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Celton M.,University of Montréal | Celton M.,High Throughput Genomics, Inc. | Celton M.,French National Institute for Agricultural Research | Forest A.,University of Montréal | And 12 more authors.
Leukemia | Year: 2014

The GATA2 gene encodes a zinc-finger transcription factor that acts as a master regulator of normal hematopoiesis. Mutations in GATA2 have been implicated in the development of myelodysplastic syndrome and acute myeloid leukemia (AML). Using RNA sequencing we now report that GATA2 is either mutated with a functional consequence, or expressed at low levels in the majority of normal karyotype AML (NK-AML). We also show that low-GATA2-expressing specimens (GATA2low) exhibit allele-specific expression (ASE) (skewing) in more than half of AML patients examined. We demonstrate that the hypermethylation of the silenced allele can be reversed by exposure to demethylating agents, which also restores biallelic expression of GATA2. We show that GATA2low AML lack the prototypical R882 mutation in DNMT3A frequently observed in NK-AML patients and that The Cancer Genome Atlas AML specimens with DNMT3A R882 mutations are characterized by CpG hypomethylation of GATA2. Finally, we validate that several known missense single-nucleotide polymorphisms in GATA2 are actually loss-of-function variants, which, when combined with ASE, represent the equivalent of homozygous GATA2 mutations. From a broader perspective, this work suggests for the first time that determinants of ASE likely have a key role in human leukemia. © 2014 Macmillan Publishers Limited. All rights reserved.

Wilhelm B.T.,University of Montréal | Wilhelm B.T.,Laboratory for Molecular Genetics of Stem Cells | Briau M.,University of Montréal | Austin P.,University of Montréal | And 16 more authors.
Blood | Year: 2011

The molecular mechanisms regulating self-renewal of leukemia stem cells remain poorly understood. Here we report the generation of 2 closely related leukemias created through the retroviral overexpression of Meis1 and Hoxa9. Despite their apparent common origin, these clonal leukemias exhibit enormous differences in stem cell frequency (from 1 in 1.4, FLA2; to 1 in 347, FLB1), suggesting that one of these leukemias undergoes nearly unlimited self-renewal divisions. Using next-generation RNA-sequencing, we characterized the transcriptomes of these phenotypically similar, but biologically distinct, leukemias, identifying hundreds of differentially expressed genes and a large number of structural differences (eg, alternative splicing and promoter usage). Focusing on ligand-receptor pairs, we observed high expression levels of Sdf1-Cxcr4; Jagged2-Notch2/1; Osm-Gp130; Scf-cKit; and Bmp15-Tgfb1/2. Interestingly, the integrin beta 2-like gene (Itgb2l) is both highly expressed and differentially expressed between our 2 leukemias (∼ 14-fold higher in FLA2 than FLB1). In addition, gene ontology analysis indicated G-proteinc-oupled receptor had a much higher proportion of differential expression (22%) compared with other classes (∼ 5%), suggesting a potential role regulating subtle changes in cellular behavior. These results provide the first comprehensive transcriptome analysis of a leukemia stem cell and document an unexpected level of transcriptome variation between phenotypically similar leukemic cells. © 2011 by The American Society of Hematology.

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