Acute myeloid leukemia (AML) is an aggressive clonal disorder of hematopoietic stem cells (HSCs) and primitive progenitors that blocks their myeloid differentiation, generating self-renewing leukemic stem cells (LSCs). Here, we show that the mRNA m6A reader YTHDF2 is overexpressed in a broad spectrum of human AML and is required for disease initiation as well as propagation in mouse and human AML. YTHDF2 decreases the half-life of diverse m6A transcripts that contribute to the overall integrity of LSC function, including the tumor necrosis factor receptor Tnfrsf2, whose upregulation in Ythdf2-deficient LSCs primes cells for apoptosis. Intriguingly, YTHDF2 is not essential for normal HSC function, with YTHDF2 deficiency actually enhancing HSC activity. Thus, we identify YTHDF2 as a unique therapeutic target whose inhibition selectively targets LSCs while promoting HSC expansion.
Keywords: TNFR2; YTHDF2; acute myeloid leukemia; hematopoiesis; hematopoietic stem cell; leukemic stem cells; m(6)A modification; mRNA decay.
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