Acute myeloid leukemia (AML) is a devastating disease, and clinical outcomes are still far from satisfactory. Here, to identify novel targets for AML therapy, we performed a genome-wide CRISPR/Cas9 screen using AML cell lines, followed by a second screen in vivo. We show that PAICS, an enzyme involved in de novo purine biosynthesis, is a potential target for AML therapy. AML cells expressing shRNA-PAICS exhibited a proliferative disadvantage, indicating a toxic effect of shRNA-PAICS. Treatment of human AML cells with a PAICS inhibitor suppressed their proliferation by inhibiting DNA synthesis and promoting apoptosis and had anti-leukemic effects in AML PDX models. Furthermore, CRISPR/Cas9 screens using AML cells in the presence of the inhibitor revealed genes mediating resistance or synthetic lethal to PAICS inhibition. Our findings identify PAICS as a novel therapeutic target for AML and further define components of de novo purine synthesis pathway and its downstream effectors essential for AML cell survival.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Cancer Research