High mobility group AT-hook 2 (HMGA2) is an architectural transcription factor that is negatively regulated by let-7 microRNA through binding to it’s 3’-untranslated region. Transgenic mice expressing Hmga2 with a truncation of its 3’-untranslated region has been shown to exhibit a myeloproliferative phenotype. To decipher the let-7-HMGA2 axis in myeloproliferative neoplasms, we employed an in vitro model supplemented with clinical correlation. Ba/F3 cells with inducible JAK2V617F expression (Ton.JAK2.V617F cells) showed upregulation of HMGA2 with concurrent let-7a repression. Ton.JAK2.V617F cells treated with a let-7a inhibitor exhibited further escalation of Hmga2 expression, while a let-7a mimic diminished the Hmga2 transcript level. Hmga2 overexpression conferred JAK2-mutated cells with a survival advantage through inhibited apoptosis. A pan-JAK inhibitor, INC424, increased the expression of let-7a, downregulated the level of Hmga2, and led to increased apoptosis in Ton.JAK2.V617F cells in a dose-dependent manner. In samples from 151 patients with myeloproliferative neoplasms, there was a modest inverse correlation between the expression levels of let-7a and HMGA2. Overexpression of HMGA2 was detected in 29 (19.2%) of the cases, and it was more commonly seen in patients with essential thrombocythemia than in those with polycythemia vera (26.9% vs. 12.7%, P=0.044). Patients with upregulated HMGA2 showed an increased propensity for developing major thrombotic events, and they were more likely to harbor one of the 3 driver myeloproliferative neoplasm mutations in JAK2, MPL and CALR. Our findings suggest that, in a subset of myeloproliferative neoplasm patients, the let-7-HMGA2 axis plays a prominent role in the pathogenesis of the disease that leads to unique clinical phenotypes.
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