Loss of Function of DOCK4 in Myelodysplastic Syndromes Stem Cells is Restored by Inhibitors of DOCK4 Signaling Networks

Clin Cancer Res. 2019 Sep 15;25(18):5638-5649. doi: 10.1158/1078-0432.CCR-19-0924. Epub 2019 Jul 15.


Purpose: Myelodysplastic syndromes (MDS) with deletion of chromosome 7q/7 [-7/(del)7q MDS] is associated with worse outcomes and needs novel insights into pathogenesis. Reduced expression of signaling protein dedicator of cytokinesis 4 (DOCK4) in patients with -7/(del)7q MDS leads to a block in hematopoietic stem cell (HSC) differentiation. Identification of targetable signaling networks downstream of DOCK4 will provide means to restore hematopoietic differentiation in MDS.Experimental Design: We utilized phosphoproteomics approaches to identify signaling proteins perturbed as a result of reduced expression of DOCK4 in human HSCs and tested their functional significance in primary model systems.

Results: We demonstrate that reduced levels of DOCK4 lead to increased global tyrosine phosphorylation of proteins in primary human HSCs. LYN kinase and phosphatases INPP5D (SHIP1) and PTPN6 (SHP1) displayed greatest levels of tyrosine phosphorylation when DOCK4 expression levels were reduced using DOCK4-specific siRNA. Our data also found that increased phosphorylation of SHIP1 and SHP1 phosphatases were due to LYN kinase targeting these phosphatases as substrates. Increased migration and impediment of HSC differentiation were consequences of these signaling alterations. Pharmacologic inhibition of SHP1 reversed these functional aberrations in HSCs expressing low DOCK4 levels. In addition, differentiation block seen in DOCK4 haplo-insufficient [-7/(del)7q] MDS was rescued by inhibition of SHP1 phosphatase.

Conclusions: LYN kinase and phosphatases SHP1 and SHIP1 are perturbed when DOCK4 expression levels are low. Inhibition of SHP1 promotes erythroid differentiation in healthy HSCs and in -7/(del)7q MDS samples with low DOCK4 expression. Inhibitors of LYN, SHP1 and SHIP1 also abrogated increased migratory properties in HSCs expressing reduced levels of DOCK4.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Antineoplastic Agents / pharmacology*
  • Cell Movement
  • GTPase-Activating Proteins / genetics*
  • GTPase-Activating Proteins / metabolism*
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Neoplastic
  • Hematopoietic Stem Cells / metabolism*
  • Humans
  • Loss of Function Mutation*
  • Models, Biological
  • Myelodysplastic Syndromes / genetics*
  • Myelodysplastic Syndromes / metabolism*
  • Myelodysplastic Syndromes / pathology
  • Phosphatidylinositol-3,4,5-Trisphosphate 5-Phosphatases / metabolism
  • Phosphorylation
  • Protein Binding
  • Protein Tyrosine Phosphatase, Non-Receptor Type 6 / metabolism
  • Signal Transduction / drug effects*


  • Antineoplastic Agents
  • DOCK4 protein, human
  • GTPase-Activating Proteins
  • Protein Tyrosine Phosphatase, Non-Receptor Type 6
  • INPP5D protein, human
  • Phosphatidylinositol-3,4,5-Trisphosphate 5-Phosphatases