Cytogenetically normal acute myeloid leukemia (CN-AML) represents nearly 50% of human AML. Co-occurring mutations in the de novo DNA methyltransferase DNMT3A and the FMS related tyrosine kinase 3 FLT3 are common in CN-AML and confer a poorer prognosis. We demonstrate that mice with Flt3-internal-tandem duplication (Flt3ITD) and inducible deletion of Dnmt3a spontaneously develop a rapidly-lethal, completely-penetrant, and transplantable AML of normal karyotype. AML cells retain a single Dnmt3a floxed allele, revealing the oncogenic potential of Dnmt3a haploinsufficiency. FLT3-ITD/DNMT3A-mutant primary human and murine AML exhibit a similar pattern of global DNA methylation associated with changes in the expression of nearby genes. In the murine model, rescuing DNMT3A expression was accompanied by DNA re-methylation and loss of clonogenic potential, suggesting that Dnmt3a-mutant oncogenic effects are reversible. Dissection of the cellular architecture of the AML model using single-cell assays identified clonogenic subpopulations that express genes sensitive to the methylation of nearby genomic loci, and responsive to Dnmt3a levels. Thus, Dnmt3a haploinsufficiency transforms Flt3ITD myeloproliferative disease by modulating methylation-sensitive gene expression within a clonogenic AML subpopulation.
- Received January 4, 2016.
- Revision received March 24, 2016.
- Accepted March 24, 2016.
- Copyright ©2016, American Association for Cancer Research.