Key Points

  • YTHDC1 is critical for normal and malignant hematopoiesis.

  • The YTHDC1/m6A/MCM4/DNA replication axis plays a pivotal role in leukemogenesis.

YTHDC1 has distinct functions as a nuclear N6-methyladenosine (m6A) reader in regulating RNA metabolism. Here we show that YTHDC1 is overexpressed in Acute Myeloid Leukemia (AML) and that it is required for proliferation and survival of human AML cells. Genetic deletion of Ythdc1 markedly blocks AML development and maintenance as well as self-renewal of leukemia stem cells (LSCs) in vivo in mice. We find that Ythdc1 is also required for normal hematopoiesis and hematopoietic stem/progenitor cell (HSPC) maintenance in vivo. Notably, Ythdc1 haploinsufficiency reduces self-renewal of LSCs, but not HSPCs in vivo. YTHDC1 knockdown has a strong inhibitory effect on proliferation of primary AML cells. Mechanistically, YTHDC1 regulates leukemogenesis through MCM4, which is a critical regulator of DNA replication. Our study provides the compelling evidence to show an oncogenic role and a distinct mechanism of YTHDC1 in AML.

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