Role of epigenetics in hematopoietic stem cell development
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In 2106, there were 171,550 new cases of blood cancers and over one million people in the United States living with one of these disorders. Bone marrow transplants have good outcomes, but these procedures require a donor who is a perfect match, and thus many patients are unable to receive treatment. It is important to find patient-derived treatments, such as molecules which stimulate hematopoietic stem cell (HSC) formation without the need for a donor. Therefore, a study was initiated to use human-induced pluripotent stem cell (hiPSC) technology to make a patient-derived, personalized HSC. Epigenetic regulators are divided into readers, writers, and erasers, and each of these classes has shown some effect on HSC formation. Writers add functional groups to deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) and histone proteins, whereas erasers remove them. Readers are groups on transcription factors which interpret these changes and increase or decrease the recruitment of transcriptional machinery accordingly. In this study, a screen of 12 different candidate molecules with distinct epigenetic targets in casper zebrafish was conducted at 36 hours postfertilization (hpf) to reveal increases or decreases in definitive HSC development. The two writer molecules, C646 (histone acetyltransferase, or HAT, inhibitor) and OICR9249 (WDR5 inhibitor), and the two eraser molecules, Ex-527 (Sirt1 inhibitor) and JIB-04 (bromodomain inhibitor), showed varying degrees of increasing HSC formation. Of these molecules, C646 created the most significant increase and was further tested in the zebrafish at 48 and 72 hpf and in a murine model using ex vivo technique and a colony-forming unit (CFU) assay. In contrast to these results, the two eraser molecules, entinostat (class I histone deacetylase, or HDAC, inhibitor) and vorinostat (general HDAC inhibitor), were found to decrease HSC formation in zebrafish. The overall findings of this study provide insight into specific epigenetic regulators in HSC development and identify particular epigenetic markers that could regulate HSC formation from endothelial cells. This discovery will be a stepping stone in utilizing patient-derived hemogenic endothelial cells as a novel source of bone marrow-independent HSCs to treat patients with leukemia, lymphoma, and bone marrow cancers.