Knockdown of HSPA9 induces TP53-dependent apoptosis in human hematopoietic progenitor cells

Tuoen Liu, Kilannin Krysiak, Cara Lunn Shirai, Sanghyun Kim, Jin Shao, Matthew Ndonwi, Matthew J. Walter

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Scopus citations


Myelodysplastic syndromes (MDS) are the most common adult myeloid blood cancers in the US. Patients have increased apoptosis in their bone marrow cells leading to low peripheral blood counts. The full complement of gene mutations that contribute to increased apoptosis in MDS remains unknown. Up to 25% of MDS patients harbor and acquired interstitial deletion on the long arm of chromosome 5 [del(5q)], creating haploinsufficiency for a large set of genes including HSPA9. Knockdown of HSPA9 in primary human CD34+ hematopoietic progenitor cells significantly inhibits growth and increases apoptosis. We show here that HSPA9 knockdown is associated with increased TP53 expression and activity, resulting in increased expression of target genes BAX and p21. HSPA9 protein interacts with TP53 in CD34+ cells and knockdown of HSPA9 increases nuclear TP53 levels, providing a possible mechanism for regulation of TP53 by HSPA9 haploinsufficiency in hematopoietic cells. Concurrent knockdown of TP53 and HSPA9 rescued the increased apoptosis observed in CD34 + cells following knockdown of HSPA9. Reduction of HSPA9 below 50% results in severe inhibition of cell growth, suggesting that del(5q) cells may be preferentially sensitive to further reductions of HSPA9 below 50%, thus providing a genetic vulnerability to del(5q) cells. Treatment of bone marrow cells with MKT-077, an HSPA9 inhibitor, induced apoptosis in a higher percentage of cells from MDS patients with del(5q) compared to non-del(5q) MDS patients and normal donor cells. Collectively, these findings indicate that reduced levels of HSPA9 may contribute to TP53 activation and increased apoptosis observed in del(5q)-Associated MDS.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0170470
JournalPloS one
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2017


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