Table_1_Transcriptomic Analysis Identifies RNA Binding Proteins as Putative Regulators of Myelopoiesis and Leukemia.xlsx
Acute myeloid leukemia (AML) is a common and aggressive hematological malignancy. Acquisition of heterogeneous genetic aberrations and epigenetic dysregulation lead to the transformation of hematopoietic stem cells (HSC) into leukemic stem cells (LSC), which subsequently gives rise to immature blast cells and a leukemic phenotype. LSCs are responsible for disease relapse as current chemotherapeutic regimens are not able to completely eradicate these cellular sub-populations. Therefore, it is critical to improve upon the existing knowledge of LSC specific markers, which would allow for specific targeting of these cells more effectively allowing for their sustained eradication from the cellular milieu. Although significant milestones in decoding the aberrant transcriptional network of various cancers, including leukemia, have been achieved, studies on the involvement of post-transcriptional gene regulation (PTGR) in disease progression are beginning to unfold. RNA binding proteins (RBPs) are key players in mediating PTGR and they regulate the intracellular fate of individual transcripts, from their biogenesis to RNA metabolism, via interactions with RNA binding domains (RBDs). In this study, we have used an integrative approach to systematically profile RBP expression and identify key regulatory RBPs involved in normal myeloid development and AML. We have analyzed RNA-seq datasets (GSE74246) of HSCs, common myeloid progenitors (CMPs), granulocyte-macrophage progenitors (GMPs), monocytes, LSCs, and blasts. We observed that normal and leukemic cells can be distinguished on the basis of RBP expression, which is indicative of their ability to define cellular identity, similar to transcription factors. We identified that distinctly co-expressing modules of RBPs and their subclasses were enriched in hematopoietic stem/progenitor (HSPCs) and differentiated monocytes. We detected expression of DZIP3, an E3 ubiquitin ligase, in HSPCs, knockdown of which promotes monocytic differentiation in cell line model. We identified co-expression modules of RBP genes in LSCs and among these, distinct modules of RBP genes with high and low expression. The expression of several AML-specific RBPs were also validated by quantitative polymerase chain reaction. Network analysis identified densely connected hubs of ribosomal RBP genes (rRBPs) with low expression in LSCs, suggesting the dependency of LSCs on altered ribosome dynamics. In conclusion, our systematic analysis elucidates the RBP transcriptomic landscape in normal and malignant myelopoiesis, and highlights the functional consequences that may result from perturbation of RBP gene expression in these cellular landscapes.