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Succinate-induced leukemic stem cell formation via epigenetic remodeling of hematopoietic stem cell

Project description

Chronic inflammation: can it lead to leukaemia?

Emerging evidence suggests that the microenvironment of the bone marrow may play a role in the development of haematological malignancies. In particular, chronic inflammation generates key mediators that can affect haematopoietic stem cells (HSCs), leading to exhaustion of self-renewal capacity and even leukaemia. Scientists of the EU-funded SuccHSC project aim to study the role of succinate, a major inflammation-induced effector molecule which can reach the nucleus and modify histones. Researchers will investigate the impact of succinate on histone modification and gene expression in normal and leukaemic samples, providing insight into leukaemia development.


In life, no matter how small, changes can have huge impact on its quality. For hematopoietic stem cells (HSC), similar can happen. Through minor shifts, from normal to pre-leukemic and finally leukemic phenotype, generation of leukemic stem cells (LSC) results in overt malignancy, such is acute myeloid leukemia (AML). Life quality of AML patients is severely impaired, even in “disease-free” state after the treatment. AML chemotherapy and stem cell transplant offers 5-year survival to only 20% of patients above age of sixty, 40% to the rest. Currently, a major clinical factor in AML onset and relapse are ever-present LSC. Mechanisms by which HSC turn into LSC, in their highly regulated environment, are still largely unknown, which is why new knowledge is needed to unveil this troubling issue. With the growing amount of data correlating chronic inflammation and onset of various types of malignancies, the SuccHSC project will explore the role of succinate, one of the major inflammation-induced effector molecules, in LSC formation by epigenetic remodeling of HSC. Chronic inflammation generates various molecules, which can be picked-up by bone marrow HSC. Chronic HSC activation leads to peripheral blood entering, myeloid skewing, self-renewal exaustion and even perhaps leukemia. On mechanistic side, HSC react to inflammatory mediators by elevated glycolysis, reduced oxygen and increased succinate. New succinate molecules can reach nucleus through mito-nuclear communication. Among other modifications, histones were shown to be modified with succinate, but yet with no known role. SuccHSC will explore histone succinylation and its effect on gene expression comparing leukemic and normal human samples biochemically, by ChIP-seq and by RNA-seq. Transgene succinate-dehydrogenase KO mice model, which accumulates succinate, will be used to confirm succinylation role in gene expression regulation and HSC transformation into pre-leukemic cell stage.


Net EU contribution
€ 202 158,72
9019 Tromso

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Norge Nord-Norge Troms og Finnmark
Activity type
Higher or Secondary Education Establishments
Total cost
€ 202 158,72