Publications by authors named "Chad E Harris"

17 Publications

  • Page 1 of 1

Distinct genetic pathways define pre-malignant versus compensatory clonal hematopoiesis in Shwachman-Diamond syndrome.

Nat Commun 2021 02 26;12(1):1334. Epub 2021 Feb 26.

Department of Medical Oncology, Division of Hematological Malignancies Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Boston, MA, USA.

To understand the mechanisms that mediate germline genetic leukemia predisposition, we studied the inherited ribosomopathy Shwachman-Diamond syndrome (SDS), a bone marrow failure disorder with high risk of myeloid malignancies at an early age. To define the mechanistic basis of clonal hematopoiesis in SDS, we investigate somatic mutations acquired by patients with SDS followed longitudinally. Here we report that multiple independent somatic hematopoietic clones arise early in life, most commonly harboring heterozygous mutations in EIF6 or TP53. We show that germline SBDS deficiency establishes a fitness constraint that drives selection of somatic clones via two distinct mechanisms with different clinical consequences. EIF6 inactivation mediates a compensatory pathway with limited leukemic potential by ameliorating the underlying SDS ribosome defect and enhancing clone fitness. TP53 mutations define a maladaptive pathway with enhanced leukemic potential by inactivating tumor suppressor checkpoints without correcting the ribosome defect. Subsequent development of leukemia was associated with acquisition of biallelic TP53 alterations. These results mechanistically link leukemia predisposition to germline genetic constraints on cellular fitness, and provide a rational framework for clinical surveillance strategies.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41467-021-21588-4DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7910481PMC
February 2021

Dissecting ELANE neutropenia pathogenicity by human HSC gene editing.

Cell Stem Cell 2021 Jan 25. Epub 2021 Jan 25.

Division of Hematology/Oncology, Boston Children's Hospital, Department of Pediatric Oncology, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Harvard Stem Cell Institute, Broad Institute, Department of Pediatrics, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA 02115, USA. Electronic address:

Severe congenital neutropenia (SCN) is a life-threatening disorder most often caused by dominant mutations of ELANE that interfere with neutrophil maturation. We conducted a pooled CRISPR screen in human hematopoietic stem and progenitor cells (HSPCs) that correlated ELANE mutations with neutrophil maturation potential. Highly efficient gene editing of early exons elicited nonsense-mediated decay (NMD), overcame neutrophil maturation arrest in HSPCs from ELANE-mutant SCN patients, and produced normal hematopoietic engraftment function. Conversely, terminal exon frameshift alleles that mimic SCN-associated mutations escaped NMD, recapitulated neutrophil maturation arrest, and established an animal model of ELANE-mutant SCN. Surprisingly, only -1 frame insertions or deletions (indels) impeded neutrophil maturation, whereas -2 frame late exon indels repressed translation and supported neutrophil maturation. Gene editing of primary HSPCs allowed faithful identification of variant pathogenicity to clarify molecular mechanisms of disease and encourage a universal therapeutic approach to ELANE-mutant neutropenia, returning normal neutrophil production and preserving HSPC function.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.stem.2020.12.015DOI Listing
January 2021

The gp130 Cytokine Interleukin-11 Regulates Engraftment of Vav1 Hematopoietic Stem and Progenitor Cells in Lethally Irradiated Recipients.

Stem Cells 2018 03 10;36(3):446-457. Epub 2018 Jan 10.

Division of Hematology/Oncology, Boston Children's Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts, USA.

