Leukemia is an often malignant blood disease that has a tendency to become progressively worse. Several hematologic malignant tumors are characterized by genomic instabilities. As identified by whole genome sequencing, these cancer types frequently have between 10,000 and 100,000 mutations in their entire genome. Mutations in the human DNA methyl transferase 3A (DNMT3A) gene have now been identified in several blood diseases. The methyl-group transferring enzyme, DNA methyltransferase 3A (DNMT3A), is one of two human de novo DNA methyltransferases essential for the regulation of gene expression and mutations. Deletions and mutations in this protein have been observed in acute myeloid leukemia (AML), acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL), myelodysplastic syndromes and myeloproliferative neoplasms. Myeloid cells represent a prominent part of local inflammatory infiltrates in the central nervous system (CNS) and appear to strongly contribute to the local inflammatory milieu and the pathological outcome of diseases involving these cells.
In 2013, Kim et al. used PCR and direct sequencing to analyze mutations of DNMT3A amino acid residue R882 in 99 acute leukemia patients, including 57 AML patients, 41 ALL patients and a single biphenotypic acute leukemia (BAL) patient. The most common immunophenotype in BAL patients is defined by the coexpression of B-lymphoid and myeloid markers and less frequently, T-lymphoid and myeloid markers. BAL has a high incidence of clonal chromosomal abnormalities, the most common being the t(9;22) (q34;q11) (Ph chromosome) and structural abnormalities involving 11q23. Recent data indicate that BAL has a negative prognosis in both children and adults and this may be related to the underlying chromosome abnormalities. The research group detected DNMT3A expression in mononuclear cells of the bone marrow in these patients and in normal individuals using real time quantitative polymerase chain reaction. Approximately 17.5% (10/57) of AML patients were found to exhibit DNMT3A mutations, and four missense mutations were observed in the DNMT3A mutated AML patients, including R882 mutations and a novel single nucleotide polymorphism resulting in a M880V amino acid substitution. It is now known that somatic heterozygous mutations of the DNA methyltransferase gene DNMT3A occur frequently in acute myeloid leukemia and other hematological malignancies. The majority (∼60%) of these affect a single amino acid, Arg882 (R882), located in the catalytic domain of the enzyme. Kim et al. demonstrated that exogenously expressed mouse Dnmt3a proteins that have the corresponding R878 mutations largely fail to mediate DNA methylation in murine embryonic stem (ES) cells but are capable of interacting with wild-type Dnmt3a and Dnmt3b. The coexpression of the Dnmt3a R878H (histidine) mutant protein resulted in inhibition of the wild-type Dnmt3a and Dnmt3b to methylate DNA in murine ES cells. In addition the expression of Dnmt3a R878H in ES cells containing endogenous Dnmt3a or Dnmt3b induced hypomethylation suggests that the DNMT3A R882 mutations, in addition to being hypomorphic, produce dominant-negative effects. The current literature suggests that the presence of DNMT3A mutations is an adverse prognosis biomarker in adult acute myeloid leukemia and that the rapid detection of DNMT3A R882 codon mutations allows for early identification of poor risk patients with acute myeloid leukemia.
Shivarov et al. set out to develop a novel bead-based suspension assay using BNA-NC probes for the LabScan200 flow platform from Luminex, (USA). The research group developed and validated a bead-based method to quantitatively detect DNMT3A p.R882C/H/R/
For the assay, primers are designed to allow for the amplification of a DNA sequence fragment that contains the mutated sequence codon. One of the primers is labeled with biotin. First, human genomic DNA is extracted from blood. The exon 23 of the human DNMT3A gene is amplified using the selected forward and reverse primer. To determine the exact sequence, the purified and amplified DNA can be sequenced using Big Dye terminator cycle-sequencing. Next, the exon 23 DNMT3A fragments are amplified from either genomic or plasmic DNA samples using a 5’-biotinylated forward primer. Genotyping is performed with the BNA-NC modified oligonucleotide probes connected to microsphere beads, specific for the wild type or the mutant alleles, by direct hybridization. The captured DNA fragment containing biotin on its 5’-end is detected with the help of streptavidin-
BNA is a six membered bridged structure with a unique N-O bond in the sugar moiety. This moiety was designed to improve duplex and triplex stability by lowering the repulsion between negatively charged phosphate backbones. These nucleic acid analogs can be easily incorporated into natural oligonucleotide strands. They provide flexibility in designing BNA/DNA and BNA/RNA hybrid oligonucleotides to satisfy the need for very high and sequence-specific hybridization with natural nucleic acids. In addition, they possess a strong nuclease-resistant property. While first generation BNA (also known as LNA) is still used in various applications, Bio-Synthesis Inc. now offers a third generation, six membered bridged 2', 4' BNA-NC which has shown to possess superior properties as compared to the earlier generation of locked nucleic acids and peptide nucleic acid.