Hyperglycemia cooperates with Tet2 heterozygosity to induce leukemia driven by proinflammatory cytokine-induced lncRNA Morrbid

Zhigang Cai, Xiaoyu Lu, Chi Zhang*, Sai Nelanuthala, Fabiola Aguilera, Abigail Hadley, Baskar Ramdas, Fang Fang, Kenneth Nephew, Jonathan J. Kotzin, Adam Williams, Jorge Henao-Mejia, Laura Haneline*, Reuben Kapur*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Scopus citations


Diabetes mellitus (DM) is a risk factor for cancer. The role of DM-induced hyperglycemic (HG) stress in blood cancer is poorly understood. Epidemiologic studies show that individuals with DM are more likely to have a higher rate of mutations in genes found in pre-leukemic hematopoietic stem and progenitor cells (pre-LHSPCs) including TET2. TET2-mutant pre-LHSPCs require additional hits to evolve into full-blown leukemia and/or an aggressive myeloproliferative neoplasm (MPN). Intrinsic mutations have been shown to cooperate with Tet2 to promote leukemic transformation. However, the extrinsic factors are poorly understood. Using a mouse model carrying Tet2 haploinsufficiency to mimic the human pre-LHSPC condition and HG stress, in the form of an Ins2Akita/+ mutation, which induces hyperglycemia and type 1 DM, we show that the compound mutant mice developed a lethal form of MPN and/or acute myeloid leukemia (AML). RNA-Seq revealed that this was due in part to upregulation of proinflammatory pathways, thereby generating a feed-forward loop, including expression of the antiapoptotic, long noncoding RNA (lncRNA) Morrbid. Loss of Morrbid in the compound mutants rescued the lethality and mitigated MPN/AML. We describe a mouse model for age-dependent MPN/AML and suggest that hyperglycemia acts as an environmental driver for myeloid neoplasms, which could be prevented by reducing expression levels of the inflammationrelated lncRNA Morrbid.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere140707
JournalJournal of Clinical Investigation
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 4 2021

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Medicine


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