Epigenetic regulators are recurrently mutated and aberrantly expressed in acute myeloid leukemia (AML). Targeted therapies designed to inhibit these chromatin-modifying enzymes, such as the histone demethylase lysine-specific demethylase 1 (LSD1) and the histone methyltransferase DOT1L, have been developed as novel treatment modalities for these often refractory diseases. A common feature of many of these targeted agents is their ability to induce myeloid differentiation, suggesting that multiple paths toward a myeloid gene expression program can be engaged to relieve the differentiation blockade that is uniformly seen in AML. We performed a comparative assessment of chromatin dynamics during the treatment of mixed lineage leukemia (MLL)-AF9-driven murine leukemias and MLL-rearranged patient-derived xenografts using 2 distinct but effective differentiation-inducing targeted epigenetic therapies, the LSD1 inhibitor GSK-LSD1 and the DOT1L inhibitor EPZ4777. Intriguingly, GSK-LSD1 treatment caused global gains in chromatin accessibility, whereas treatment with EPZ4777 caused global losses in accessibility. We captured PU.1 and C/EBPa motif signatures at LSD1 inhibitor-induced dynamic sites and chromatin immunoprecipitation coupled with high-throughput sequencing revealed co-occupancy of these myeloid transcription factors at these sites. Functionally, we confirmed that diminished expression of PU.1 or genetic deletion of C/EBPa in MLL-AF9 cells generates resistance of these leukemias to LSD1 inhibition. These findings reveal that pharmacologic inhibition of LSD1 represents a unique path to overcome the differentiation block in AML for therapeutic benefit.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cell Biology