During bone marrow transplantation, hematopoietic stem and progenitor cells (HSPCs) respond to signals from the hematopoietic microenvironment by coordinately activating molecular pathways through Rho GTPases, including Rac. We have previously shown that deletion of Vav1, a hematopoietic-specific activator of Rac, compromises engraftment of transplanted adult HSPCs without affecting steady-state hematopoiesis in adult animals. Here, we show that Vav1 fetal HSPCs can appropriately seed hematopoietic tissues during ontogeny but cannot engraft into lethally irradiated recipients. We demonstrate that the engraftment defect of Vav1 HSPCs is abrogated in the absence of irradiation and demonstrate that Vav1 is critical for the response of HSPCs to the proinflammatory cytokine interleukin-11 (IL-11) that is upregulated in the marrow of irradiated recipients. Vav1 HSPCs display abnormal proliferative responses to IL-11 in vitro and dysregulated activation of pathways critical to engraftment of HSPCs. The engraftment of Vav1 HSPCs can be partially rescued in irradiated recipients treated with an anti-IL-11 antibody. These data suggest that HSPCs may respond to different functional demands by selective usage of the IL-11-Vav-Rac pathway, contextualizing further the recent view that HSPCs capable of reconstituting the blood system following transplantation might be distinct from those supporting hematopoiesis during homeostatic conditions. Stem Cells 2018; 36:446-457.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/stem.2760DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5823755PMC
March 2018

p21-activated kinase 2 regulates HSPC cytoskeleton, migration, and homing via CDC42 activation and interaction with β-Pix.

Blood 2016 Apr 1;127(16):1967-75. Epub 2016 Mar 1.

Division of Hematology/Oncology, Boston Children's Hospital and Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA; Harvard Stem Cell Institute, Harvard University, Boston, MA.

Cytoskeletal remodeling of hematopoietic stem and progenitor cells (HSPCs) is essential for homing to the bone marrow (BM). The Ras-related C3 botulinum toxin substrate (Rac)/cell division control protein 42 homolog (CDC42) effector p21-activated kinase (Pak2) has been implicated in HSPC homing and engraftment. However, the molecular pathways mediating Pak2 functions in HSPCs are unknown. Here, we demonstrate that both Pak2 kinase activity and its interaction with the PAK-interacting exchange factor-β (β-Pix) are required to reconstitute defective ITALIC! Pak2 (ITALIC! Δ/Δ)HSPC homing to the BM. Pak2 serine/threonine kinase activity is required for stromal-derived factor-1 (SDF1α) chemokine-induced HSPC directional migration, whereas Pak2 interaction with β-Pix is required to regulate the velocity of HSPC migration and precise F-actin assembly. Lack of SDF1α-induced filopodia and associated abnormal cell protrusions seen in ITALIC! Pak2 (ITALIC! Δ/Δ)HSPCs were rescued by wild-type (WT) Pak2 but not by a Pak2-kinase dead mutant (KD). Expression of a β-Pix interaction-defective mutant of Pak2 rescued filopodia formation but led to abnormal F-actin bundles. Although CDC42 has previously been considered an upstream regulator of Pak2, we found a paradoxical decrease in baseline activation of CDC42 in ITALIC! Pak2 (ITALIC! Δ/Δ)HSPCs, which was rescued by expression of Pak2-WT but not by Pak2-KD; defective homing of ITALIC! Pak2-deleted HSPCs was rescued by constitutive active CDC42. These data demonstrate that both Pak2 kinase activity and its interaction with β-Pix are essential for HSPC filopodia formation, cytoskeletal integrity, and homing via activation of CDC42. Taken together, we provide mechanistic insights into the role of Pak2 in HSPC migration and homing.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1182/blood-2016-01-693572DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4841040PMC
April 2016

Addition of autologous mesenchymal stem cells to whole blood for bioenhanced ACL repair has no benefit in the porcine model.

Am J Sports Med 2015 Feb 30;43(2):320-30. Epub 2014 Dec 30.

Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, Boston Children's Hospital, Boston, Massachusetts, USA.

Background: Coculture of mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) from the retropatellar fat pad and peripheral blood has been shown to stimulate anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) fibroblast proliferation and collagen production in vitro. Current techniques of bioenhanced ACL repair in animal studies involve adding a biologic scaffold, in this case an extracellular matrix-based scaffold saturated with autologous whole blood, to a simple suture repair of the ligament. Whether the enrichment of whole blood with MSCs would further improve the in vivo results of bioenhanced ACL repair was investigated.

