Nakahara F, Kitaura J, Uchida T, Nishida C, Togami K, Inoue D, Matsukawa T, Kagiyama Y, Enomoto Y, Kawabata KC, Chen-Yi L, Komeno Y, Izawa K, Oki T, Nagae G, Harada Y, Harada H, Otsu M, Aburatani H, Heissig B, Hattori K, Kitamura T.
High levels of HES1 expression are frequently found in BCR-ABL(+) chronic myelogenous leukemia in blast crisis (CML-BC). In mouse bone marrow transplantation (BMT) models, co-expression of BCR-ABL and Hes1 induces CML-BC-like disease; however, the underlying mechanism remained elusive. Here, based on gene expression analysis, we show that MMP-9 is upregulated by Hes1 in common myeloid progenitors (CMPs). Analysis of promoter activity demonstrated that Hes1 upregulated MMP-9 by activating NF-κB. Analysis of 20 samples from CML-BC patients showed that MMP-9 was highly expressed in three, with two exhibiting high levels of HES1 expression. Interestingly, MMP-9 deficiency impaired the cobblestone area-forming ability of CMPs expressing BCR-ABL and Hes1 that were in conjunction with a stromal cell layer. In addition, CMPs expressing BCR-ABL and Hes1 secreted MMP-9, promoting the release of soluble Kit-ligand (sKitL) from stromal cells, thereby enhancing proliferation of the leukemic cells. In accordance, mice transplanted with CMPs expressing BCR-ABL and Hes1 exhibited high levels of sKitL as well as MMP-9 in the serum. Importantly, MMP-9 deficiency impaired the development of CML-BC-like disease induced by BCR-ABL and Hes1 in mouse BMT models. The present results suggest that Hes1 promotes the development of CML-BC, partly through MMP-9 upregulation in leukemic cells.