The bone marrow microenvironment of pre-B acute lymphoblastic leukemia at single-cell resolution

Denise Anderson, Patrycja Skut, Anastasia M. Hughes, Emanuela Ferrari, Jennifer Tickner, Jiake Xu, Benjamin H. Mullin, Dave Tang, Sébastien Malinge, Ursula R. Kees, Rishi S. Kotecha, Timo Lassmann, Laurence C. Cheung

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15 Citations (Scopus)


The bone marrow microenvironment (BMM) plays a key role in leukemia progression, but its molecular complexity in pre-B cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia (B-ALL), the most common cancer in children, remains poorly understood. To gain further insight, we used single-cell RNA sequencing to characterize the kinetics of the murine BMM during B-ALL progression. Normal pro- and pre-B cells were found to be the most affected at the earliest stages of disease and this was associated with changes in expression of genes regulated by the AP1-transcription factor complex and regulatory factors NELFE, MYC and BCL11A. Granulocyte–macrophage progenitors show reduced expression of the tumor suppressor long non-coding RNA Neat1 and disruptions in the rate of transcription. Intercellular communication networks revealed monocyte-dendritic precursors to be consistently active during B-ALL progression, with enriched processes including cytokine-mediated signaling pathway, neutrophil-mediated immunity and regulation of cell migration and proliferation. In addition, we confirmed that the hematopoietic stem and progenitor cell compartment was perturbed during leukemogenesis. These findings extend our understanding of the complexity of changes and molecular interactions among the normal cells of the BMM during B-ALL progression.

Original languageEnglish
Article number19173
JournalScientific Reports
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2020


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