Pluto Bioinformatics

GSE92744: Agonistic targeting of TLR1/TLR2 induces p38 MAPK-dependent apoptosis and NfkB-dependent differentiation of AML cells

Bulk RNA sequencing

Acute myeloid leukemia (AML) is associated with poor survival and there is a strong need to identify disease vulnerabilities that might reveal new treatment opportunities. Here, we found that Toll-like receptor 1 (TLR1) and TLR2 are upregulated on primary AML CD34+CD38- cells relative to corresponding normal bone marrow cells. Activating the TLR1/TLR2 complex by the agonist Pam3CSK4 in MLL-AF9 driven human AML, resulted in induction of apoptosis by p38 MAPK-dependent activation of Caspase 3 and myeloid differentiation in a NFB-dependent manner. By using murine Trp53-/- MLL-AF9 AML cells, we demonstrate that p53 is dispensable for Pam3CSK4-induced apoptosis and differentiation. Moreover, also murine AML1-ETO9a driven AML cells were forced into apoptosis and differentiation upon TLR1/TLR2 activation, demonstrating that the antileukemic effects observed were not confined to MLL-rearranged AML. We further evaluated whether Pam3CSK4 would exhibit selective antileukemic effects. Ex vivo Pam3CSK4 treatment inhibited murine and human leukemia-initiating cells, whereas murine normal hematopoietic stem and progenitor cells (HSPCs) were relatively less affected. Consistent with these findings, primary human AML cells across several genetic subtypes of AML were more vulnerable for TLR1/TLR2 activation relative to normal human HSPCs. In the MLL-AF9 AML mouse model, treatment with Pam3CSK4 provided proof of concept for in vivo therapeutic efficacy. Our results demonstrate that TLR1 and TLR2 are upregulated on primitive AML cells and that agonistic targeting of TLR1/TLR2 forces AML cells into apoptosis by p38 MAPK-dependent activation of Caspase 3, and differentiation by activating NFB, thus revealing a new putative strategy for therapeutically targeting AML cells. SOURCE: Pablo Peña-Martínez ( - Lund University

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