Chromosomal rearrangements between 3q21 and 3q26 elicit high-risk acute myeloid leukemia (AML), which is often associated with elevated platelet and megakaryocyte (Mk) numbers. The 3q rearrangements reposition a GATA2 enhancer near the EVI1 (or MECOM) locus, which results in both EVI1 overexpression and GATA2 haploinsufficiency. However, the mechanisms explaining how the misexpression of these 2 genes individually contribute to leukemogenesis are unknown. To clarify the characteristics of differentiation defects caused by EVI1 and GATA2 misexpression and to identify the cellular origin of leukemic cells, we generated a system to monitor both inv(3) allele-driven EVI1 and Gata2 expression in 3q-rearranged AML model mice. A cell population in which both EVI1 and Gata2 were highly induced appeared in the bone marrows before the onset of frank leukemia. This population had acquired serial colony-forming potential. Because hematopoietic stem/progenitor cells (HSPCs) and Mks were enriched in this peculiar population, we analyzed the independent EVI1 and GATA2 contributions to HSPC and Mk. We found that inv(3)-driven EVI1 promotes accumulation of Mk-biased and myeloid-biased progenitors, Mks, and platelets, and that Gata2 heterozygous deletion enhanced Mk-lineage skewing of EVI1- expressing progenitors. Notably, inv(3)-directed EVI1 expression and Gata2 haploinsufficient expression cooperatively provoke a leukemia characterized by abundant Mks and platelets. These hematological features of the mouse model phenocopy those observed in human 3q AML. On the basis of these results, we conclude that inv(3)-driven EVI1 expression in HSPCs and Mks collaborates with Gata2 haploinsufficiency to provoke Mk-lineage skewing and leukemogenesis with excessive platelets, thus mimicking an important feature of human AML.
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