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1.  Clonal Architecture of Secondary Acute Myeloid Leukemia Defined by Single-Cell Sequencing 
PLoS Genetics  2014;10(7):e1004462.
Next-generation sequencing has been used to infer the clonality of heterogeneous tumor samples. These analyses yield specific predictions—the population frequency of individual clones, their genetic composition, and their evolutionary relationships—which we set out to test by sequencing individual cells from three subjects diagnosed with secondary acute myeloid leukemia, each of whom had been previously characterized by whole genome sequencing of unfractionated tumor samples. Single-cell mutation profiling strongly supported the clonal architecture implied by the analysis of bulk material. In addition, it resolved the clonal assignment of single nucleotide variants that had been initially ambiguous and identified areas of previously unappreciated complexity. Accordingly, we find that many of the key assumptions underlying the analysis of tumor clonality by deep sequencing of unfractionated material are valid. Furthermore, we illustrate a single-cell sequencing strategy for interrogating the clonal relationships among known variants that is cost-effective, scalable, and adaptable to the analysis of both hematopoietic and solid tumors, or any heterogeneous population of cells.
Author Summary
Human cancers are genetically diverse populations of cells that evolve over the course of their natural history or in response to the selective pressure of therapy. In theory, it is possible to infer how this variation is structured into related populations of cells based on the frequency of individual mutations in bulk samples, but the accuracy of these models has not been evaluated across a large number of variants in individual cells. Here, we report a strategy for analyzing hundreds of variants within a single cell, and we apply this method to assess models of tumor clonality derived from bulk samples in three cases of leukemia. The data largely support the predicted population structure, though they suggest specific refinements. This type of approach not only illustrates the biological complexity of human cancer, but it also has the potential to inform patient management. That is, precise knowledge of which variants are present in which populations of cells may allow physicians to more effectively target combinations of mutations and predict how patients will respond to therapy.
PMCID: PMC4091781  PMID: 25010716
2.  Clonal Architecture of Secondary Acute Myeloid Leukemia 
The New England Journal of Medicine  2012;366(12):1090-1098.
The myelodysplastic syndromes are a group of hematologic disorders that often evolve into secondary acute myeloid leukemia (AML). The genetic changes that underlie progression from the myelodysplastic syndromes to secondary AML are not well understood.
We performed whole-genome sequencing of seven paired samples of skin and bone marrow in seven subjects with secondary AML to identify somatic mutations specific to secondary AML. We then genotyped a bone marrow sample obtained during the antecedent myelodysplastic-syndrome stage from each subject to determine the presence or absence of the specific somatic mutations. We identified recurrent mutations in coding genes and defined the clonal architecture of each pair of samples from the myelodysplastic-syndrome stage and the secondary-AML stage, using the allele burden of hundreds of mutations.
Approximately 85% of bone marrow cells were clonal in the myelodysplastic-syndrome and secondary-AML samples, regardless of the myeloblast count. The secondary-AML samples contained mutations in 11 recurrently mutated genes, including 4 genes that have not been previously implicated in the myelodysplastic syndromes or AML. In every case, progression to acute leukemia was defined by the persistence of an antecedent founding clone containing 182 to 660 somatic mutations and the outgrowth or emergence of at least one subclone, harboring dozens to hundreds of new mutations. All founding clones and subclones contained at least one mutation in a coding gene.
Nearly all the bone marrow cells in patients with myelodysplastic syndromes and secondary AML are clonally derived. Genetic evolution of secondary AML is a dynamic process shaped by multiple cycles of mutation acquisition and clonal selection. Recurrent gene mutations are found in both founding clones and daughter subclones. (Funded by the National Institutes of Health and others.)
PMCID: PMC3320218  PMID: 22417201
3.  Widespread Non-Hematopoietic Tissue Distribution by Transplanted Human Progenitor Cells with High Aldehyde Dehydrogenase Activity 
Stem cells (Dayton, Ohio)  2007;26(3):611-620.