Hypothesis: The addition of MSCs derived from adipose tissue or peripheral blood to the blood-extracellular matrix composite, which is used in bioenhanced ACL repair to stimulate healing, would improve the biomechanical properties of a bioenhanced ACL repair after 15 weeks of healing.

Study Design: Controlled laboratory study.

Methods: Twenty-four adolescent Yucatan mini-pigs underwent ACL transection followed by (1) bioenhanced ACL repair, (2) bioenhanced ACL repair with the addition of autologous adipose-derived MSCs, and (3) bioenhanced ACL repair with the addition of autologous peripheral blood derived MSCs. After 15 weeks of healing, the structural properties of the ACL (yield load, failure load, and linear stiffness) were measured. Cell and vascular density were measured in the repaired ACL via histology, and its tissue structure was qualitatively evaluated using the advanced Ligament Maturity Index.

Results: After 15 weeks of healing, there were no significant improvements in the biomechanical or histological properties with the addition of adipose-derived MSCs. The only significant change with the addition of peripheral blood MSCs was an increase in knee anteroposterior laxity when measured at 30° of flexion.

Conclusion: These findings suggest that the addition of adipose or peripheral blood MSCs to whole blood before saturation of an extracellular matrix carrier with the blood did not improve the functional results of bioenhanced ACL repair after 15 weeks of healing in the pig model.

Clinical Relevance: Whole blood represents a practical biologic additive to ligament repair, and any other additive (including stem cells) should be demonstrated to be superior to this baseline before clinical use is considered.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/0363546514559826DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4511104PMC
February 2015

A modified γ-retrovirus vector for X-linked severe combined immunodeficiency.

N Engl J Med 2014 Oct;371(15):1407-17

From the Departments of Biotherapy (S.H.-B.-A., J. Blondeau, L.C., F.T., M.C.) and Immunology and Pediatric Hematology (S.B., G.C., D.M., B.N., C.P., F.T., A.F.) and the Centre d'Étude des Déficits Immunitaires (C.P.), Hôpital Necker-Enfants Malades, Assistance Publique-Hôpitaux de Paris (AP-HP), the Biotherapy Clinical Investigation Center, Groupe Hospitalier Universitaire Ouest, AP-HP, INSERM (S.H.-B.-A., J. Blondeau, L.C., F.T., M.C.), Unité de Technologies Chimiques et Biologiques pour la Santé, Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique, 8258-INSERM Unité 1022, Faculté des Sciences Pharmaceutiques et Biologiques, Université Paris Descartes (S.H.-B.-A.), Immunology Laboratory, Groupe Hospitalier Universitaire Paris-Sud, AP-HP, Le Kremlin-Bicêtre (S.H.-B.-A.), Imagine Institute, Paris Descartes-Sorbonne Paris Cité University (S.B., J. Blondeau, L.C., D.M., B.N., C.P., E.S., A.F., M.C.), INSERM Unités Mixtes de Recherche 1163, Laboratory of Human Lymphohematopoiesis (J. Blondeau, L.C., E.S., F.T., A.F., M.C.), Groupe Immunoscope, Immunology Department, Institut Pasteur (A.L.), and Collège de France (A.F.) - all in Paris; Division of Hematology-Oncology (S.-Y.P., H.B., D.G., C.E.H., G.H., L.E.L., W.B.L., D.A.W.) and Division of Immunology (L.D.N.), Boston Children's Hospital, Department of Pediatric Oncology, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute (S.-Y.P., D.G., L.E.L., W.B.L., D.A.W.), Harvard Medical School (S.-Y.P., M.A., L.E.L., W.B.L., J.R., L.E.S., A.T., L.D.N., D.A.W.), Center for Human Cell Therapy, Program in Cellular and Molecular Medicine, Boston Children's Hospital (M.A., J.R., L.E.S., A.T.), Division of Hematologic Malignancies, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute (J.R.), and the Manton Center for Orphan Disease Research (L.D.N.) - all in Boston; Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children NHS Foundation Trust (H.B.G., J.X.-B., A.J.T.) and Section of Molecular and Cellular Immunology, University College London Institute of Child Health (H.B.G., K.F.B., A.

