The Journal of clinical investigation. 2016-03-01; 126.3: 997-1011.

MLL-AF9- and HOXA9-mediated acute myeloid leukemia stem cell self-renewal requires JMJD1C

Zhu N, Chen M, Eng R, DeJong J, Sinha AU, Rahnamay NF, Koche R, Al-Shahrour F, Minehart JC, Chen CW, Deshpande AJ, Xu H, Chu SH, Ebert BL, Roeder RG, Armstrong SA

PMID: 26878175


Self-renewal is a hallmark of both hematopoietic stem cells (HSCs) and leukemia stem cells (LSCs); therefore, the identification of mechanisms that are required for LSC, but not HSC, function could provide therapeutic opportunities that are more effective and less toxic than current treatments. Here, we employed an in vivo shRNA screen and identified jumonji domain-containing protein JMJD1C as an important driver of MLL-AF9 leukemia. Using a conditional mouse model, we showed that loss of JMJD1C substantially decreased LSC frequency and caused differentiation of MLL-AF9- and homeobox A9-driven (HOXA9-driven) leukemias. We determined that JMJD1C directly interacts with HOXA9 and modulates a HOXA9-controlled gene-expression program. In contrast, loss of JMJD1C led to only minor defects in blood homeostasis and modest effects on HSC self-renewal. Together, these data establish JMJD1C as an important mediator of MLL-AF9- and HOXA9-driven LSC function that is largely dispensable for HSC function.

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