DOI: 10.3390/ijms25010496 ISSN: 1422-0067

An In Vitro Model for Acute Myeloid Leukemia Relapse Using the SORE6 Reporter

Justine Lai, Chuquan Shang, Will Chen, Iyare Izevbaye, Michael P. Chu, Irwindeep Sandhu, Joseph Brandwein, Raymond Lai, Peng Wang
  • Inorganic Chemistry
  • Organic Chemistry
  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Spectroscopy
  • Molecular Biology
  • General Medicine
  • Catalysis

Many patients diagnosed with acute myeloid leukemia (AML) relapse within two years of the initial remission. The biology of AML relapse is incompletely understood, although cancer stem-like (CSL) cells have been hypothesized to be important. To test this hypothesis, we employed SORE6, a reporter designed to detect the transcriptional activity of the embryonic stem cell proteins Oct4 and Sox2, to identify/purify CSL cells in two FLT3-mutated AML cell lines. Both cell lines contained ~10% of SORE6+ cells in the steady state. Compared to SORE6− cells, SORE6+ cells exhibited more characteristics of CSL cells, with significantly higher chemoresistance and rates of spheroid formation. SORE6+ cells had substantially higher expression of Myc and FLT3 proteins, which are drivers of SORE6 activity. Using a mixture of SORE6−/SORE6+ cells that were molecularly barcoded, we generated an in vitro study model for AML relapse. Specifically, after ‘in vitro remission’ induced by Ara-C, both cell lines regenerated after 13 ± 3 days. Barcode analysis revealed that most of the regenerated cells were derived from the original SORE6+ cells. Regenerated cells exhibited more CSL features than did the original SORE6+ cells, even though a proportion of them lost SORE6 activity. In bone marrow samples from a patient cohort, we found that relapsed blasts expressed significantly higher levels of Myc, a surrogate marker of SORE6 activity, compared to pre-treatment blasts. To conclude, using our in vitro model, we have provided evidence that CSL cells contribute to AML relapse.

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