Cohesin mutations alter DNA damage repair and chromatin structure and create therapeutic vulnerabilities in MDS/AML.
JCI Insight. 2020 Dec 22;142149. doi: 10.1172/jci.insight.142149. PMID: 33351783
The cohesin complex plays an essential role in chromosome maintenance and transcriptional regulation. Recurrent somatic mutations in the cohesin complex are frequent genetic drivers in cancer including myelodysplatic syndromes (MDS) and acute myeloid leukemia (AML). Here, using genetic dependency screens of STAG2-mutant AML, we identified DNA damage repair and replication as genetic dependencies in cohesin-mutant cells. We demonstrated increased levels of DNA damage and sensitivity of cohesin-mutant cells to PARP inhibition. We developed a mouse model of MDS in which Stag2 mutations arise as clonal secondary lesions in the background of clonal hematopoiesis driven by Tet2 mutations, and demonstrated selective depletion of cohesin-mutant cells with PARP inhibition in vivo. Finally, we demonstrated a shift from STAG2- to STAG1-containing cohesin complexes in cohesin-mutant cells, which is associated with longer DNA loop extrusion, more intermixing of chromatin compartments, and increased interaction with PARP and RPA proteins. Our findings inform the biology and therapeutic opportunities for cohesin-mutant malignancies.
Multiplex CRISPR/Cas9-Based Genome Editing in Human Hematopoietic Stem Cells Models Clonal Hematopoiesis and Myeloid Neoplasia.
Cell Stem Cell. 2017 Oct 5;21(4):547-555.e8. doi: 10.1016/j.stem.2017.07.015. PMID: 28985529
Hematologic malignancies are driven by combinations of genetic lesions that have been difficult to model in human cells. We used CRISPR/Cas9 genome engineering of primary adult and umbilical cord blood CD34 + human hematopoietic stem and progenitor cells (HSPCs), the cells of origin for myeloid pre-malignant and malignant diseases, followed by transplantation into immunodeficient mice to generate genetic models of clonal hematopoiesis and neoplasia. Human hematopoietic cells bearing mutations in combinations of genes, including cohesin complex genes, observed in myeloid malignancies generated immunophenotypically defined neoplastic clones capable of long-term, multi-lineage reconstitution and serial transplantation. Employing these models to investigate therapeutic efficacy, we found that TET2 and cohesin-mutated hematopoietic cells were sensitive to azacitidine treatment. These findings demonstrate the potential for generating genetically defined models of human myeloid diseases, and they are suitable for examining the biological consequences of somatic mutations and the testing of therapeutic agents.
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Photo credits: Francisco Marty, MD and Rebecca Gorelov, BA