Combined factor V (FV) and FVIII deficiency (F5F8D) is a rare autosomal-recessive bleeding disorder caused by mutations in lectin mannose binding-1 (LMAN1) and multiple coagulation factor deficiency-2 (MCFD2). Six causative homozygous mutations (5 in LMAN1 and 1 in MCFD2) were identified in 6 patients with F5F8D. A thrombin-generation assay, triggered with tissue factor (1 pM) in F5F8D plasma, paradoxically exhibited enhanced thrombin generation compared with normal plasma. Significantly lower free tissue factor pathway inhibitor (fTFPI) was found in F5F8D patients compared with healthy controls (P < .01). Normalizing tissue factor pathway inhibitor alpha (TFPI alpha) in F5F8D plasma greatly delayed and reduced thrombin generation. Increasing FV concentrations by adding plasma FV to F5F8D plasma only caused a gradual decrease in thrombin generation, suggesting that low levels of TFPI alpha and FV cocontributed to the elevated thrombin generation by reducing anticoagulant effects. On the contrary, thrombin generation in F5F8D platelet-rich plasma (PRP) was significantly lower than in normal controls (P < .05); however, it was fully corrected by normalizing FVIII or after 1-deamino-8-D-arginine vasopressin (DDAVP) infusion, indicating that the hypocoagulable state of F5F8D patients is associated with low FVIII levels. In addition, plasma and platelet FV in F5F8D PRP were sufficient to support normal thrombin generation, and low TFPI alpha may have no effect on thrombin generation. DDAVP infusion induced a complete response in 5 F5F8D patients and a partial response in the remaining patient. Based on our findings, we suggest that DDAVP may be considered a potential substitute for FVIII concentrates, and fresh-frozen plasma (FFP) infusion may not be necessary for F5F8D patients with minor bleeding challenges.
As essential components of hemoglobin, iron and heme play central roles in terminal erythropoiesis. The impairment of this process in iron/heme deficiency results in microcytic hypochromic anemia, the most prevalent anemia globally. Heme-regulated eIF2 alpha kinase, also known as heme-regulated inhibitor (HRI), is a key heme-binding protein that senses intracellular heme concentrations to balance globin protein synthesis with the amount of heme available for hemoglobin production. HRI is activated during heme deficiency to phosphorylate eIF2 alpha (eIF2 alpha P), which simultaneously inhibits the translation of globin messenger RNAs (mRNAs) and selectively enhances the translation of activating transcription factor 4 (ATF4) mRNA to induce stress response genes. This coordinated translational regulation is a universal hallmark across the eIF2 alpha kinase family under various stress conditions and is termed the integrated stress response (ISR). Inhibition of general protein synthesis by HRI-eIF2 alpha P in erythroblasts is necessary to prevent proteotoxicity and maintain protein homeostasis in the cytoplasm and mitochondria. Additionally, the HRI-eIF2 alpha P-ATF4 pathway represses mechanistic target of rapamycin complex 1 (mTORC1) signaling, specifically in the erythroid lineage as a feedback mechanism of erythropoietin-stimulated erythropoiesis during iron/heme deficiency. Furthermore, ATF4 target genes are most highly activated during iron deficiency to maintain mitochondrial function and redox homeostasis, as well as to enable erythroid differentiation. Thus, heme and translation regulate erythropoiesis through 2 key signaling pathways, ISR and mTORC1, which are coordinated by HRI to circumvent ineffective erythropoiesis (IE). HRI-ISR is also activated to reduce the severity of beta-thalassemia intermedia in the Hbb(th1/th1) murine model. Recently, HRI has been implicated in the regulation of human fetal hemoglobin production. Therefore, HRI-ISR has emerged as a potential therapeutic target for hemoglobinopathies.
Altered metabolism fuels 2 hallmark properties of cancer cells: unlimited proliferation and differentiation blockade. Adenosine monophosphate-activated protein kinase (AMPK) is a master regulator of bioenergetics crucial for glucose metabolism in acute myeloid leukemia (AML), and its inhibition delays leukemogenesis, but whether the metabolic function of AMPK alters the AML epigenome remains unknown. Here, we demonstrate that AMPK maintains the epigenome of MLL-rearranged AML by linking acetyl-coenzyme A (CoA) homeostasis to Bromodomain and Extra-Terminal domain (BET) protein recruitment to chromatin. AMPK deletion reduced acetyl-CoA and histone acetylation, displacing BET proteins from chromatin in leukemia-initiating cells. In both mouse and patient-derived xenograft AML models, treating with AMPK and BET inhibitors synergistically suppressed AML. Our results provide a therapeutic rationale to target AMPK and BET for AML therapy.
