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A complex interplay of intra- and extracellular factors regulates the outcome of fetal- and adult-derived MLL-rearranged leukemia.

Leukemia 2024 March 31
Infant and adult MLL1/KMT2A-rearranged (MLLr) leukemia represents a disease with a dismal prognosis. Here, we present a functional and proteomic characterization of in utero-initiated and adult-onset MLLr leukemia. We reveal that fetal MLL::ENL-expressing lymphomyeloid multipotent progenitors (LMPPs) are intrinsically programmed towards a lymphoid fate but give rise to myeloid leukemia in vivo, highlighting a complex interplay of intra- and extracellular factors in determining disease subtype. We characterize early proteomic events of MLL::ENL-mediated transformation in fetal and adult blood progenitors and reveal that whereas adult pre-leukemic cells are mainly characterized by retained myeloid features and downregulation of ribosomal and metabolic proteins, expression of MLL::ENL in fetal LMPPs leads to enrichment of translation-associated and histone deacetylases signaling proteins, and decreased expression of inflammation and myeloid differentiation proteins. Integrating the proteome of pre-leukemic cells with their secretome and the proteomic composition of the extracellular environment of normal progenitors highlights differential regulation of Igf2 bioavailability, as well as of VLA-4 dimer and its ligandome, upon initiation of fetal- and adult-origin leukemia, with implications for human MLLr leukemia cells' ability to communicate with their environment through granule proteins. Our study has uncovered opportunities for targeting ontogeny-specific proteomic vulnerabilities in in utero-initiated and adult-onset MLLr leukemia.

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