Background:

Leukemia is the most common type of childhood cancer. Although the prognosis for many pediatric leukemias has improved, leukemias associated with the t(10;11) CALM-AF10 translocation remain difficult to treat. CALM-AF10 leukemias account for ~5-10% of childhood T-cell acute lymphoid leukemia (T-ALL) as well as a subset of acute myeloid leukemia (AML). CALM-AF10 leukemias exhibit increased expression of proleukemic HOXA genes, but relatively little is known about the cellular mechanisms that drive CALM-AF10 leukemogenesis. Our laboratory has demonstrated that the CALM protein contains a nuclear export signal (NES) that is critical for CALM-AF10-dependent leukemogenesis. The NES interacts with the CRM1/XPO1 nuclear export receptor, which shuttles proteins from the nucleus to the cytoplasm through the nuclear pore complex. We have shown that transcriptional activation of HOXA genes by CALM-AF10 is critically dependent on its interaction with CRM1. Importantly, CRM1 does not contain a recognized DNA binding domain, and it is not currently understood how the CALM-AF10/CRM1 complex interacts with regulatory regions of HOXAgenes. In order to identify proteins that mediate the interaction between the CALM-AF10/CRM1 complex and DNA, we took advantage of a proximity-based labeling approach using BioID2, a second-generation biotin ligase. When fused to a protein of interest and in the presence of biotin, BioID2 biotinylates proteins in close proximity to the ligase. These biotinylated proteins can then be identified by mass spectrometry (MS).

Methods:

We prepared an expression plasmid in which BioID2 was cloned in-frame with CALM-AF10. We then transiently transfected Human Embryonic Kidney 293 (HEK293) cells with the BioID2-CALM-AF10 plasmid, grew them in the presence or absence of biotin, and performed streptavidin-pulldown followed by liquid chromatography coupled with tandem mass spectrometry (LC-MS/MS) to identify candidate interacting proteins. Proteins were considered candidates if they had a peptide spectrum match (PSM) score > 10 and at least a two-fold greater PSM score versus negative control. We validated direct interactions of candidate proteins with CALM-AF10 by performing co-immunoprecipitation experiments.

Results:

We first confirmed that the addition of BioID2 to CALM-AF10 does not affect the transcriptional activation of HOXA genes or CALM-AF10 mediated immortalization of hematopoietic stem cells. We carried out three independent transfections/LC-MS/MS experiments, which identified 71, 95 and 61 proteins, respectively. Of the proteins identified, 11 candidates were common to all three experiments.Of particular interest, we identified Disruptor Of Telomeric silencing 1-Like (DOT1L), a protein known to interact with AF10, and Nuclear pore complex protein 214 (NUP214), a protein that has been identified in leukemogenic translocations. The nine additional candidate proteins included: EPS15, DVL2, DVL3, and DDX3X -all known to play a role in leukemogenesis. We performed initial validation of direct interactions via co-immunoprecipitation and found that Epidermal Growth Factor Receptor Substrate 15(EPS15) co-precipitates with CALM-AF10.

Conclusion:

We used biotin ligase-dependent proximity-based labeling to identify candidate proteins that potentially interact with the CALM-AF10 fusion protein. Our identification of DOT1L validates the approach, since DOT1L is known to interact with CALM-AF10. We have started to investigate other candidate proteins, focusing on known translocation partners in various leukemias. Our screen identified EPS15, a protein involved in receptor-mediated endocytosis of epidermal growth factor and a known translocation partner for MLL/KMT2A. KMT2A-EPS15 translocations (t(1;11)(p32;q23)) have been identified in both AML and ALL, and KMT2A-EPS15 is among the eight most common KMT2A rearrangements. We have shown that EPS15 co-immunoprecipitates with CALM-AF10, suggesting that EPS15 may also play a role in CALM-AF10 leukemogenesis. Further evaluation of this interaction is underway, and may lead to identification of novel pathways involved in CALM-AF10 leukemogenesis.

Disclosures

No relevant conflicts of interest to declare.

Author notes

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Asterisk with author names denotes non-ASH members.