Human gene-engineered calreticulin mutant stem cells recapitulate MPN hallmarks and identify targetable vulnerabilities

Johannes Foßelteder, Gabriel Pabst, Tommaso Sconocchia, Angelika Schlacher, Lisa Auinger, Karl Kashofer, Christine Beham-Schmid, Slave Trajanoski, Claudia Waskow, Wolfgang Schöll, Heinz Sill, Armin Zebisch, Albert Wölfler, Daniel Thomas, Andreas Reinisch

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Calreticulin (CALR) mutations present the main oncogenic drivers in JAK2 wildtype (WT) myeloproliferative neoplasms (MPN), including essential thrombocythemia and myelofibrosis, where mutant (MUT) CALR is increasingly recognized as a suitable mutation-specific drug target. However, our current understanding of its mechanism-of-action is derived from mouse models or immortalized cell lines, where cross-species differences, ectopic over-expression and lack of disease penetrance are hampering translational research. Here, we describe the first human gene-engineered model of CALR MUT MPN using a CRISPR/Cas9 and adeno-associated viral vector-mediated knock-in strategy in primary human hematopoietic stem and progenitor cells (HSPCs) to establish a reproducible and trackable phenotype in vitro and in xenografted mice. Our humanized model recapitulates many disease hallmarks: thrombopoietin-independent megakaryopoiesis, myeloid-lineage skewing, splenomegaly, bone marrow fibrosis, and expansion of megakaryocyte-primed CD41+ progenitors. Strikingly, introduction of CALR mutations enforced early reprogramming of human HSPCs and the induction of an endoplasmic reticulum stress response. The observed compensatory upregulation of chaperones revealed novel mutation-specific vulnerabilities with preferential sensitivity of CALR mutant cells to inhibition of the BiP chaperone and the proteasome. Overall, our humanized model improves purely murine models and provides a readily usable basis for testing of novel therapeutic strategies in a human setting.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)843-853
Number of pages11
JournalLeukemia
Volume37
Issue number4
DOIs
Publication statusPublished or Issued - Apr 2023

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Hematology
  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research

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