells. A remarkable downregulation of genes regulating genomic stability and cytokinesis in HRS cells may explain their genomic instability and multinuclearity.
Marc A. Weniger, Enrico Tiacci, Stefanie Schneider, Judith Arnolds, Sabrina Rüschenbaum, Janine Duppach, Marc Seifert, Claudia Döring, Martin-Leo Hansmann, Ralf Küppers
PRDM16 is a transcriptional co-regulator involved in translocations in acute myeloblastic leukemia (AML), myelodysplastic syndromes and T acute lymphoblastic leukemia that is highly expressed in and required for the maintenance of hematopoietic stem cells (HSCs), and can be aberrantly expressed in AML. Prdm16 is expressed as full-length (fPrdm16) and short (sPrdm16) isoforms, the latter lacking the N-terminal PR-domain. The role of both isoforms in normal and malignant hematopoiesis is unclear. We show here that fPrdm16 was critical for HSC maintenance, induced multiple genes involved in GTPase signaling and repressed inflammation, while sPrdm16 supported B-cell development biased towards marginal zone B-cells and induced an inflammatory signature. In a mouse model of human MLL-AF9 leukemia fPrdm16 extended latency, while sPrdm16 shortened latency and induced a strong inflammatory signature, including several cytokines and chemokines that are associated with myelodysplasia and with a worse prognosis in human AML. Finally, in human NPM1-mutant and in MLL-translocated AML high expression of PRDM16, which negatively impacts outcome, was associated with inflammatory gene expression, thus corroborating the mouse data. Our observations demonstrate distinct roles for Prdm16 isoforms in normal HSCs and AML, and identify sPrdm16 as one of the drivers of prognostically adverse inflammation in leukemia.
David J. Corrigan, Larry L. Luchsinger, Mariana Justino de Almeida, Linda J. Williams, Alexandros Strikoudis, Hans-Willem Snoeck
While the genomic binding of MYC protein correlates with active epigenetic marks on chromatin, it remains largely unclear how major epigenetic mechanisms functionally impact the tumorigenic potential of MYC. Here we showed that compared to the catalytic subunits, the core subunits, including DPY30, of the major H3K4 methyltransferase complexes were frequently amplified in human cancers, and selectively upregulated in Burkitt lymphoma. We showed that DPY30 promoted expression of endogenous MYC, and was also functionally important for efficient binding of MYC to its genomic targets by regulating chromatin accessibility. Dpy30 heterozygosity did not affect normal animal physiology including life span, but significantly suppressed Myc-driven lymphomagenesis, as cells failed to combat oncogene-triggered apoptosis due to insufficient epigenetic modulation and expression of a subset of anti-apoptotic genes. Dpy30 reduction also greatly impeded MYC-dependent cellular transformation without affecting normal cell growth. These results suggest that MYC hijacks a major epigenetic pathway — H3K4 methylation — to facilitate its molecular activity in target binding and to coordinate its oncogenic program for efficient tumorigenesis, meanwhile creating “epigenetic vulnerability.” DPY30 and the H3K4 methylation pathway are thus potential epigenetic targets for treating certain MYC-driven cancers.
Zhenhua Yang, Kushani Shah, Theodore Busby, Keith Giles, Alireza Khodadadi-Jamayran, Wei Li, Hao Jiang
NOTCH1 is a prevalent signaling pathway in T cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia (T-ALL), but crucial NOTCH1 downstream signals and target genes contributing to T-ALL pathogenesis cannot be retrospectively analyzed in patients and thus remain ill defined. This information is clinically relevant, as initiating lesions that lead to cell transformation and leukemia-initiating cell (LIC) activity are promising therapeutic targets against the major hurdle of T-ALL relapse. Here, we describe the generation in vivo of a human T cell leukemia that recapitulates T-ALL in patients, which arises de novo in immunodeficient mice reconstituted with human hematopoietic progenitors ectopically expressing active NOTCH1. This T-ALL model allowed us to identify CD44 as a direct NOTCH1 transcriptional target and to recognize CD44 overexpression as an early hallmark of preleukemic cells that engraft the BM and finally develop a clonal transplantable T-ALL that infiltrates lymphoid organs and brain. Notably, CD44 is shown to support crucial BM niche interactions necessary for LIC activity of human T-ALL xenografts and disease progression, highlighting the importance of the NOTCH1/CD44 axis in T-ALL pathogenesis. The observed therapeutic benefit of anti-CD44 antibody administration in xenotransplanted mice holds great promise for therapeutic purposes against T-ALL relapse.