Transplanted adult progenitor cells distribute to peripheral organs and can promote endogenous cellular repair in damaged tissues. However, development of cell-based regenerative therapies has been hindered by the lack of pre-clinical models to efficiently assess multiple organ distribution and difficulty defining human cells with regenerative function. After transplantation into beta-glucuronidase (GUSB)-deficient NOD/SCID/MPSVII mice, we characterized the distribution of lineage depleted human umbilical cord blood-derived cells purified by selection using high aldehyde dehydrogenase activity (ALDH) with CD133 co-expression. ALDHhi or ALDHhiCD133+ cells produced robust hematopoietic reconstitution, and variable levels of tissue distribution in multiple organs. GUSB+ donor cells that co-expressed human (HLA-A,B,C) and hematopoietic (CD45+) cell surface markers were the primary cell phenotype found adjacent to the vascular beds of several tissues, including islet and ductal regions of mouse pancreata. In contrast, variable phenotypes were detected in the chimeric liver, with HLA+/CD45+ cells demonstrating robust GUSB expression adjacent to blood vessels, and CD45−/HLA− cells with diluted GUSB expression predominant in the liver parenchyma. However, true non-hematopoietic human (HLA+/CD45−) cells were rarely detected in other peripheral tissues, suggesting that these GUSB+/HLA−/CD45− cells in the liver were a result of downregulated human surface marker expression in vivo, not widespread seeding of non-hematopoietic cells. However, relying solely on continued expression of cell surface markers, as employed in traditional xenotransplantation models, may underestimate true tissue distribution. ALDH-expressing progenitor cells demonstrated widespread and tissue-specific distribution of variable cellular phenotypes, indicating that these adult progenitor cells should be explored in transplantation models of tissue damage.
PMCID: PMC3045698  PMID: 18055447
Transplantation; NOD/SCID model; umbilical cord blood; aldehyde dehydrogenase; CD133
4.  Systematic Analysis of the Transcriptional Switch Inducing Migration of Border Cells 
Developmental cell  2006;10(4):497-508.
Cell migration within a natural context is tightly controlled, often by specific transcription factors. However, the switch from stationary to migratory behavior is poorly understood. Border cells perform a spatially and temporally controlled invasive migration during Drosophila oogenesis. Slbo, a C/EBP family transcriptional activator, is required for them to become migratory. We purified wild-type and slbo mutant border cells as well as nonmigratory follicle cells and performed comparative whole-genome expression profiling, followed by functional tests of the contributions of identified targets to migration. About 300 genes were significantly upregulated in border cells, many dependent on Slbo. Among these, the microtubule regulator Stathmin was strongly upregulated and was required for normal migration. Actin cytoskeleton regulators were also induced, including, surprisingly, a large cluster of “muscle-specific” genes. We conclude that Slbo induces multiple cytoskeletal effectors, and that each contributes to the behavioral changes in border cells.
PMCID: PMC2955450  PMID: 16580994
5.  Csf3r mutations in mice confer a strong clonal HSC advantage via activation of Stat5  
A fundamental property of leukemic stem cells is clonal dominance of the bone marrow microenvironment. Truncation mutations of CSF3R, which encodes the G-CSF receptor (G-CSFR), are implicated in leukemic progression in patients with severe congenital neutropenia. Here we show that expression of a truncated mutant Csf3r in mice confers a strong clonal advantage at the HSC level that is dependent upon exogenous G-CSF. G-CSF–induced proliferation, phosphorylation of Stat5, and transcription of Stat5 target genes were increased in HSCs isolated from mice expressing the mutant Csf3r. Conversely, the proliferative advantage conferred by the mutant Csf3r was abrogated in myeloid progenitors lacking both Stat5A and Stat5B, and HSC function was reduced in mice expressing a truncated mutant Csf3r engineered to have impaired Stat5 activation. These data indicate that in mice, inappropriate Stat5 activation plays a key role in establishing clonal dominance by stem cells expressing mutant Csf3r.
PMCID: PMC2248325  PMID: 18292815

Results 1-5 (5)