Acute myeloid leukemia (AML) is associated with deregulation of DNA methylation; however, many cases do not bear mutations in known regulators of cytosine guanine dinucleotide (CpG) methylation. We found that mutations in WT1 , IDH2 , and CEBPA were strongly linked to DNA hypermethylation in AML using a novel integrative analysis of The Cancer Genome Atlas data based on Boolean implications, if-then rules that identify all individual CpG sites that are hypermethylated in the presence of a mutation. Introduction of mutant WT1 (WT1mut) into wild-type AML cells induced DNA hypermethylation, confirming mutant WT1 to be causally associated with DNA hypermethylation. Methylated genes in WT1mut primary patient samples were highly enriched for polycomb repressor complex 2 (PRC2) targets, implicating PRC2 dysregulation in WT1mut leukemogenesis. We found that PRC2 target genes were aberrantly repressed in WT1mut AML, and that expression of mutant WT1 in CD34+ cord blood cells induced myeloid differentiation block. Treatment of WT1mut AML cells with short hairpin RNA or pharmacologic PRC2/ enhancer of zeste homolog 2 (EZH2) inhibitors promoted myeloid differentiation, suggesting EZH2 inhibitors may be active in this AML subtype. Our results highlight a strong association between mutant WT1 and DNA hypermethylation in AML and demonstrate that Boolean implications can be used to decipher mutation-specific methylation patterns that may lead to therapeutic insights.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cell Biology