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Background: The incidence of Acute Megakaryoblastic Leukemia (AMKL) is 500-fold higher in children with Down Syndrome (DS) compared with non-DS children, but the relevance of trisomy 21 as a specific background of AMKL in DS is still an open issue. Several Authors have determined gene expression profiles by microarray analysis in DS and/or non-DS AMKL. Due to the rarity of AMKL, these studies were typically limited to a small group of samples. Methods: We generated integrated quantitative transcriptome maps by systematic meta-Analysis from any available gene expression profile dataset related to AMKL in pediatric age. This task has been accomplished using a tool recently described by us for the generation and the analysis of quantitative transcriptome maps, TRAM (Transcriptome Mapper), which allows effective integration of data obtained from different experimenters, experimental platforms and data sources. This allowed us to explore gene expression changes involved in transition from normal megakaryocytes (MK, n=19) to DS (n=43) or non-DS (n=45) AMKL blasts, including the analysis of Transient Myeloproliferative Disorder (TMD, n=20), a pre-leukemia condition. Results: We propose a biological model of the transcriptome depicting progressive changes from MK to TMD and then to DS AMKL. The data indicate the repression of genes involved in MK differentiation, in particular the cluster on chromosome 4 including PF4 (platelet factor 4) and PPBP (pro-platelet basic protein); the gene for the mitogen-Activated protein kinase MAP3K10 and the thrombopoietin receptor gene MPL. Moreover, comparing both DS and non-DS AMKL with MK, we identified three potential clinical markers of progression to AMKL: TMEM241 (transmembrane protein 241) was the most over-expressed single gene, while APOC2 (apolipoprotein C-II) and ZNF587B (zinc finger protein 587B) appear to be the most discriminant markers of progression, specifically to DS AMKL. Finally, the chromosome 21 (chr21) genes resulted to be the most over-expressed in DS and non-DS AMKL, as well as in TMD, pointing out a key role of chr21 genes in differentiating AMKL from MK. Conclusions: Our study presents an integrated original model of the DS AMLK transcriptome, providing the identification of genes relevant for its pathophysiology which can potentially be new clinical markers.
Pelleri, M. C., Piovesan, A., Caracausi, M., Berardi, A. C., Vitale, L., & Strippoli, P. (2014). Integrated differential transcriptome maps of Acute Megakaryoblastic Leukemia (AMKL) in children with or without Down Syndrome (DS). BMC Medical Genomics, 7(1). https://doi.org/10.1186/s12920-014-0063-z