Background: In previous clinical trials involving children with X-linked severe combined immunodeficiency (SCID-X1), a Moloney murine leukemia virus-based γ-retrovirus vector expressing interleukin-2 receptor γ-chain (γc) complementary DNA successfully restored immunity in most patients but resulted in vector-induced leukemia through enhancer-mediated mutagenesis in 25% of patients. We assessed the efficacy and safety of a self-inactivating retrovirus for the treatment of SCID-X1.

Methods: We enrolled nine boys with SCID-X1 in parallel trials in Europe and the United States to evaluate treatment with a self-inactivating (SIN) γ-retrovirus vector containing deletions in viral enhancer sequences expressing γc (SIN-γc).

Results: All patients received bone marrow-derived CD34+ cells transduced with the SIN-γc vector, without preparative conditioning. After 12.1 to 38.7 months of follow-up, eight of the nine children were still alive. One patient died from an overwhelming adenoviral infection before reconstitution with genetically modified T cells. Of the remaining eight patients, seven had recovery of peripheral-blood T cells that were functional and led to resolution of infections. The patients remained healthy thereafter. The kinetics of CD3+ T-cell recovery was not significantly different from that observed in previous trials. Assessment of insertion sites in peripheral blood from patients in the current trial as compared with those in previous trials revealed significantly less clustering of insertion sites within LMO2, MECOM, and other lymphoid proto-oncogenes in our patients.

Conclusions: This modified γ-retrovirus vector was found to retain efficacy in the treatment of SCID-X1. The long-term effect of this therapy on leukemogenesis remains unknown. (Funded by the National Institutes of Health and others; ClinicalTrials.gov numbers, NCT01410019, NCT01175239, and NCT01129544.).
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1056/NEJMoa1404588DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4274995PMC
October 2014

Retroviral transduction of murine and human hematopoietic progenitors and stem cells.

Methods Mol Biol 2014 ;1185:287-309

Boston Children's Hospital, Dana Farber Cancer Institute, Harvard Stem Cell Institute, Harvard Medical School, 300 Longwood Ave., Karp 08125.3, 02115, Boston, MA, USA.

Genetic modification of cells using retroviral vectors is the method of choice when the cell population is difficult to transfect and/or requires persistent transgene expression in progeny cells. There are innumerable potential applications for these procedures in laboratory research and clinical therapeutic interventions. One paradigmatic example is the genetic modification of hematopoietic stem and progenitor cells (HSPCs). These are rare nucleated cells which reside in a specialized microenvironment within the bone marrow, and have the potential to self-renew and/or differentiate into all hematopoietic lineages. Due to their enormous regenerative capacity in steady state or under stress conditions these cells are routinely used in allogeneic bone marrow transplantation to reconstitute the hematopoietic system in patients with metabolic, inflammatory, malignant, and other hematologic disorders. For patients lacking a matched bone marrow donor, gene therapy of autologous hematopoietic stem cells has proven to be an alternative as highlighted recently by several successful gene therapy trials. Genetic modification of HSPCs using retrovirus vectors requires ex vivo manipulation to efficiently introduce the new genetic material into cells (transduction). Optimal culture conditions are essential to facilitate this process while preserving the stemness of the cells. The most frequently used retroviral vector systems for the genetic modifications of HSPCs are derived either from Moloney murine leukemia-virus (Mo-MLV) or the human immunodeficiency virus-1 (HIV-1) and are generally termed according to their genus gamma-retroviral (γ-RV) or lentiviral vectors (LV), respectively. This chapter describes in a step-by-step fashion some techniques used to produce research grade vector supernatants and to obtain purified murine or human hematopoietic stem cells for transduction, as well as follow-up methods for analysis of transduced cell populations.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4939-1133-2_20DOI Listing
March 2015

Aberrant overexpression of CD14 on granulocytes sensitizes the innate immune response in mDia1 heterozygous del(5q) MDS.

