Aberrantly expressed cytokines in the bone marrow (BM) niche are increasingly recognized as critical mediators of survival and expansion of leukemic stem cells. To identify regulators of primitive chronic myeloid leukemia (CML) cells, we performed a high-content cytokine screen using primary CD34+ CD38low chronic phase CML cells. Out of the 313 unique human cytokines evaluated, 11 were found to expand cell numbers ≥2-fold in a 7-day culture. Focusing on novel positive regulators of primitive CML cells, the myostatin antagonist myostatin propeptide gave the largest increase in cell expansion and was chosen for further studies. Herein, we demonstrate that myostatin propeptide expands primitive CML and normal BM cells, as shown by increased colony-forming capacity. For primary CML samples, retention of CD34-expression was also seen after culture. Furthermore, we show expression of MSTN by CML mesenchymal stromal cells, and that myostatin propeptide has a direct and instant effect on CML cells, independent of myostatin, by demonstrating binding of myostatin propeptide to the cell surface and increased phosphorylation of STAT5 and SMAD2/3. In summary, we identify myostatin propeptide as a novel positive regulator of primitive CML cells and corresponding normal hematopoietic cells.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2095-2104
Number of pages10
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 2020

Subject classification (UKÄ)

  • Hematology


Dive into the research topics of 'A high-content cytokine screen identifies myostatin propeptide as a positive regulator of primitive chronic myeloid leukemia cells'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this