• Stereotyped subset #8, an aggressive entity associated with Richter transformation, is characterized by a unique chromatin activation profile

  • A set of 209 de novo active regions in subset #8 are associated with 113 overexpressed genes, potentially related to Richter transformation.

The chromatin activation landscape of chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) with stereotyped B-cell receptor immunoglobulin is currently unknown. Here, we report the results of a whole-genome chromatin profiling of histone 3 lysine 27 acetylation of 22 CLLs from major subsets which were compared against non-stereotyped CLLs and normal B cell subpopulations. Although subsets #1, #2, and #4 did not differ much from their non-stereotyped CLL counterparts, subset #8 displayed a remarkably distinct chromatin activation profile. In particular, we identified 209 de novo active regulatory elements in this subset, which showed similar patterns with U-CLLs undergoing Richter transformation. These regions were enriched for binding sites of 9 overexpressed transcription factors. In 78/209 regions, we identified 113 candidate overexpressed target genes, being 11 regions associated with more than two adjacent genes. These included blocks of up to 7 genes, suggesting a local co-upregulation within the same genome compartment. Our findings further underscore the uniqueness of subset #8 CLLs, notable for the highest risk of Richter's transformation amongst all CLL, and provide additional clues to decipher the molecular basis of its clinical behavior.

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