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Samassekou O.,Universite de Sherbrooke | Malina A.,McGill University | Hebert J.,Leukemia Cell Bank of Quebec | Yan J.,Universite de Sherbrooke
Journal of Hematology and Oncology | Year: 2013

Background: The predominant mechanism by which human tumors maintain telomere length is via telomerase. In ∼10% of tumor samples, however, telomere length is conserved, despite no detectable telomerase activity, in part through activation of the alternative lengthening of telomeres (ALT) pathway. Methods. We studied the circular extra-chromosomal telomeric repeat (ECTR), an ALT hallmark, and telomerase activity in 24 chronic myeloid leukemia (CML) patients in chronic phase (CP). Results: We identified the presence of ECTR in primary leukemia cells from some of these samples, which indicates the possible involvement of an ALT mechanism. Moreover, we found that some samples exhibited both circular ECTR and telomerase activities, suggesting that both mechanisms can contribute to the onset of CML. Conclusion: We propose that ALT or the combined activities of ALT and telomerase might be required for the early stages of leukemogenesis. These findings shed new light into the oncogenic pathways responsible for the maintenance of telomere length in leukemia, which will ultimately determine the effectiveness of anti-telomerase-based treatment protocols. © 2013 Samassekou et al.; licensee BioMed Central Ltd.


Yu Z.,McGill University | Vogel G.,McGill University | Yan C.,Laval University | Dubeau D.,McGill University | And 6 more authors.
Cell Research | Year: 2012

The MRE11/RAD50/NBS1 complex is the primary sensor rapidly recruited to DNA double-strand breaks (DSBs). MRE11 is known to be arginine methylated by PRMT1 within its glycine-arginine-rich (GAR) motif. In this study, we report a mouse knock-in allele of Mre11 that substitutes the arginines with lysines in the GAR motif and generates the MRE11 RK protein devoid of methylated arginines. The Mre11 RK/RK mice were hypersensitive to γ-irradiation (IR) and the cells from these mice displayed cell cycle checkpoint defects and chromosome instability. Moreover, the Mre11 RK/RK MEFs exhibited ATR/CHK1 signaling defects and impairment in the recruitment of RPA and RAD51 to the damaged sites. The M RK RN complex formed and localized to the sites of DNA damage and normally activated the ATM pathway in response to IR. The M RK RN complex exhibited exonuclease and DNA-binding defects in vitro responsible for the impaired DNA end resection and ATR activation observed in vivo in response to IR. Our findings provide genetic evidence for the critical role of the MRE11 GAR motif in DSB repair, and demonstrate a mechanistic link between post-translational modifications at the MRE11 GAR motif and DSB processing, as well as the ATR/CHK1 checkpoint signaling. © 2012 IBCB, SIBS, CAS. All rights reserved.


Nielsen T.H.,Lady Davis Institute for Medical Research | Johnson N.,Lady Davis Institute for Medical Research | Garnier N.,Lady Davis Institute for Medical Research | Kwan S.,Lady Davis Institute for Medical Research | And 10 more authors.
Frontiers in Pharmacology | Year: 2013

Acute myeloid leukemia (AML) with inversion of chromosome 3 is characterized by overexpression of EVI1 and carries a dismal prognosis. Arsenic-containing compounds have been described to be efficacious in malignancies overexpressing EVI1. Here, we describe a case of AML with inv(3)(q21q26.2) treated with the organic arsenical darinaparsin. Using a "personalized medicine approach," two different arsenicals were screened for anti-leukemic effect against the patient's cells ex vivo. The most promising compound, darinaparsin, was selected for in vivo treatment. Clinical effect was almost immediate, with a normalization of temperature, a stabilization of white blood cell (WBC) counts and an increased quality of life. Longitudinal monitoring of patient response and resistance incorporating significant correlative studies on patient-derived blood samples over the two cycles of darinaparsin given to this patient allowed us to evaluate potential mechanisms of response and resistance. The anti-leukemic effects of darinaparsin correlated with inhibition of the alternative NF-κB pathway and production of the inflammatory cytokine IL-8. Emergence of resistance was suspected during treatment cycle 2 and supported by xenograft studies in nude mice. Darinaparsin resistance correlated with an attenuation of the effect of treatment on the alternative NF-κB pathway. The results from this patient indicate that darinaparsin may be a good treatment option for inv(3) AML and that inhibition of the alternative NF-κB pathway may be predictive of response. Longitudinal monitoring of disease response as well as several correlative parameters allowed for the generation of novel correlations and predictors of response to experimental therapy in a heavily pretreated patient. © 2013 Nielsen, Johnson, Garnier, Kwan, Yao, Cocolakis, Hébert, Morgan, Paquet, Callahan, Jordan, Assouline, Miller and Mann.


