Only a minority of myelodysplastic syndrome (MDS) patients respond to hypomethylating agents (HMAs), but strong predictors of response are unknown. We sequenced 40 recurrently mutated myeloid malignancy genes in tumor DNA from 213 MDS patients collected before treatment with azacitidine (AZA) or decitabine (DEC). Mutations were examined for association with response and overall survival. The overall response rate of 47% was not different between agents. Clonal TET2 mutations predicted response (odds ratio [OR] 1.99, P = .036) when subclones unlikely to be detected by Sanger sequencing (allele fraction <10%) were treated as wild-type (WT). Response rates were highest in the subset of TET2 mutant patients without clonal ASXL1 mutations (OR 3.65, P = .009). Mutations of TP53 (hazard ratio [HR] 2.01, P = .002) and PTPN11 (HR 3.26, P = .006) were associated with shorter overall survival but not drug response. Murine-competitive bone marrow transplantation followed by treatment with AZA demonstrated that Tet2-null cells have an engraftment advantage over Tet2-WT cells. AZA significantly decreased this advantage for Tet2-null cells (P = .002) but not Tet2-WT cells (P = .212). Overall, Tet2 loss appears to sensitize cells to treatment with AZA in vivo, and TET2 mutations can identify patients more likely to respond to HMAs.
The casein kinase 1A1 gene (CSNK1A1) is a putative tumor suppressor gene located in the common deleted region for del(5q) myelodysplastic syndrome (MDS). We generated a murine model with conditional inactivation of Csnk1a1 and found that Csnk1a1 haploinsufficiency induces hematopoietic stem cell expansion and a competitive repopulation advantage, whereas homozygous deletion induces hematopoietic stem cell failure. Based on this finding, we found that heterozygous inactivation of Csnk1a1 sensitizes cells to a CSNK1 inhibitor relative to cells with two intact alleles. In addition, we identified recurrent somatic mutations in CSNK1A1 on the nondeleted allele of patients with del(5q) MDS. These studies demonstrate that CSNK1A1 plays a central role in the biology of del(5q) MDS and is a promising therapeutic target.
Acetaminophen (APAP) toxicity is the most common drug-induced cause of acute liver failure in the United States. The only available treatment, N-acetylcysteine (NAC), has a limited time window of efficacy, indicating a need for additional therapeutic options. Zebrafish have emerged as a powerful tool for drug discovery. Here, we developed a clinically relevant zebrafish model of APAP toxicity. APAP depleted glutathione stores, elevated aminotransferase levels, increased apoptosis, and caused dose-dependent hepatocyte necrosis. These outcomes were limited by NAC and conserved in zebrafish embryos. In a targeted embryonic chemical screen, prostaglandin E2 (PGE2) was identified as a potential therapeutic agent; in the adult, PGE2 similarly decreased APAP-associated toxicity. Significantly, when combined with NAC, PGE2 extended the time window for a successful intervention, synergistically reducing apoptosis, improving liver enzymes, and preventing death. Use of a wnt reporter zebrafish line and chemical genetic epistasis showed that the effects of PGE2 are mediated through the wnt signaling pathway. Zebrafish can be used as a clinically relevant toxicological model amenable to the identification of additional therapeutics and biomarkers of APAP injury; our data suggest combinatorial PGE2 and NAC treatment would be beneficial for patients with APAP-induced liver damage.
We report a Jak2V617F knockin mouse myeloproliferative neoplasm (MPN) model resembling human polycythemia vera (PV). The MPN is serially transplantable and we demonstrate that the hematopoietic stem cell (HSC) compartment has the unique capacity for disease initiation but does not have a significant selective competitive advantage over wild-type HSCs. In contrast, myeloid progenitor populations are expanded and skewed toward the erythroid lineage, but cannot transplant the disease. Treatment with a JAK2 kinase inhibitor ameliorated the MPN phenotype, but did not eliminate the disease-initiating population. These findings provide insights into the consequences of JAK2 activation on HSC differentiation and function and have the potential to inform therapeutic approaches to JAK2V617F-positive MPN.
During vertebrate embryogenesis, hematopoietic stem cells (HSCs) arise in the aorta-gonads-mesonephros (AGM) region. We report here that blood flow is a conserved regulator of HSC formation. In zebrafish, chemical blood flow modulators regulated HSC development, and silent heart (sih) embryos, lacking a heartbeat and blood circulation, exhibited severely reduced HSCs. Flow-modifying compounds primarily affected HSC induction after the onset of heartbeat; however, nitric oxide (NO) donors regulated HSC number even when treatment occurred before the initiation of circulation, and rescued HSCs in sih mutants. Morpholino knockdown of nos1 (nnos/enos) blocked HSC development, and its requirement was shown to be cell autonomous. In the mouse, Nos3 (eNos) was expressed in HSCs in the AGM. Intrauterine Nos inhibition or embryonic Nos3 deficiency resulted in a reduction of hematopoietic clusters and transplantable murine HSCs. This work links blood flow to AGM hematopoiesis and identifies NO as a conserved downstream regulator of HSC development.
Interactions between developmental signaling pathways govern the formation and function of stem cells. Prostaglandin (PG) E2 regulates vertebrate hematopoietic stem cells (HSC). Similarly, the Wnt signaling pathway controls HSC self-renewal and bone marrow repopulation. Here, we show that wnt reporter activity in zebrafish HSCs is responsive to PGE2 modulation, demonstrating a direct interaction in vivo. Inhibition of PGE2 synthesis blocked wnt-induced alterations in HSC formation. PGE2 modified the wnt signaling cascade at the level of beta-catenin degradation through cAMP/PKA-mediated stabilizing phosphorylation events. The PGE2/Wnt interaction regulated murine stem and progenitor populations in vitro in hematopoietic ES cell assays and in vivo following transplantation. The relationship between PGE2 and Wnt was also conserved during regeneration of other organ systems. Our work provides in vivo evidence that Wnt activation in stem cells requires PGE2, and suggests the PGE2/Wnt interaction is a master regulator of vertebrate regeneration and recovery.
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