Evi1 defines leukemia-initiating capacity and tyrosine kinase inhibitor resistance in chronic myeloid leukemia

T. Sato, S. Goyama, K. Kataoka, R. Nasu, T. Tsuruta-Kishino, Y. Kagoya, A. Nukina, K. Kumagai, N. Kubota, M. Nakagawa, S. Arai, A. Yoshimi, H. Honda, T. Kadowaki, M. Kurokawa

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

30 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Relapse of chronic myeloid leukemia (CML) is triggered by stem cells with a reconstituting capacity similar to that of hematopoietic stem cells (HSCs) and CML stem cells are a source of resistance in drug therapy with tyrosine kinase inhibitors (TKIs). Ecotropic viral integration site 1 (EVI1), a key transcription factor in HSC regulation, is known to predict poor outcomes in myeloid malignancies, however, incapability of prospective isolation of EVI1-high leukemic cells precludes the functional evaluation of intraindividual EVI1-high cells. Introduction of CML into Evi1-internal ribosomal entry site (IRES)-green fluorescent protein (GFP) knock-in mice, a versatile HSC-reporter strain, enables us to separate Evi1-high CML cells from the individual. Evi1-IRES-GFP allele models of CML in chronic phase (CML-CP), by retroviral overexpression of BCR-ABL and by crossing BCR-ABL transgenic mice, revealed that Evi1 is predominantly enriched in the stem cell fraction and associated with an enhanced proliferative as well as a leukemia-initiating capacity and that Evi1-high CML-CP cells exhibit resistance to TKIs. Overexpressing BCR-ABL and NUP98-HOXA9 in Evi1-IRES-GFP knock-in mice to model CML in blast crisis (CML-BC), in which Evi1-high cells turned to be a major population as opposed to a minor population in CML-CP models, showed that Evi1-high CML-BC cells have a greater potential to recapitulate the disease and appear resistant to TKIs. Furthermore, given that Evi1 heterozygosity ameliorates CML-CP and CML-BC development and that the combination of Evi1 and BCR-ABL causes acute myeloid leukemia resembling CML-BC, Evi1 could regulate CML development as a potent driver. In addition, in human CML-CP cases, we show that EVI1 is highly expressed in stem cell-enriched CD34+CD38-CD90+ fraction at single-cell level. This is the first report to clarify directly that Evi1-high leukemic cells themselves possess the superior potential to Evi1-low cells in oncogenic self-renewal, which highlights the role of Evi1 as a valuable and a functional marker of CML stem cells.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)5028-5038
Number of pages11
JournalOncogene
Volume33
Issue number42
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2014 Oct 16
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Genetics
  • Cancer Research

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