Buscarlet M.,Institute for Research in Immunology and Cancer | Buscarlet M.,University of Montreal | Krasteva V.,Institute for Research in Immunology and Cancer | Krasteva V.,University of Montreal | And 11 more authors.
Blood | Year: 2014

In mammals, combinatorial assembly of alternative families of subunits confers functional specificity to adenosine triphosphate (ATP)-dependent SWI/SNF-like Brg/Brm-associated factor (BAF) chromatin remodeling complexes by creating distinct polymorphic surfaces for interaction with regulatory elements and DNA-binding factors. Although redundant in terms of biochemical activity, the core ATPase subunits, BRG/SMARCA4 and BRM/SMARCA2, are functionally distinct and may contribute to complex specificity. Here we show using quantitative proteomics that BAF complexes expressed in leukemia are specifically assembled around the BRGATPase. Moreover, using amouse model of acute myeloid leukemia, we demonstrate that BRG is essential for leukemia maintenance, as leukemic cells lacking BRG rapidly undergo cell-cycle arrest and apoptosis. Most importantly, we show that BRG is dispensable for the maintenance of immunophenotypic long-term repopulating hematopoietic stem cells, suggesting that adroit targeting of BRG in leukemia may have potent and specific therapeutic effects. © 2014 by The American Society of Hematology.


Khandanpour C.,Institute Of Recherches Cliniques Of Montreal Ircm | Khandanpour C.,University of Montreal | Khandanpour C.,Institute For Zellbiologie Tumorforschung | Kosan C.,Institute Of Recherches Cliniques Of Montreal Ircm | And 12 more authors.
Stem Cells | Year: 2011

The regulation of gene transcription is elementary for the function of hematopoietic stem cells (HSCs). The transcriptional repressor growth factor independence 1 (Gfi1) restricts HSC proliferation and is essential to maintain their self-renewal capacity and multipotency after transplantation. In addition, Gfi1 -/- HSCs are severely compromised in their ability to compete with wild-type (wt) HSCs after transplantation. We now report that Gfi1 protects HSCs against stress-induced apoptosis, probably, by repressing the proapoptotic target gene Bax, since irradiated Gfi1 -/- HSCs display higher expression of Bax and show a higher rate of apoptosis than wt HSCs. This protective function of Gfi1 appears to be functionally relevant since Gfi1 -/- HSCs that express Bcl-2, which antagonizes the effects of Bax, regain their ability to self renew and to initiate multilineage differentiation after transplantation. Surprisingly, Gfi1 -/-xBcl-2 transgenic mice also show a strong, systemic expansion of Mac-1 +Gr-1 - myeloid cells in bone marrow and peripheral lymphoid organs. These cells express high levels of the proleukemogenic transcription factor Hoxa9 and, in older mice, appear as atypical monocytoid-blastoid cells in the peripheral blood. As a result of this massive expansion of myeloid cells, all Gfi1 -/-xBcl-2 mice eventually succumb to a myeloproliferative-like disease resembling a preleukemic state. In summary, our data demonstrate that Gfi1's ability to protect against apoptosis is essential for HSC function. In addition, our finding show that Gfi1 prevents the development of myeloproliferative diseases and provides evidence how Gfi1 deficiency could be linked to myeloid leukemia. © AlphaMed Press.

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