Blood 2014 Jul 2;124(5):780-90. Epub 2014 Jun 2.

Department of Pathology, Feinberg School of Medicine, Northwestern University, Chicago, IL;

The myelodysplastic syndromes (MDSs) include a spectrum of stem cell malignancies characterized by an increased risk of developing acute myeloid leukemia. Heterozygous loss of chromosome 5q (del[5q]) is the most common cytogenetic abnormality in MDS. DIAPH1 is localized to 5q31 and encodes one of the formin proteins, mDia1, which is involved in linear actin polymerization. Mice with mDia1 deficiency develop hematologic features with age mimicking human myeloid neoplasm, but its role in the pathogenesis of MDS is unclear. Here we report that mDia1 heterozygous and knockout mice develop MDS phenotypes with age. In these mice, CD14 was aberrantly overexpressed on granulocytes in a cell-autonomous manner, leading to a hypersensitive innate immune response to lipopolysaccharide (LPS) stimuli through CD14/Toll-like receptor 4 signaling. Chronic stimulation with LPS accelerated the development of MDS in mDia1 heterozygous and knockout mice that can be rescued by lenalidomide. Similar findings of CD14 overexpression were observed on the bone marrow granulocytes of del(5q) MDS patients. Mechanistically, mDia1 deficiency led to a downregulation of membrane-associated genes and a specific upregulation of CD14 messenger RNA in granulocytes, but not in other lineages. These results underscore the significance of mDia1 heterozygosity in deregulated innate immune responses in del(5q) MDS.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1182/blood-2014-01-552463DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4118486PMC
July 2014

The Rac GTPase effector p21-activated kinase is essential for hematopoietic stem/progenitor cell migration and engraftment.

Blood 2013 Mar 18;121(13):2474-82. Epub 2013 Jan 18.

Division of Hematology/Oncology, Children's Hospital Boston, Boston, MA 02115, USA.

The p21-activated kinases (Paks) are serine/threonine kinases that are major effectors of the Rho guanosine 5'\x{2011}triphosphatase, Rac, and Cdc42. Rac and Cdc42 are known regulators of hematopoietic stem and progenitor cell (HSPC) function, however, a direct role for Paks in HSPCs has yet to be elucidated. Lin(-)Sca1(+)c-kit(+) (LSK) cells from wild-type mice were transduced with retrovirus expressing Pak inhibitory domain (PID), a well-characterized inhibitor of Pak activation. Defects in marrow homing and in vitro cell migration, assembly of the actin cytoskeleton, proliferation, and survival were associated with engraftment failure of PID-LSK. The PID-LSK demonstrated decreased phosphorylation of extracellular signal-regulated kinase (ERK), whereas constitutive activation of ERK in these cells led to rescue of hematopoietic progenitor cell proliferation in vitro and partial rescue of Pak-deficient HSPC homing and engraftment in vivo. Using conditional knock-out mice, we demonstrate that among group A Paks, Pak2(-/-) HSPC show reduced homing to the bone marrow and altered cell shape similar to PID-LSK cells in vitro and are completely defective in HSPC engraftment. These data demonstrate that Pak proteins are key components of multiple engraftment-associated HSPC functions and play a direct role in activation of ERK in HSPCs, and that Pak2 is specifically essential for HSPC engraftment.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1182/blood-2012-10-460709DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3612857PMC
March 2013

Signaling and cytoskeletal requirements in erythroblast enucleation.

Blood 2012 Jun 28;119(25):6118-27. Epub 2012 Mar 28.

