Lympho-myeloid restricted early thymic progenitors (ETPs) are postulated to be the cell of origin for ETP leukemias, a therapy-resistant leukemia associated with frequent co-occurrence of EZH2 and RUNX1 inactivating mutations, and constitutively activating signaling pathway mutations. In a mouse model, we demonstrate that Ezh2 and Runx1 inactivation targeted to early lymphoid progenitors causes a marked expansion of pre-leukemic ETPs, showing transcriptional signatures characteristic of ETP leukemia. Addition of a RAS-signaling pathway mutation (Flt3-ITD) results in an aggressive leukemia co-expressing myeloid and lymphoid genes, which can be established and propagated in vivo by the expanded ETPs. Both mouse and human ETP leukemias show sensitivity to BET inhibition in vitro and in vivo, which reverses aberrant gene expression induced by Ezh2 inactivation.
Myeloid-biased hematopoietic stem cells (MB-HSCs) play critical roles in recovery from injury, but little is known about how they are regulated within the bone marrow niche. Here we describe an auto-/paracrine physiologic circuit that controls quiescence of MB-HSCs and hematopoietic progenitors marked by histidine decarboxylase (Hdc). Committed Hdc+ myeloid cells lie in close anatomical proximity to MB-HSCs and produce histamine, which activates the H2 receptor on MB-HSCs to promote their quiescence and self-renewal. Depleting histamine-producing cells enforces cell cycle entry, induces loss of serial transplant capacity, and sensitizes animals to chemotherapeutic injury. Increasing demand for myeloid cells via lipopolysaccharide (LPS) treatment specifically recruits MB-HSCs and progenitors into the cell cycle; cycling MB-HSCs fail to revert into quiescence in the absence of histamine feedback, leading to their depletion, while an H2 agonist protects MB-HSCs from depletion after sepsis. Thus, histamine couples lineage-specific physiological demands to intrinsically primed MB-HSCs to enforce homeostasis.