AML is the most common acute leukemia in adults, and it appears increasingly with age. Despite overall improvement in the treatment of leukemia, AML still carries a devastating prognosis for elderly patients (less than 10% of patients survive for 5 years). Thus, new therapies for AML are necessary. AMPK is a metabolic regulator that promotes catabolism and inhibits anabolism, thereby maintaining metabolic homeostasis upon metabolic stress. Using mouse models and AMPK inhibitors, we demonstrated that AMPK inhibition renders AML sensitive to metabolic stress induced by dietary restriction (Saito et al. Cell Stem Cell. 2015). During this study, we noticed that AMPK deletion reduces acetyl-coA and histone acetylation in AML (Fig. 2), concomitant with decreased expression of critical leukemia-promoting genes such as Myc. Importantly, chromatin immunoprecipitation and sequencing (ChIP-seq) revealed that AMPK deletion reduces the occupancy of acetylated histones, all of which marks active genes and recruits transcriptional regulators. We thus hypothesized that AMPK links metabolism to epigenetics in AML by maintaining histone acetylation.
In aim 1 we will determine whether the occupancy of transcriptional regulators in AML is regulated by AMPK.
In aim 2, we will determine how metabolites and the metabolic enzymes that produces acetyl-coA regulate histone acetylation.
In aim 3, we will determine how AMPK-mediated histone acetylation regulates human AML, by generating patient-derived xenograft models of AML. Taken together, this proposal will establish the link between metabolism and epigenetics, more specifically the links between acetyl-CoA metabolism, AMPK, and histone acetylation. We hypothesize that these interactions are essential to recruit transcriptional regulators to key leukemogenic genes. In the next funding cycle, we anticipate to unveil new insights that will inform us on how metabolic regulators could be targeted to sensitize AML to epigenetic drugs, paving the way to novel combinatorial therapies.

Public Health Relevance

Acute myeloid leukemia (AML) is the most common acute leukemia in adults with a devastating prognosis for elderly patients. We discovered an unexpected link between metabolism and gene expression in AML, and we will interrogate this mechanism in animal models and patient samples to examine whether we could therapeutically target this mechanism to treat AML. Our study may lead to a novel combinatorial therapy that could deeply suppress AML.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Cancer Institute (NCI)
Research Project (R01)
Project #
Application #
Study Section
Molecular Oncogenesis Study Section (MONC)
Program Officer
Willis, Kristine Amalee
Project Start
Project End
Budget Start
Budget End
Support Year
Fiscal Year
Total Cost
Indirect Cost
Baylor College of Medicine
Schools of Medicine
United States
Zip Code
Shi, Xiangguo; Kitano, Ayumi; Jiang, Yajian et al. (2018) Clonal expansion and myeloid leukemia progression modeled by multiplex gene editing of murine hematopoietic progenitor cells. Exp Hematol 64:33-44.e5
Nakada, Daisuke (2018) ENLightening YEATS in antagonizing polycomb repression. Blood 131:591
Chapple, Richard H; Tseng, Yu-Jung; Hu, Tianyuan et al. (2018) Lineage tracing of murine adult hematopoietic stem cells reveals active contribution to steady-state hematopoiesis. Blood Adv 2:1220-1228
Chapple, Richard H; Hu, Tianyuan; Tseng, Yu-Jung et al. (2018) ER? promotes murine hematopoietic regeneration through the Ire1?-mediated unfolded protein response. Elife 7:
Huang, Yung-Hsin; Su, Jianzhong; Lei, Yong et al. (2017) DNA epigenome editing using CRISPR-Cas SunTag-directed DNMT3A. Genome Biol 18:176
Hu, Tianyuan; Murdaugh, Rebecca; Nakada, Daisuke (2017) Transcriptional and Microenvironmental Regulation of Lineage Ambiguity in Leukemia. Front Oncol 7:268
Jiang, Yajian; Nakada, Daisuke (2016) Cell intrinsic and extrinsic regulation of leukemia cell metabolism. Int J Hematol 103:607-16
Gundry, Michael C; Brunetti, Lorenzo; Lin, Angelique et al. (2016) Highly Efficient Genome Editing of Murine and Human Hematopoietic Progenitor Cells by CRISPR/Cas9. Cell Rep 17:1453-1461
Saito, Yusuke; Chapple, Richard H; Lin, Angelique et al. (2015) AMPK Protects Leukemia-Initiating Cells in Myeloid Leukemias from Metabolic Stress in the Bone Marrow. Cell Stem Cell 17:585-96