Cancer and Blood Diseases Institute, Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center, University of Cincinnati College of Medicine, Cincinnati, OH 45229, USA.

To understand the role of cytoskeleton and membrane signaling molecules in erythroblast enucleation, we developed a novel analysis protocol of multiparameter high-speed cell imaging in flow. This protocol enabled us to observe F-actin and phosphorylated myosin regulatory light chain (pMRLC) assembled into a contractile actomyosin ring (CAR) between nascent reticulocyte and nucleus, in a population of enucleating erythroblasts. CAR formation and subsequent enucleation were not affected in murine erythroblasts with genetic deletion of Rac1 and Rac2 GTPases because of compensation by Rac3. Pharmacologic inhibition or genetic deletion of all Rac GTPases altered the distribution of F-actin and pMRLC and inhibited enucleation. Erythroblasts treated with NSC23766, cytochalasin-D, colchicine, ML7, or filipin that inhibited Rac activity, actin or tubulin polymerization, MRLC phosphorylation, or lipid raft assembly, respectively, exhibited decreased enucleation efficiency, as quantified by flow cytometry. As assessed by high-speed flow-imaging analysis, colchicine inhibited erythroblast polarization, implicating microtubules during the preparatory stage of enucleation, whereas NSC23766 led to absence of lipid raft assembly in the reticulocyte-pyrenocyte border. In conclusion, enucleation is a multistep process that resembles cytokinesis, requiring establishment of cell polarity through microtubule function, followed by formation of a contractile actomyosin ring, and coalescence of lipid rafts between reticulocyte and pyrenocyte.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1182/blood-2011-09-379263DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3383020PMC
June 2012

Overcoming reprogramming resistance of Fanconi anemia cells.

Blood 2012 Jun 27;119(23):5449-57. Epub 2012 Feb 27.

Division of Pediatric Hematology/Oncology, Children's Hospital Boston, and Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Harvard Stem Cell Institute, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA 02115, USA.

Fanconi anemia (FA) is a recessive syndrome characterized by progressive fatal BM failure and chromosomal instability. FA cells have inactivating mutations in a signaling pathway that is critical for maintaining genomic integrity and protecting cells from the DNA damage caused by cross-linking agents. Transgenic expression of the implicated genes corrects the phenotype of hematopoietic cells, but previous attempts at gene therapy have failed largely because of inadequate numbers of hematopoietic stem cells available for gene correction. Induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) constitute an alternate source of autologous cells that are amenable to ex vivo expansion, genetic correction, and molecular characterization. In the present study, we demonstrate that reprogramming leads to activation of the FA pathway, increased DNA double-strand breaks, and senescence. We also demonstrate that defects in the FA DNA-repair pathway decrease the reprogramming efficiency of murine and human primary cells. FA pathway complementation reduces senescence and restores the reprogramming efficiency of somatic FA cells to normal levels. Disease-specific iPSCs derived in this fashion maintain a normal karyotype and are capable of hematopoietic differentiation. These data define the role of the FA pathway in reprogramming and provide a strategy for future translational applications of patient-specific FA iPSCs.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1182/blood-2012-02-408674DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3369681PMC
June 2012

Inhibition of Rac GTPase signaling and downstream prosurvival Bcl-2 proteins as combination targeted therapy in MLL-AF9 leukemia.

Blood 2011 Nov 22;118(19):5235-45. Epub 2011 Sep 22.

Division of Oncology, Cancer and Blood Diseases Institute, Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center, OH 45229, USA.

