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STEM CELL BIOLOGY

Insufficiency of FZR1 disturbs HSC quiescence by inhibiting ubiquitin-dependent degradation of RUNX1 in aplastic anemia

Abstract

FZR1 has been implicated as a master regulator of the cell cycle and quiescence, but its roles and molecular mechanisms in the pathogenesis of severe aplastic anemia (SAA) are unclear. Here, we report that FZR1 is downregulated in SAA HSCs compared with healthy control and is associated with decreased quiescence of HSC. Haploinsufficiency of Fzr1 shows impaired quiescence and self-renewal ability of HSC in two Fzr1 heterozygous knockout mouse models. Mechanistically, FZR1 insufficiency inhibits the ubiquitination of RUNX1 protein at lysine 125, leading to the accumulation of RUNX1 protein, which disturbs the quiescence of HSCs in SAA patients. Moreover, downregulation of Runx1 reversed the loss of quiescence and impaired long-term self-renew ability in Fzr1+/− HSCs in vivo and impaired repopulation capacity in BM from SAA patients in vitro. Our findings, therefore, raise the possibility of a decisive role of the FZR1-RUNX1 pathway in the pathogenesis of SAA via deregulation of HSC quiescence.

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Fig. 1: A markedly decreased HSCs quiescence with apparent FZR1 downregulation in severe AA (SAA).
Fig. 2: Fzr1 haploinsufficiency leads to perturbed hematopoiesis and accelerating the cell cycle in hematopoietic stem/progenitor cells of mice.
Fig. 3: Fzr1 haploinsufficiency HSCs have a marked decrease in repopulation capacity and self-renewal capacity.
Fig. 4: Quantitative proteomic and ubiquitinomics profiling for protein targets of Fzr1.
Fig. 5: The substitution of lysine with arginine increases RUNX1 stability at 125-site.
Fig. 6: Down-regulated expression of Runx1 rescues Fzr1 haploinsufficiency phenotype.

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Acknowledgements

This work was supported by grants from the National Key R&D Program of China (2017YFC1001903, 2017YFA0106700), National Science Foundation of China (81970100), China Postdoctoral Science Foundation (2019M663977), Chongqing Postdoctoral Science Foundation (4142Z2373), and Army Major Scientific Research Projects (AWS17J007).

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CFZ designed and performed the experiments, analyzed data, and wrote the manuscript; MK supervised the experiments conducted in the laboratories; ZLL analyzed data; XQJ, ZC, YYL, WRW, LM, contributed to the relevant discussions; JPC conceived the project; and YH conceived, designed, and supervised the experiments, analyzed results, and edited the manuscript.

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Correspondence to Jieping Chen or Yu Hou.

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Zhou, C., Kuang, M., Liu, Z. et al. Insufficiency of FZR1 disturbs HSC quiescence by inhibiting ubiquitin-dependent degradation of RUNX1 in aplastic anemia. Leukemia (2021). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41375-021-01445-5

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