Lenalidomide is a drug with clinical efficacy in multiple myeloma and other B cell neoplasms, but its mechanism of action is unknown. Using quantitative proteomics, we found that lenalidomide causes selective ubiquitination and degradation of two lymphoid transcription factors, IKZF1 and IKZF3, by the CRBN-CRL4 ubiquitin ligase. IKZF1 and IKZF3 are essential transcription factors in multiple myeloma. A single amino acid substitution of IKZF3 conferred resistance to lenalidomide-induced degradation and rescued lenalidomide-induced inhibition of cell growth. Similarly, we found that lenalidomide-induced IL2 production in T cells is due to depletion of IKZF1 and IKZF3. These findings reveal a novel mechanism of action for a therapeutic agent, alteration of the activity of an E3 ubiquitin ligase leading to selective degradation of specific targets.
Mutations in the nucleophosmin 1 (NPM1) gene are considered a founder event in the pathogenesis of acute myeloid leukemia (AML). To address the role of clonal evolution in relapsed NPM1-mutated (NPM1mut) AML, we applied high-resolution, genome-wide, single-nucleotide polymorphism array profiling to detect copy number alterations (CNAs) and uniparental disomies (UPDs) and performed comprehensive gene mutation screening in 53 paired bone marrow/peripheral blood samples obtained at diagnosis and relapse. At diagnosis, 15 aberrations (CNAs, n = 10; UPDs, n = 5) were identified in 13 patients (25%), whereas at relapse, 56 genomic alterations (CNAs, n = 46; UPDs, n = 10) were detected in 29 patients (55%) indicating an increase in genomic complexity. Recurrent aberrations acquired at relapse included deletions affecting tumor suppressor genes (ETV6 [n = 3], TP53 [n = 2], NF1 [n = 2], WT1 [n = 3], FHIT [n = 2]) and homozygous FLT3 mutations acquired via UPD13q (n = 7). DNMT3A mutations (DNMT3Amut) showed the highest stability (97%). Persistence of DNMT3Amut in 5 patients who lost NPM1mut at relapse suggests that DNMT3Amut may precede NPM1mut in AML pathogenesis. Of note, all relapse samples shared at least 1 genetic aberration with the matched primary AML sample, implying common ancestral clones. In conclusion, our study reveals novel insights into clonal evolution in NPM1mut AML.
Acute myeloid leukemia (AML) is characterized by molecular heterogeneity. As commonly altered genomic regions point to candidate genes involved in leukemogenesis, we used microarray-based comparative genomic hybridization and single nucleotide polymorphism profiling data of 391 AML cases to further narrow down genomic regions of interest. Targeted resequencing of 1000 genes located in the critical regions was performed in a representative cohort of 50 AML samples comprising all major cytogenetic subgroups. We identified 120 missense/nonsense mutations as well as 60 insertions/deletions affecting 73 different genes (? 3.6 tumor-specific aberrations/AML). While most of the newly identified alterations were nonrecurrent, we observed an enrichment of mutations affecting genes involved in epigenetic regulation including known candidates like TET2, TET1, DNMT3A, and DNMT1, as well as mutations in the histone methyltransferases NSD1, EZH2, and MLL3. Furthermore, we found mutations in the splicing factor SFPQ and in the nonclassic regulators of mRNA processing CTCF and RAD21. These splicing-related mutations affected 10% of AML patients in a mutually exclusive manner. In conclusion, we could identify a large number of alterations in genes involved in aberrant splicing and epigenetic regulation in genomic regions commonly altered in AML, highlighting their important role in the molecular pathogenesis of AML.
To identify cooperating lesions in core-binding factor acute myeloid leukemia, we performed single-nucleotide polymorphism-array analysis on 300 diagnostic and 41 relapse adult and pediatric leukemia samples. We identified a mean of 1.28 copy number alterations per case at diagnosis in both patient populations. Recurrent minimally deleted regions (MDRs) were identified at 7q36.1 (7.7%), 9q21.32 (5%), 11p13 (2.3%), and 17q11.2 (2%). Approximately one-half of the 7q deletions were detectable only by single-nucleotide polymorphism-array analysis because of their limited size. Sequence analysis of MLL3, contained within the 7q36.1 MDR, in 46 diagnostic samples revealed one truncating mutation in a leukemia lacking a 7q deletion. Recurrent focal gains were identified at 8q24.21 (4.7%) and 11q25 (1.7%), both containing a single noncoding RNA. Recurrent regions of copy-neutral loss-of-heterozygosity were identified at 1p (1%), 4q (0.7%), and 19p (0.7%), with known mutated cancer genes present in the minimally altered region of 1p (NRAS) and 4q (TET2). Analysis of relapse samples identified recurrent MDRs at 3q13.31 (12.2%), 5q (4.9%), and 17p (4.9%), with the 3q13.31 region containing only LSAMP, a putative tumor suppressor. Determining the role of these lesions in leukemogenesis and drug resistance should provide important insights into core-binding factor acute myeloid leukemia.
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