Targeting leukemia-specific dependence on the de novo purine synthesis pathway

Takuji Yamauchi, Kohta Miyawaki, Yuichiro Semba, Masatomo Takahashi, Yoshihiro Izumi, Jumpei Nogami, Fumihiko Nakao, Takeshi Sugio, Kensuke Sasaki, Luca Pinello, Daniel E. Bauer, Takeshi Bamba, Koichi Akashi, Takahiro Maeda

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)


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.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)383-393
Number of pages11
Issue number2
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 2021

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Hematology
  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


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