Marina García-Peydró, Patricia Fuentes, Marta Mosquera, María J. García-León, Juan Alcain, Antonio Rodríguez, Purificación García de Miguel, Pablo Menéndez, Kees Weijer, Hergen Spits, David T. Scadden, Carlos Cuesta-Mateos, Cecilia Muñoz-Calleja, Francisco Sánchez-Madrid, María L. Toribio
Haemostasis requires conversion of fibrinogen to fibrin fibres that generate a characteristic network, interact with blood cells, and initiate tissue repair. The fibrin network is porous and highly permeable, but the spatial arrangement of the external clot face is unknown. Here we show that fibrin transitioned to the blood-air interface through Langmuir film formation, producing a protective film confining the clot. We demonstrated that only fibrin is required to form the film, and that it occurred in vitro and in vivo. The fibrin film connected to the underlying clot network through tethering fibres. It was digested by plasmin and formation of the film was prevented with surfactants. Functionally, the film retained blood cells and protected against penetration by bacterial pathogens in a murine model of dermal infection. Our data show a remarkable aspect of blood clotting, in which fibrin forms a protective film covering the external surface of the clot, defending the organism against microbial invasion.
Fraser L. Macrae, Cédric Duval, Praveen Papareddy, Stephen R. Baker, Nadira Yuldasheva, Katherine J. Kearney, Helen R. McPherson, Nathan Asquith, Joke Konings, Alessandro Casini, Jay L. Degen, Simon D. Connell, Helen Philippou, Alisa S. Wolberg, Heiko Herwald, Robert A.S. Ariëns
Leukemia-initiating cells (LICs) are responsible for the initiation, development, and relapse of leukemia. The identification of novel therapeutic LIC targets is critical to curing leukemia. In this report, we reveal that junctional adhesion molecule 3 (JAM3) is highly enriched in both mouse and human LICs. Leukemogenesis is almost completely abrogated upon Jam3 deletion during serial transplantations in an MLL-AF9–induced murine acute myeloid leukemia model. In contrast, Jam3 deletion does not affect the functions of mouse hematopoietic stem cells. Moreover, knockdown of JAM3 leads to a dramatic decrease in the proliferation of both human leukemia cell lines and primary LICs. JAM3 directly associates with LRP5 to activate the downstream PDK1/AKT pathway, followed by the downregulation of GSK3β and activation of β-catenin/CCND1 signaling, to maintain the self-renewal ability and cell cycle entry of LICs. Thus, JAM3 may serve as a functional LIC marker and play an important role in the maintenance of LIC stemness through unexpected LRP5/PDK1/AKT/GSK3β/β-catenin/CCND1 signaling pathways but not via its canonical role in cell junctions and migration. JAM3 may be an ideal therapeutic target for the eradication of LICs without influencing normal hematopoiesis.
Yaping Zhang, Fangzhen Xia, Xiaoye Liu, Zhuo Yu, Li Xie, Ligen Liu, Chiqi Chen, Haishan Jiang, Xiaoxin Hao, Xiaoxiao He, Feifei Zhang, Hao Gu, Jun Zhu, Haitao Bai, Cheng Cheng Zhang, Guo-Qiang Chen, Junke Zheng
Despite significant advances in the treatment of multiple myeloma (MM), most patients succumb to disease progression. One of the major immunosuppressive mechanisms that is believed to play a role in myeloma progression, is the expansion of regulatory T-cells (Tregs). In this study, we demonstrate that myeloma cells drive Treg expansion and activation by secreting type-1 interferon (IFN). Blocking IFNAR1 (interferon alpha and beta receptor 1) on Tregs significantly decreases both, myeloma-associated Treg immunosuppressive function and myeloma progression. Using syngeneic transplantable murine myeloma models and bone marrow (BM) aspirates of multiple myeloma patients, we found that Tregs were expanded and activated in the BM microenvironment at early stages of myeloma development. Selective depletion of Tregs led to a complete remission and prolonged survival in mice injected with myeloma cells. Further analysis of the interaction between myeloma cells and Tregs using gene sequencing and enrichment analysis uncovered a feedback loop, wherein myeloma-cell-secreted type-1 IFN induced proliferation and expansion of Tregs. By using IFNAR1-blocking antibody treatment and IFNAR1 knockout Tregs, we demonstrated a significant decrease in myeloma-associated Treg proliferation, which was associated with longer survival of myeloma-injected mice. Our results thus suggest that blocking type-1 IFN signaling represents a potential strategy to target immunosuppressive Treg function in MM.
