Acute myeloid leukemia (AML) is a hematopoietic malignancy caused by recurrent mutations in genes encoding transcriptional, chromatin, and/or signaling regulators. The t(8;21) translocation generates the aberrant transcription factor RUNX1-ETO (RUNX1-RUNX1T1), which by itself is insufficient to cause disease. t(8;21) AML patients show extensive chromatin reprogramming and have acquired additional mutations. Therefore, the genomic and developmental effects directly and solely attributable to RUNX1-ETO expression are unclear. To address this, we employ a human embryonic stem cell differentiation system capable of forming definitive myeloid progenitor cells to express RUNX1-ETO in an inducible fashion. Induction of RUNX1-ETO causes extensive chromatin reprogramming by interfering with RUNX1 binding, blocks differentiation, and arrests cellular growth, whereby growth arrest is reversible following RUNX1-ETO removal. Single-cell gene expression analyses show that RUNX1-ETO induction alters the differentiation of early myeloid progenitors, but not of other progenitor types, indicating that oncoprotein-mediated transcriptional reprogramming is highly target cell specific.
Keywords: Acute Myeloid Leukemia (AML); RUNX1-ETO; chromatin; human ES cell differentiation; myelopoiesis; single cell RNA-Seq.
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