Epigenetic changes can contribute to development of acute myeloid leukemia (AML), a malignant disease of the bone marrow. A single-nucleotide polymorphism of transcription factor growth factor independence 1 (GFI1) generates a protein with an asparagine at position 36 (GFI1(36N)) instead of a serine at position 36 (GFI1(36S)), which is associated with de novo AML in humans. However, how GFI1(36N) predisposes to AML is poorly understood. To explore the mechanism, we used knock-in mouse strains expressing GFI1(36N) or GFI1(36S). Presence of GFI1(36N) shortened the latency and increased the incidence of AML in different murine models of myelodysplastic syndrome/AML. On a molecular level, GFI1(36N) induced genomewide epigenetic changes, leading to expression of AML-associated genes. On a therapeutic level, use of histone acetyltransferase inhibitors specifically impeded growth of GFI1(36N)-expressing human and murine AML cells in vitro and in vivo. These results establish, as a proof of principle, how epigenetic changes in GFI1(36N)-induced AML can be targeted.
Copyright © 2016 ISEH - International Society for Experimental Hematology. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.