Bachelor of Science, Cornell University (2012)
Doctor of Philosophy, New York University (2019)
Associate of Arts, Pensacola Junior College (2009)
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Myeloproliferative neoplasms (MPNs) are clonal hematopoietic disorders that cause excessive production of myeloid cells. Most MPN patients have a point mutation in JAK2 (JAK2V617F ), which encodes a dominant-active kinase that constitutively triggers JAK/STAT signaling. In Drosophila, this pathway is simplified, with a single JAK, Hopscotch (Hop), and a single STAT transcription factor, Stat92E. The hopTumorous-lethal [hop Tum ] allele encodes a dominant-active kinase that induces sustained Stat92E activation. Like MPN patients, hopTum mutants have significantly more myeloid cells, which form invasive tumors. Through an unbiased genetic screen, we found that heterozygosity for Enhancer of Polycomb [E(Pc)], a component of the Tip60 lysine acetyltransferase complex (also known as KAT5 in humans), significantly increased tumor burden in hopTum animals. Hematopoietic depletion of E(Pc) or other Tip60 components in an otherwise wild-type background also induced blood cell tumors. The E(Pc) tumor phenotype was dependent on JAK/STAT activity, as concomitant depletion of hop or Stat92E inhibited tumor formation. Stat92E target genes were significantly upregulated in E(Pc)-mutant myeloid cells, indicating that loss of E(Pc) activates JAK/STAT signaling. Neither the hop nor Stat92E gene was upregulated upon hematopoietic E(Pc) depletion, suggesting that the regulation of the JAK/STAT pathway by E(Pc) is dependent on substrates other than histones. Indeed, E(Pc) depletion significantly increased expression of Hop protein in myeloid cells. This study indicates that E(Pc) works as a tumor suppressor by attenuating Hop protein expression and ultimately JAK/STAT signaling. Since loss-of-function mutations in the human homologs of E(Pc) and Tip60 are frequently observed in cancer, our work could lead to new treatments for MPN patients.This article has an associated First Person interview with the first author of the paper.
View details for DOI 10.1242/dmm.038679
View details for Web of Science ID 000470069500008
View details for PubMedID 31072879
View details for PubMedCentralID PMC6550037
A gain-of-function mutation in the tyrosine kinase JAK2 (JAK2V617F ) causes human myeloproliferative neoplasms (MPNs). These patients present with high numbers of myeloid lineage cells and have numerous complications. Since current MPN therapies are not curative, there is a need to find new regulators and targets of Janus kinase/Signal transducer and activator of transcription (JAK/STAT) signaling that may represent additional clinical interventions . Drosophila melanogaster offers a low complexity model to study MPNs as JAK/STAT signaling is simplified with only one JAK [Hopscotch (Hop)] and one STAT (Stat92E). hopTumorous-lethal( Tum-l ) is a gain-of-function mutation that causes dramatic expansion of myeloid cells, which then form lethal melanotic tumors. Through an F1 deficiency (Df) screen, we identified 11 suppressors and 35 enhancers of melanotic tumors in hopTum-l animals. Dfs that uncover the Hippo (Hpo) pathway genes expanded (ex) and warts (wts) strongly enhanced the hopTum-l tumor burden, as did mutations in ex, wts, and other Hpo pathway genes. Target genes of the Hpo pathway effector Yorkie (Yki) were significantly upregulated in hopTum-l blood cells, indicating that Yki signaling was increased. Ectopic hematopoietic activation of Yki in otherwise wild-type animals increased hemocyte proliferation but did not induce melanotic tumors. However, hematopoietic depletion of Yki significantly reduced the hopTum-l tumor burden, demonstrating that Yki is required for melanotic tumors in this background. These results support a model in which elevated Yki signaling increases the number of hemocytes, which become melanotic tumors as a result of elevated JAK/STAT signaling.
View details for DOI 10.1534/g3.117.044172
View details for Web of Science ID 000407314000003
View details for PubMedID 28620086
View details for PubMedCentralID PMC5555452