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Blood. 2015 Jun 11;125(24):3731-46. doi: 10.1182/blood-2014-11-610907. Epub 2015 Apr 22.

Overexpression of the shortest isoform of histone demethylase LSD1 primes hematopoietic stem cells for malignant transformation.

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Division of Stem Cell Regulation, Center for Molecular Medicine, Jichi Medical University, Tochigi, Japan; and.
Department of Disease Model, Research Institute for Radiation Biology and Medicine, Hiroshima University, Hiroshima, Japan.


Recent investigations indicate that epigenetic regulators act at the initial step of myeloid leukemogenesis by forming preleukemic hematopoietic stem cells (HSCs), which possess the increased self-renewal potential but retain multidifferentiation ability, and synergize with genetic abnormalities in later stages to develop full-blown acute myeloid leukemias. However, it is still unknown whether this theory is applicable to other malignancies. In this study, we demonstrate that lysine-specific demethylase 1 (LSD1) overexpression is a founder abnormality for the development of T-cell lymphoblastic leukemia/lymphoma (T-LBL) using LSD1 transgenic mice. LSD1 expression is tightly regulated via alternative splicing and transcriptional repression in HSCs and is altered in most leukemias, especially T-LBL. Overexpression of the shortest isoform of LSD1, which is specifically repressed in quiescent HSCs and demethylates histone H3K9 more efficiently than other isoforms, increases self-renewal potential via upregulation of the HoxA family but retains multidifferentiation ability with a skewed differentiation to T-cell lineages at transcriptome levels in HSCs. Transgenic mice overexpressing LSD1 in HSCs did not show obvious abnormalities but developed T-LBL at very high frequency after γ-irradiation. LSD1 overexpression appears to be the first hit in T-cell leukemogenesis and provides an insight into novel strategies for early diagnosis and effective treatment of the disease.

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