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).
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.
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.
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.
No relevant conflicts of interest to declare.
Asterisk with author names denotes non-ASH members.