Supplementary Data from DNMT3A Harboring Leukemia-Associated Mutations Directs Sensitivity to DNA Damage at Replication Forks
ARTICLE ABSTRACTIn acute myeloid leukemia (AML), recurrent DNA methyltransferase 3A (DNMT3A) mutations are associated with chemoresistance and poor prognosis, especially in advanced-age patients. Gene-expression studies in DNMT3A-mutated cells identified signatures implicated in deregulated DNA damage response and replication fork integrity, suggesting sensitivity to replication stress. Here, we tested whether pharmacologically induced replication fork stalling, such as with cytarabine, creates a therapeutic vulnerability in cells with DNMT3A(R882) mutations.
Leukemia cell lines, genetic mouse models, and isogenic cells with and without DNMT3A(mut) were used to evaluate sensitivity to nucleoside analogues such as cytarabine in vitro and in vivo, followed by analysis of DNA damage and signaling, replication restart, and cell-cycle progression on treatment and after drug removal. Transcriptome profiling identified pathways deregulated by DNMT3A(mut) expression.
We found increased sensitivity to pharmacologically induced replication stress in cells expressing DNMT3A(R882)-mutant, with persistent intra–S-phase checkpoint activation, impaired PARP1 recruitment, and elevated DNA damage, which was incompletely resolved after drug removal and carried through mitosis. Pulse-chase double-labeling experiments with EdU and BrdU after cytarabine washout demonstrated a higher rate of fork collapse in DNMT3A(mut)-expressing cells. RNA-seq studies supported deregulated cell-cycle progression and p53 activation, along with splicing, ribosome biogenesis, and metabolism.
Together, our studies show that DNMT3A mutations underlie a defect in recovery from replication fork arrest with subsequent accumulation of unresolved DNA damage, which may have therapeutic tractability. These results demonstrate that, in addition to its role in epigenetic control, DNMT3A contributes to preserving genome integrity during replication stress.See related commentary by Viny, p. 573