The Rac family of small Rho GTPases coordinates diverse cellular functions in hematopoietic cells including adhesion, migration, cytoskeleton rearrangements, gene transcription, proliferation, and survival. The integrity of Rac signaling has also been found to critically regulate cellular functions in the initiation and maintenance of hematopoietic malignancies. Using an in vivo gene targeting approach, we demonstrate that Rac2, but not Rac1, is critical to the initiation of acute myeloid leukemia in a retroviral expression model of MLL-AF9 leukemogenesis. However, loss of either Rac1 or Rac2 is sufficient to impair survival and growth of the transformed MLL-AF9 leukemia. Rac2 is known to positively regulate expression of Bcl-2 family proteins toward a prosurvival balance. We demonstrate that disruption of downstream survival signaling through antiapoptotic Bcl-2 proteins is implicated in mediating the effects of Rac2 deficiency in MLL-AF9 leukemia. Indeed, overexpression of Bcl-xL is able to rescue the effects of Rac2 deficiency and MLL-AF9 cells are exquisitely sensitive to direct inhibition of Bcl-2 family proteins by the BH3-mimetic, ABT-737. Furthermore, concurrent exposure to NSC23766, a small-molecule inhibitor of Rac activation, increases the apoptotic effect of ABT-737, indicating the Rac/Bcl-2 survival pathway may be targeted synergistically.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1182/blood-2011-04-351817DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3217406PMC
November 2011

Reciprocal relationship between O6-methylguanine-DNA methyltransferase P140K expression level and chemoprotection of hematopoietic stem cells.

Cancer Res 2008 Aug;68(15):6171-80

Division of Experimental Hematology, Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center, Cincinnati, Ohio, USA.

Retroviral-mediated delivery of the P140K mutant O(6)-methylguanine-DNA methyltransferase (MGMT(P140K)) into hematopoietic stem cells (HSC) has been proposed as a means to protect against dose-limiting myelosuppressive toxicity ensuing from chemotherapy combining O(6)-alkylating agents (e.g., temozolomide) with pseudosubstrate inhibitors (such as O(6)-benzylguanine) of endogenous MGMT. Because detoxification of O(6)-alkylguanine adducts by MGMT is stoichiometric, it has been suggested that higher levels of MGMT will afford better protection to gene-modified HSC. However, accomplishing this goal would potentially be in conflict with current efforts in the gene therapy field, which aim to incorporate weaker enhancer elements to avoid insertional mutagenesis. Using a panel of self-inactivating gamma-retroviral vectors that express a range of MGMT(P140K) activity, we show that MGMT(P140K) expression by weaker cellular promoter/enhancers is sufficient for in vivo protection/selection following treatment with O(6)-benzylguanine/temozolomide. Conversely, the highest level of MGMT(P140K) activity did not promote efficient in vivo protection despite mediating detoxification of O(6)-alkylguanine adducts. Moreover, very high expression of MGMT(P140K) was associated with a competitive repopulation defect in HSC. Mechanistically, we show a defect in cellular proliferation associated with elevated expression of MGMT(P140K), but not wild-type MGMT. This proliferation defect correlated with increased localization of MGMT(P140K) to the nucleus/chromatin. These data show that very high expression of MGMT(P140K) has a deleterious effect on cellular proliferation, engraftment, and chemoprotection. These studies have direct translational relevance to ongoing clinical gene therapy studies using MGMT(P140K), whereas the novel mechanistic findings are relevant to the basic understanding of DNA repair by MGMT.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1158/0008-5472.CAN-08-0320DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4337843PMC
August 2008

Rac guanosine triphosphatases represent integrating molecular therapeutic targets for BCR-ABL-induced myeloproliferative disease.

Cancer Cell 2007 Nov;12(5):467-78

Division of Experimental Hematology, Cincinnati Children's Research Foundation, Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center, 3333 Burnet Avenue, Cincinnati, OH 45229, USA.

Chronic myelogenous leukemia (CML) is a clonal myeloproliferative disease (MPD) initiated by expression of the p210-BCR-ABL fusion protein. We demonstrate in a murine model of p210-BCR-ABL-induced MPD that gene targeting of Rac1 and Rac2 significantly delays or abrogates disease development. Attenuation of the disease phenotype is associated with severely diminished p210-BCR-ABL-induced downstream signaling in primary hematopoietic cells. We utilize NSC23766, a small molecule antagonist of Rac activation, to validate biochemically and functionally Rac as a molecular target in both a relevant animal model and in primary human CML cells in vitro and in a xenograft model in vivo, including in Imatinib-resistant p210-BCR-ABL disease. These data demonstrate that Rac is an additional therapeutic target in p210-BCR-ABL-mediated MPD.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ccr.2007.10.015DOI Listing
November 2007

Rho GTPase Rac1 is critical for neutrophil migration into the lung.