Yawara Kawano, Oksana Zavidij, Jihye Park, Michele Moschetta, Katsutoshi Kokubun, Tarek H. Mouhieddine, Salomon Manier, Yuji Mishima, Naoka Murakami, Mark Bustoros, Romanos Sklavenitis Pistofidis, Mairead Reidy, Yu J. Shen, Mahshid Rahmat, Pavlo Lukyanchykov, Esilida Sula Karreci, Shokichi Tsukamoto, Jiantao Shi, Satoshi Takagi, Daisy Huynh, Antonio Sacco, Yu-Tzu Tai, Marta Chesi, P. Leif Bergsagel, Aldo M. Roccaro, Jamil Azzi, Irene M. Ghobrial
Chuvash polycythemia is an inherited disease caused by a homozygous germline VHLR200W mutation, which leads to impaired degradation of HIF2α, elevated levels of serum erythropoietin, and erythrocytosis/polycythemia. This phenotype is recapitulated by a mouse model bearing a homozygous VhlR200W mutation. We previously showed that iron-regulatory protein 1–knockout (Irp1-knockout) mice developed erythrocytosis/polycythemia through translational derepression of Hif2α, suggesting that IRP1 could be a therapeutic target to treat Chuvash polycythemia. Here, we fed VhlR200W mice supplemented with Tempol, a small, stable nitroxide molecule and observed that Tempol decreased erythropoietin production, corrected splenomegaly, normalized hematocrit levels, and increased the lifespans of these mice. We attribute the reversal of erythrocytosis/polycythemia to translational repression of Hif2α expression by Tempol-mediated increases in the IRE-binding activity of Irp1, as reversal of polycythemia was abrogated in VhlR200W mice in which Irp1 was genetically ablated. Thus, a new approach to the treatment of patients with Chuvash polycythemia may include dietary supplementation of Tempol, which decreased Hif2α expression and markedly reduced life-threatening erythrocytosis/polycythemia in the VhlR200W mice.
Manik C. Ghosh, De-Liang Zhang, Hayden Ollivierre, Michael A. Eckhaus, Tracey A. Rouault
Ribosomal proteins (RP) regulate specific gene expression by selectively translating subsets of mRNAs. Indeed, in Diamond–Blackfan anaemia and 5q- syndrome, mutations in RP genes lead to a specific defect in erythroid gene translation and cause anaemia. Little is known about the molecular mechanisms of selective mRNA translation and involvement of ribosomal-associated factors in this process. Ribonuclease inhibitor (RNH1) is an ubiquitously expressed protein that binds to and inhibits pancreatic-type ribonucleases. Here we report that RNH1 binds to ribosomes and regulates erythropoiesis by controlling translation of the erythroid transcription factor GATA1. Rnh1-deficient mice die between embryonic days E8.5 to E10 due to impaired production of mature erythroid cells from progenitor cells. In Rnh1-deficient embryos, mRNA levels of Gata1 are normal, but GATA1 protein levels are decreased. At the molecular level, we found that RNH1 binds to the 40S subunit of ribosomes and facilitates polysome formation on Gata1 mRNA to confer transcript-specific translation. Further, RNH1 knock down in human CD34+ progenitor cells decreased erythroid differentiation without affecting myelopoiesis. Our results reveal an unsuspected role for RNH1 in the control of GATA1 mRNA translation and erythropoiesis.
Vijaykumar Chennupati, Diogo F.T. Veiga, Kendle M. Maslowski, Nicola Andina, Aubry Tardivel, Eric Chi-Wang Yu, Martina Stilinovic, Cedric Simillion, Michel A. Duchosal, Manfredo Quadroni, Irene Roberts, Vijay G. Sankaran, H. Robson MacDonald, Nicolas Fasel, Anne Angelillo-Scherrer, Pascal Schneider, Trang Hoang, Ramanjaneyulu Allam