PRMT1-mediated FLT3 arginine methylation promotes maintenance of FLT3-ITD1 acute myeloid leukemia

Academic Article


  • The presence of FMS-like receptor tyrosine kinase-3 internal tandem duplication (FLT3-ITD) mutations in patients with acute myeloid leukemia (AML) is associated with poor clinical outcome. FLT3 tyrosine kinase inhibitors (TKIs), although effective in kinase ablation, do not eliminate primitive FLT3-ITD1 leukemia cells, which are potential sources of relapse. Thus, understanding the mechanisms underlying FLT3-ITD1 AML cell persistence is essential to devise future AML therapies. Here, we show that expression of protein arginine methyltransferase 1 (PRMT1), the primary type I arginine methyltransferase, is increased significantly in AML cells relative to normal hematopoietic cells. Genome-wide analysis, coimmunoprecipitation assay, and PRMT1-knockout mouse studies indicate that PRMT1 preferentially cooperates with FLT3-ITD, contributing to AML maintenance. Genetic or pharmacological inhibition of PRMT1 markedly blocked FLT3-ITD1 AML cell maintenance. Mechanistically, PRMT1 catalyzed FLT3-ITD protein methylation at arginine 972/973, and PRMT1 promoted leukemia cell growth in an FLT3 methylation-dependent manner. Moreover, the effects of FLT3-ITD methylation in AML cells were partially due to cross talk with FLT3-ITD phosphorylation at tyrosine 969. Importantly, FLT3 methylation persisted in FLT3-ITD1 AML cells following kinase inhibition, indicating that methylation occurs independently of kinase activity. Finally, in patient-derived xenograft and murine AML models, combined administration of AC220 with a type I PRMT inhibitor (MS023) enhanced elimination of FLT3-ITD1 AML cells relative to AC220 treatment alone. Our study demonstrates that PRMT1-mediated FLT3 methylation promotes AML maintenance and suggests that combining PRMT1 inhibition with FLT3 TKI treatment could be a promising approach to eliminate FLT3-ITD1 AML cells.
  • Published In

  • Blood  Journal
  • Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • He X; Zhu Y; Lin YC; Li M; Du J; Dong H; Sun J; Zhu L; Wang H; Ding Z
  • Start Page

  • 548
  • End Page

  • 560
  • Volume

  • 134
  • Issue

  • 6