Blood 2007 Feb 21;109(3):1257-64. Epub 2006 Sep 21.

Division Experimental Hematology, Cincinnati Children's Research Foundation, Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center, University of Cincinnati College of Medicine, OH 45229, USA.

Neutrophils are critical in the inflammatory process by moving rapidly to tissue sites of inflammation. Members of the small Rho GTPase family, Rac1, Rac2, CDC42, and RhoA, are central regulators of cell migration by cytoskeleton rearrangement. The role of Rac1 in neutrophil migration related to inflammatory processes has remained elusive and has yet to be determined in physiologic in vivo models. We previously demonstrated a role for Rac1 in tail retraction. Here, we present evidence that Rac1-mediated uropod formation may be due to crosstalk with a related Rho GTPase RhoA. To assess the physiologic relevance of these findings, we used adoptive transfer of Rac1flox/flox bone marrow cells which allows postengraftment in vivo deletion of Rac1 only in blood cells. We examined the specific role of Rac1 in neutrophil migration into the lung during the inflammatory process induced by formyl-methionyl-leucyl-phenylalanine exposure. The loss of Rac1 activity in neutrophils is associated with a significant decreased neutrophil recruitment into lung alveolar and attenuation of emphysematous lesions. Overall, this study suggests that Rac1 is a physiologic integrator of signals for neutrophil recruitment into lung tissue during an inflammatory response.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1182/blood-2006-04-017731DOI Listing
February 2007

Localization of Rac2 via the C terminus and aspartic acid 150 specifies superoxide generation, actin polarity and chemotaxis in neutrophils.

Nat Immunol 2004 Jul 30;5(7):744-51. Epub 2004 May 30.

Division of Experimental Hematology, Cincinnati Children's Hospital Research Foundation, University of Cincinnati College of Medicine, Cincinnati, Ohio 45229, USA.

Despite having a high degree of sequence similarity, the Rho guanosine triphosphatases Rac1 and Rac2 regulate distinct functions in neutrophils. Here we demonstrate that the unique Rac2 localization and functions in neutrophils are regulated by two separate C-terminal motifs, the hypervariable domain and aspartic acid 150, one of which has not previously been linked to the function of Rho GTPases. In addition, we show an unexpected dependence of Rac1 localization on Rac2 activity in these same cells, demonstrating a degree of crosstalk between two closely related Rho GTPases. Thus, we have defined specific sequences in Rac that specify subcellular localization and determine the specificity of Rac2 in neutrophil chemotaxis and superoxide generation.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/ni1081DOI Listing
July 2004

Hematopoietic cell regulation by Rac1 and Rac2 guanosine triphosphatases.

Science 2003 Oct;302(5644):445-9

Division of Experimental Hematology, Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center, Cincinnati, OH 45229, USA.

The Rho guanosine triphosphatases (GTPases) Rac1 and Rac2 are critical signaling regulators in mammalian cells. The deletion of both Rac1 and Rac2 murine alleles leads to a massive egress of hematopoietic stem/progenitor cells (HSC/Ps) into the blood from the marrow, whereas Rac1-/- but not Rac2-/- HSC/Ps fail to engraft in the bone marrow of irradiated recipient mice. In contrast, Rac2, but not Rac1, regulates superoxide production and directed migration in neutrophils, and in each cell type, the two GTPases play distinct roles in actin organization, cell survival, and proliferation. Thus, Rac1 and Rac2 regulate unique aspects of hematopoietic development and function.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1126/science.1088485DOI Listing
October 2003