Secreted platelet protein disulfide isomerases, PDI, ERp57, ERp5, and ERp72, have important roles as positive regulators of platelet function and thrombosis. Thioredoxin-related transmembrane protein 1 (TMX1) was the first described transmembrane member of the protein disulfide isomerase family of enzymes. Using a specific antibody, the recombinant extracellular domain of TMX1 (rTMX1) protein, a knockout mouse model, and a thiol-labeling approach, we examined the role of TMX1 in platelet function and thrombosis. Expression of TMX1 on the platelet surface increased with thrombin stimulation. The anti-TMX1 antibody increased platelet aggregation induced by convulxin and thrombin, as well as potentiated platelet ATP release. In contrast, rTMX1 inhibited platelet aggregation and ATP release. TMX1-deficient platelets had increased aggregation, ATP release, alpha IIb beta 3 activation, and P-selectin expression, which were reversed by addition of rTMX1. TMX1-knockout mice had increased incorporation of platelets into a growing thrombus in an FeCl3-induced mesenteric arterial injury model, as well as shortened tail-bleeding times. rTMX1 oxidized thiols in the alpha IIb beta 3 integrin and TMX1-deficient platelets had increased thiols in the beta 3 subunit of alpha IIb beta 3, consistent with oxidase activity of rTMX1 against alpha IIb beta 3. Thus, TMX1 is the first identified extracellular inhibitor of platelet function and the first disulfide isomerase that negatively regulates platelet function.
Acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) is the most common malignancy in children. Characterized by high levels of Native American ancestry, Hispanics are disproportionally affected by this cancer with high incidence and inferior survival. However, the genetic basis for this disparity remains poorly understood because of a paucity of genome-wide investigation of ALL in Hispanics. Performing a genome-wide association study (GWAS) in 940 Hispanic children with ALL and 681 ancestry-matched non-ALL controls, we identified a novel susceptibility locus in the ERG gene (rs2836365; P = 3.76 x 10(-8); odds ratio [OR] = 1.56), with independent validation (P = .01; OR = 1.43). Imputation analyses pointed to a single causal variant driving the association signal at this locus overlapping with putative regulatory DNA elements. The effect size of the ERG risk variant rosewith increasing Native American genetic ancestry. The ERG risk genotype was underrepresented in ALL with the ETV6-RUNX1 fusion (P<.0005) but enriched in the TCF3-PBX1 subtype (P<.05). Interestingly, ALL cases with germline ERG risk alleles were significantly less likely to have somatic ERG deletion (P<.05). Our results provide novel insights into genetic predisposition to ALL and its contribution to racial disparity in this cancer.
Along with the aorta-gonad-mesonephros region, the head is a site of hematopoietic stem and progenitor cell (HS/PC) development in the mouse embryo. Macrophages are present in both these embryonic hemogenic sites, and recent studies indicate a functional interaction of macrophages with hematopoietic cells as they are generated in the aorta. Whereas brain macrophages or "microglia" are known to affect neuronal patterning and vascular circuitry in the embryonic brain, it is unknown whether macrophages play a role in head hematopoiesis. Here, we characterize head macrophages and examine whether they affect the HS/PC output of the hindbrain-branchial arch (HBA) region of the mouse embryo. We show that HBA macrophages are CD45(+)F4/80(+)CD11b(+)Gr1(-) and express the macrophage-specific Csf1r-GFP reporter. In the HBA of chemokine receptor-deficient (Cx3cr1(-/-)) embryos, a reduction in erythropoiesis is concomitant with a decrease in HBA macrophage percentages. In cocultures, we show that head macrophages boost hematopoietic progenitor cell numbers from HBA endothelial cells > twofold, and that the proinflammatory factor tumor necrosis factor-a is produced by head macrophages and influences HBA hematopoiesis in vitro. Taken together, head macrophages play a positive role in HBA erythropoiesis and HS/PC expansion and/or maturation, acting as microenvironmental cellular regulators in hematopoietic development.
Single-agent ibrutinib is active in patients with previously treated mantle cell lymphoma (MCL); however, nearly half of all patients experience treatment failure during the first year. We previously demonstrated that prolonged early G1 cell cycle arrest induced by the oral, specific CDK4/6 inhibitor palbociclib can overcome ibrutinib resistance in primary human MCL cells and MCL cell lines expressing wild-type Bruton's tyrosine kinase (BTK). Therefore, we conducted a phase 1 trial to evaluate the dosing, safety, and preliminary activity of palbociclib plus ibrutinib in patients with previously treated mantle cell lymphoma. From August 2014 to June 2016, a total of 27 patients (21 men, 6 women) were enrolled. The maximum tolerated doses were ibrutinib 560 mg daily plus palbociclib 100 mg on days 1 to 21 of each 28-day cycle. The dose-limiting toxicity was grade 3 rash. The most common grade 3 to 4 toxicities included neutropenia (41%), thrombocytopenia (30%), hypertension (15%), febrile neutropenia (15%), and lung infection (11%). The overall and complete response rates were 67% and 37%, and with a median follow-up of 25.6 months, the 2-year progression-free survival was 59.4% and the 2-year response duration was 69.8%. A phase 2 multicenter clinical trial to further characterize efficacy is now ongoing.
