One mechanism for disrupting the MLL gene in myelodysplastic syndrome (MDS) and acute myeloid leukemia (AML) is through partial tandem duplication (MLL-PTD); however, the mechanism by which MLL-PTD contributes to MDS and AML development and maintenance is currently unknown. Herein, we investigated hematopoietic stem/progenitor cell (HSPC) phenotypes of Mll-PTD knock-in mice. Although HSPCs (Lin-Sca1+Kit+ (LSK)/SLAM + and LSK) in MllPTD/WT mice are reduced in absolute number in steady state because of increased apoptosis, they have a proliferative advantage in colony replating assays, CFU-spleen assays, and competitive transplantation assays over wild-type HSPCs. The MllPTD/WT-derived phenotypic short-term (ST)-HSCs/multipotent progenitors and granulocyte/ macrophage progenitors have self-renewal capability, rescuing hematopoiesis by giving rise to long-term repopulating cells in recipient mice with an unexpected myeloid differentiation blockade and lymphoid-lineage bias. However, Mll PTD/WT HSPCs never develop leukemia in primary or recipient mice, suggesting that additional genetic and/or epigenetic defects are necessary for full leukemogenic transformation. Thus, the Mll-PTD aberrantly alters HSPCs, enhances self-renewal, causes lineage bias, and blocks myeloid differentiation. These findings provide a framework by which we can ascertain the underlying pathogenic role of MLL-PTD in the clonal evolution of human leukemia, which should facilitate improved therapies and patient outcomes.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cell Biology