Writers, Readers and Erasers of RNA Modifications in Cancer.Cancer Lett. 25 Jan 2020, . Epub 25 Jan 2020
Although cancer was originally considered a disease driven only by genetic mutations, it has now been proven that it is also an epigenetic disease driven by DNA hypermethylation-associated silencing of tumor suppressor genes and aberrant histone modifications. Very recently, a third component has emerged: the so-called epitranscriptome understood as the chemical modifications of RNA that regulate and alter the activity of RNA molecules. In this regard, the study of genetic and epigenetic disruption of the RNA-modifying proteins is gaining momentum in advancing our understanding of cancer biology. Furthermore, the development of epitranscriptomic anticancer drugs could lead to new promising and unexpected therapeutic strategies for oncology in the coming years.More information
Coactivation of NF-κB and Notch signaling is sufficient to induce B-cell transformation and enables B-myeloid conversion.Blood 9 Jan 2020, 135 (2) 108-120.
NF-κB and Notch signaling can be simultaneously activated in a variety of B-cell lymphomas. Patients with B-cell lymphoma occasionally develop clonally related myeloid tumors with poor prognosis. Whether concurrent activation of both pathways is sufficient to induce B-cell transformation and whether the signaling initiates B-myeloid conversion in a pathological context are largely unknown. Here, we provide genetic evidence that concurrent activation of NF-κB and Notch signaling in committed B cells is sufficient to induce B-cell lymphomatous transformation and primes common progenitor cells to convert to myeloid lineage through dedifferentiation, not transdifferentiation. Intriguingly, the converted myeloid cells can further transform, albeit at low frequency, into myeloid leukemia. Mechanistically, coactivation of NF-κB and Notch signaling endows committed B cells with the ability to self renew. Downregulation of BACH2, a lymphoma and myeloid gene suppressor, but not upregulation of CEBPα and/or downregulation of B-cell transcription factors, is an early event in both B-cell transformation and myeloid conversion. Interestingly, a DNA hypomethylating drug not only effectively eliminated the converted myeloid leukemia cells, but also restored the expression of green fluorescent protein, which had been lost in converted myeloid leukemia cells. Collectively, our results suggest that targeting NF-κB and Notch signaling will not only improve lymphoma treatment, but also prevent the lymphoma-to-myeloid tumor conversion. Importantly, DNA hypomethylating drugs might efficiently treat these converted myeloid neoplasms.More information
Flow cytometric significance of cellular alkaline phosphatase activity in acute myeloid leukemia.Oncotarget 10 Dec 2019, 10 (65) 6969-6980. Epub 10 Dec 2019
In this prospective hospital-based cohort study that included 43 newly diagnosed patients with acute myeloid leukemia, flow cytometric cellular alkaline phosphatase (ALP) activity within primitive leukemic cells allowed us to identify two groups of patients at diagnosis according to the numbers of leukemic blasts expressing ≥ 12% of ALP+ cells (27 patients, Group A) and less than 12% of ALP+ cells (16 patients, Group B). Differences in outcome for complete response, relapse or treatment resistance, and exitus were statistically analyzed and were significant, when comparing the two groups. The overall survival (OS) and event-free survival (EFS) differences between Group A and B were statistically significant. The survival of Group A patients was significantly shorter than those for Group B. No significant relationship was detected in outcome when comparing ELN prognostic-risk group based on cytogenetic and molecular profile (patients in the favorable, intermediate, and adverse risk groups). Flow cytometric cellular ALP activity at diagnosis may be used to estimate relapses and disease persistence more accurately. The limitations of our study include the small number of patients enrolled and a short follow-up, due to its prospective nature.More information
From Loops to Looks: Transcription Factors and Chromatin Organization Shaping Terminal B Cell Differentiation.Trends Immunol. 7 Dec 2019, . Epub 7 Dec 2019
B lymphopoiesis is tightly regulated at the level of gene transcription. In recent years, investigators have shed light on the transcription factor networks and the epigenetic machinery involved at all differentiation steps of mammalian B cell development. During terminal differentiation, B cells undergo dramatic changes in gene transcriptional programs to generate germinal center B cells, plasma cells and memory B cells. Recent evidence indicates that mature B cell formation involves an essential contribution from 3D chromatin conformations through its interplay with transcription factors and epigenetic machinery. Here, we provide an up-to-date overview of the coordination between transcription factors, epigenetic changes, and chromatin architecture during terminal B cell differentiation, focusing on recent discoveries and technical advances for studying 3D chromatin structures.More information