Although generally curable with intensive chemotherapy in resource-rich settings, Burkitt lymphoma (BL) remains a deadly disease in older patients and in sub-Saharan Africa. Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) positivity is a feature in more than 90% of cases in malaria-endemic regions, and up to 30% elsewhere. However, the molecular features of BL have not been comprehensively evaluated when taking into account tumor EBV status or geographic origin. Through an integrative analysis of whole-genome and transcriptome data, we show a striking genome-wide increase in aberrant somatic hypermutation in EBV-positive tumors, supporting a link between EBV and activation-induced cytidine deaminase (AICDA) activity. In addition to identifying novel candidate BL genes such as SIN3A, USP7, and CHD8, we demonstrate that EBV-positive tumors had significantly fewer driver mutations, especially among genes with roles in apoptosis. We also found immunoglobulin variable region genes that were disproportionally used to encode clonal B-cell receptors (BCRs) in the tumors. These include IGHV4-34, known to produce autoreactive antibodies, and IGKV3-20, a feature described in other B-cell malignancies but not yet in BL. Our results suggest that tumor EBV status defines a specific BL phenotype irrespective of geographic origin, with particular molecular properties and distinct pathogenic mechanisms. The novel mutation patterns identified here imply rational use of DNA-damaging chemotherapy in some patients with BL and targeted agents such as the CDK4/6 inhibitor palbociclib in others, whereas the importance of BCR signaling in BL strengthens the potential benefit of inhibitors for PI3K, Syk, and Src family kinases among these patients.
Three proteasome inhibitors have garnered regulatory approvals in various multiple myeloma settings; but drug resistance is an emerging challenge, prompting interest in blocking upstream components of the ubiquitin-proteasome pathway. One such attractive target is the E1 ubiquitin-activating enzyme (UAE); we therefore evaluated the activity of TAK-243, a novel and specific UAE inhibitor. TAK-243 potently suppressed myeloma cell line growth, induced apoptosis, and activated caspases while decreasing the abundance of ubiquitin-protein conjugates. This was accompanied by stabilization of many short-lived proteins, including p53, myeloid cell leukemia 1 (MCL-1), and c-MYC, and activation of the activating transcription factor 6 (ATF-6), inositol-requiring enzyme 1 (IRE-1), and protein kinase RNA-like endoplasmic reticulum (ER) kinase (PERK) arms of the ER stress response pathway, as well as oxidative stress. UAE inhibition showed comparable activity against otherwise isogenic cell lines with wild-type (WT) or deleted p53 despite induction of TP53 signaling in WT cells. Notably, TAK-243 overcame resistance to conventional drugs and novel agents in cell-line models, including bortezomib and carfilzomib resistance, and showed activity against primary cells from relapsed/refractory myeloma patients. In addition, TAK-243 showed strong synergy with a number of antimyeloma agents, including doxorubicin, melphalan, and panobinostat as measured by low combination indices. Finally, TAK-243 was active against a number of in vivo myeloma models in association with activation of ER stress. Taken together, the data support the conclusion that UAE inhibition could be an attractive strategy to move forward to the clinic for patients with relapsed and/or refractory multiple myeloma.
D assemblies make up half of the von Willebrand factor (VWF), yet are of unknown structure. D1 and D2 in the prodomain and D'D3 in mature VWF at Golgi pH form helical VWF tubules in Weibel Palade bodies and template dimerization of D3 through disulfides to form ultralong VWF concatemers. D'D3 forms the binding site for factor VIII. The crystal structure of monomeric D'D3 with cysteine residues required for dimerization mutated to alanine was determined at an endoplasmic reticulum (ER)-like pH. The smaller C8-3, TIL3 (trypsin inhibitor-like 3), and E3 modules pack through specific interfaces as they wind around the larger, N-terminal, Ca2+-binding von Willebrand D domain (VWD) 3 module to form a wedge shape. D' with its TIL' and E' modules projects away from D3. The 2 mutated cysteines implicated in D3 dimerization are buried, providing a mechanism for protecting them against premature disulfide linkage in the ER, where intrachain disulfide linkages are formed. D3 dimerization requires co-association with D1 and D2, Ca2+, and Golgi-like acidic pH. Associated structural rearrangements in the C8-3 and TIL3 modules are required to expose cysteine residues for disulfide linkage. Our structure provides insight into many von Willebrand disease mutations, including those that diminish factor VIII binding, which suggest that factor VIII binds not only to the N-terminal TIL' domain of D' distal from D3 but also extends across 1 side of D3. The organizing principle for the D3 assembly has implications for other D assemblies and the construction of higher-order, disulfide-linked assemblies in the Golgi in both VWF and mucins.
