The B Cell Mutator AID Promotes B Lymphoid Blast Crisis and Drug Resistance in Chronic Myeloid Leukemia
Drug Resistance, Neoplasm
Leukemia, Myelogenous, Chronic, BCR-ABL Positive
Chronic myeloid leukemia (CML) is induced by BCR-ABL1 and can be effectively treated for many years with Imatinib until leukemia cells acquire drug resistance through BCR-ABL1 mutations and progress into fatal B lymphoid blast crisis (LBC). Despite its clinical significance, the mechanism of progression into LBC is unknown. Here, we show that LBC but not CML cells express the B cell-specific mutator enzyme AID. We demonstrate that AID expression in CML cells promotes overall genetic instability by hypermutation of tumor suppressor and DNA repair genes. Importantly, our data uncover a causative role of AID activity in the acquisition of BCR-ABL1 mutations leading to Imatinib resistance, thus providing a rationale for the rapid development of drug resistance and blast crisis progression.