Comprehensive characterization of the epigenetic landscape in Multiple Myeloma

Elina Alaterre et al.

Background: Human multiple myeloma (MM) cell lines (HMCLs) have been widely used to understand the
molecular processes that drive MM biology. Epigenetic modifications are involved in MM development,
progression, and drug resistance. A comprehensive characterization of the epigenetic landscape of MM would
advance our understanding of MM pathophysiology and may attempt to identify new therapeutic targets.
Methods: We performed chromatin immunoprecipitation sequencing to analyze histone mark changes
(H3K4me1, H3K4me3, H3K9me3, H3K27ac, H3K27me3 and H3K36me3) on 16 HMCLs.
Results: Differential analysis of histone modification profiles highlighted links between histone modifications
and cytogenetic abnormalities or recurrent mutations. Using histone modifications associated to enhancer
regions, we identified super-enhancers (SE) associated with genes involved in MM biology. We also identified
promoters of genes enriched in H3K9me3 and H3K27me3 repressive marks associated to potential tumor
suppressor functions. The prognostic value of genes associated with repressive domains and SE was used to
build two distinct scores identifying high-risk MM patients in two independent cohorts (CoMMpass cohort; n =
674 and Montpellier cohort; n = 69). Finally, we explored H3K4me3 marks comparing drug-resistant and
-sensitive HMCLs to identify regions involved in drug resistance. From these data, we developed epigenetic
biomarkers based on the H3K4me3 modification predicting MM cell response to lenalidomide and histone
deacetylase inhibitors (HDACi).
Conclusions: The epigenetic landscape of MM cells represents a unique resource for future biological studies.
Furthermore, risk-scores based on SE and repressive regions together with epigenetic biomarkers of drug
response could represent new tools for precision medicine in MM.

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January, 2022


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  • EMBL Symposium: The non-coding genome
    Heidelberg, Germany
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