Idiopathic multicentric Castleman disease (iMCD) is a rare lymphoproliferative disorder. The anti-interleukin 6 (IL-6) therapy siltuximab is not available everywhere, and is not effective for over one-half of patients. Alternative treatment approaches are urgently needed. In the first iMCD clinical trial directed against a target other than IL-6 signaling, we investigated a thalidomide-cyclophosphamide-prednisone (TCP) regimen in newly diagnosed iMCD patients. This single-center, single-arm, phase 2 study enrolled 25 newly diagnosed iMCD patients between June 2015 and June 2018. The TCP regimen (thalidomide 100 mg daily for 2 years; oral cyclophosphamide 300 mg/m(2) weekly for 1 year; prednisone 1 mg/kg twice a week for 1 year) was administered for 2 years or until treatment failure. The primary end point was durable tumor and symptomatic response for at least 24 weeks. Twelve patients (48%) achieved the primary end point with no relapse, 3 patients (12%) demonstrated stable disease, and 10 patients (40%) were evaluated as treatment failure. Even when considering all patients, there were significant (P < .05) improvements in median symptom score, IL-6 level, hemoglobin, erythrocyte sedimentation rate, albumin, and immunoglobulin G. Among responders, the median levels of all evaluated parameters significantly improved, to the normal range, after treatment. The regimen was well tolerated. One patient died of pulmonary infection and 1 patient had a grade 3 adverse event (rash); 2 patients died following disease progression. Estimated 1-year progression-free survival and overall survival were 60% and 88%, respectively. The TCP regimen is an effective and safe treatment of newly diagnosed iMCD patients, particularly when siltuximab is unavailable.
Neutrophils are a major component of immune defense and are recruited through neutrophil chemotaxis in response to invading pathogens. However, the molecular mechanism that controls neutrophil chemotaxis remains unclear. Here, we report that PTEN alpha, the first isoform identified in the PTEN family, regulates neutrophil deformability and promotes chemotaxis of neutrophils. A high level of PTEN alpha is detected in neutrophils and lymphoreticular tissues. Homozygous deletion of PTEN alpha impairs chemoattractant-induced migration of neutrophils. We show that PTEN alpha physically interacts with cell membrane cross-linker moesin through its FERM domain and dephosphorylates moesin at Thr558, which disrupts the association of filamentous actin with the plasma membrane and subsequently induces morphologic changes in neutrophil pseudopodia. These results demonstrate that PTEN alpha acts as a phosphatase of moesin and modulates neutrophil-mediated host immune defense. We propose that PTEN alpha signaling is a potential target for the treatment of infections and immune diseases.
The erythroblastic island (EBI), composed of a centralmacrophage and surrounding erythroid cells, was the first hematopoietic niche discovered. The identity of EBI macrophages has thus far remained elusive. Given that Epo is essential for erythropoiesis and that Epor is expressed in numerous nonerythroid cells, we hypothesized that EBI macrophages express Epor so that Epo can act on both erythroid cells and EBI macrophages simultaneously to ensure efficient erythropoiesis. To test this notion, we used Epor-eGFPcre knockin mouse model. We show that in bone marrow (BM) and fetal liver, a subset of macrophages express Epor-eGFP. Imaging flow cytometry analyses revealed that > 90% of native EBIs comprised F4/80(+)Epor-eGFP1 macrophages. Human fetal liver EBIs also comprised EPOR1 macrophages. Gene expression profiles of BM F4/80(+)Epor-eGFP1 macrophages suggest a specialized function in supporting erythropoiesis. Molecules known to be important for EBI macrophage function such as Vcam1, CD169, Mertk, and Dnase2a were highly expressed in F4/80(+)Epor-eGFP1 macrophages compared with F4/80(+)Epor-eGFP2 macrophages. Key molecules involved in iron recycling were also highly expressed in BM F4/80(+)Epor-eGFP1 macrophages, suggesting that EBI macrophages may provide an iron source for erythropoiesis within this niche. Thus, we have characterized EBI macrophages in mouse and man. Our findings provide important resources for future studies of EBI macrophage function during normal as well as disordered erythropoiesis in hematologic diseases such as thalassemia, polycythemia vera, and myelodysplastic syndromes.