DNA methyltransferase 3a (DNMT3A) catalyzes the formation of 5-methyl-cytosine in mammalian genomic DNA, and it is frequently mutated in human hematologic malignancies. Bi-allelic loss of Dnmt3a in mice results in leukemia and lymphoma, including chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL). Here, we investigate whether mono-allelic loss of Dnmt3a is sufficient to induce disease. We show that, by 16 months of age, 65% of Dnmt3a+/- mice develop a CLL-like disease, and 15% of mice develop non-malignant myeloproliferation. Genome-wide methylation analysis reveals that reduced Dnmt3a levels induce promoter hypomethylation at similar loci in Dnmt3a+/- and Dnmt3aδ/δ CLL, suggesting that promoters are particularly sensitive to Dnmt3a levels. Gene expression analysis identified 26 hypomethylated and overexpressed genes common to both Dnmt3a+/- and Dnmt3aδ/δ CLL as putative oncogenic drivers. Our data provide evidence that Dnmt3a is a haplo-insufficient tumor suppressor in CLL and highlights the importance of deregulated molecular events in disease pathogenesis.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)