Roles of MARCH5 and SASH3 in oncogenic signalling in B-cell Non-Hodgkin lymphoma

  • Despite major improvements of the therapy, many B-cell Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma (B-NHL) entities still have a poor prognosis. New therapeutic options are urgently needed. Therefore this study sets out to investigate oncogenic signalling pathways in the two B-NHL entities mantle cell lymphoma (MCL) and diffuse large B-cell lymphoma (DLBCL) in order to define new potential therapeutic targets. MCL cells overexpress the anti-apoptotic protein BCL-2, thereby they evade apoptosis. With venetoclax, the first-in-class BCL-2 specific inhibitor was approved and achieved good response rates in MCL. However, some cases display intrinsic or acquired resistance to venetoclax. In order to improve the therapy, this study aimed to identify genes which confer sensitivity or resistance towards venetoclax upon their respective knockout. To this end, a genome-wide CRISPR/Cas9-based loss-of-function screen was conducted in the MCL cell line Maver-1. The E3 ubiquitin ligase MARCH5 was identified as one of the top hits conferring sensitivity towards venetoclax upon its knockout. This finding was validated in a competitive growth assay including two more MCL cell lines, Jeko-1 and Mino. MARCH5 knockout also sensitised Jeko-1 cells towards venetoclax even though this cell line was insensitive towards venetoclax in its wild-type form. Using BH3 profiling, an increased dependency on BCL-2 of MARCH5-depleted cells confirmed this finding. The sensitisation was found to be based on induction of apoptosis upon MARCH5 knockout and to an even higher extent upon additional treatment of MARCH5-depleted cells with venetoclax. As already described for epithelial cancer entities, the BCL-2 family members MCL-1 and NOXA were upregulated in MCL cell lines upon MARCH5 knockout. This led to the hypothesis that MARCH5 is a potential regulator of intrinsic apoptosis with NOXA as a key component. A competitive growth assay with MARCH5 and NOXA co-depleted cells revealed a partial reversion of the BCL-2 sensitisation compared to MARCH5 knockout alone. Furthermore, mass spectrometry-based methods were used to gain more insight into other cellular pathways and networks which might be regulated in a MARCH5-dependent manner. In an interactome analysis, proteins which regulate mitochondrial morphology, such as Drp-1 were identified as MARCH5 interactors. Besides this expected finding, interaction between MARCH5 and several members of the BCL-2 family as well as a potential connection between MARCH5 and vesicular trafficking was discovered. As expected, an ubiquitinome analysis of MARCH5-depleted cells revealed decreased levels of MCL-1 and NOXA ubiquitination. Additionally, a potential role of MARCH5 in the ubiquitination of several members of the cell cycle regulatory pathway was discovered. Based on the broad spectrum of cellular pathways which seem to be regulated in a MARCH5-dependent manner, it was hypothesised that MARCH5 primarily regulates BCL-2 family members which in turn regulate intrinsic apoptosis on the one hand and additionally are involved in the regulation of various other pathways on the other hand. In summary, this study provides insight into a MARCH5-dependent MCL1-1/NOXA axis in MCL cells and potential implications into related cellular processes. In addition to the anti-apoptotic pathways described above, B-cell receptor (BCR) signalling is known to provide a pro-survival signal to both normal and malignant B-cells. Targeting the BCR signalling pathway therefore is a promising therapeutic target for B-cell malignancies. In order to gain more insight into the differential modes of BCR signalling of ABC- and GCB-DLBCL cells, genes/proteins which displayed differential essentiality in ABC- and GCB-DLBCL cells were aimed to be defined. Consequently, data sets from a CRISPR/Cas9-based loss-of-function screen were re-analysed. SASH3 was identified as a gene which was essential for GCB- but not for ABC-DLBCL cells. Since this protein is known to be involved in T-cell receptor (TCR)-signalling, SASH3 was assumed to play a potential role in BCR signalling as well and was therefore investigated in more detail. A competitive growth assay confirmed that SASH3 knockout was toxic exclusively for GCB-DLBCL cell lines. An interactome analysis in ABC- and GCB-DLBCL cells revealed interaction between SASH3 and many components of the proximal BCR signalling pathway as well as several downstream signalling pathways such as the PI3K or the NF-ΚB pathway. An integration of the interactome with data from the CRISPR/Cas9-based loss-offunction screen revealed differential essentiality of the SASH3-interacting proteins in ABC- and GCB-DLBCL cells. It was hypothesised that SASH3 might regulate PI3K signalling on which GCB- but not ABC-DLBCL cells are known to dependent. Discontinuation of the regulation of PI3K signalling could therefore be exclusively toxic to GCB-DLBCL cells. Taken together, this study describes a subtype-specific dependency of GCB-DLBCL cells on SASH3. Furthermore, the SASH3 interactome has been investigated in B-cells for the first time, thereby highlighting a potential role in proximal BCR signalling and involvement in specific BCR-related downstream signalling pathways.

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Author:Tanja WotapekGND
Place of publication:Frankfurt am Main
Referee:Thomas OellerichORCiD, Evelyn UllrichORCiDGND
Document Type:Doctoral Thesis
Date of Publication (online):2022/08/11
Year of first Publication:2021
Publishing Institution:Universitätsbibliothek Johann Christian Senckenberg
Granting Institution:Johann Wolfgang Goethe-Universität
Date of final exam:2022/04/27
Release Date:2022/08/11
Page Number:138
Last Page:136
Dewey Decimal Classification:6 Technik, Medizin, angewandte Wissenschaften / 61 Medizin und Gesundheit / 610 Medizin und Gesundheit
Licence (German):License LogoDeutsches Urheberrecht