Publication — IRIC
Inhibition of mitochondrial complex I reverses NOTCH1-driven metabolic reprogramming in T-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia.
T-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia (T-ALL) is commonly driven by activating mutations in NOTCH1 that facilitate glutamine oxidation. Here we identify oxidative phosphorylation (OxPhos) as a critical pathway for leukemia cell survival and demonstrate a direct relationship between NOTCH1, elevated OxPhos gene expression, and acquired chemoresistance in pre-leukemic and leukemic models. Disrupting OxPhos with IACS-010759, an inhibitor of mitochondrial complex I, causes potent growth inhibition through induction of metabolic shut-down and redox imbalance in NOTCH1-mutated and less so in NOTCH1-wt T-ALL cells. Mechanistically, inhibition of OxPhos induces a metabolic reprogramming into glutaminolysis. We show that pharmacological blockade of OxPhos combined with inducible knock-down of glutaminase, the key glutamine enzyme, confers synthetic lethality in mice harboring NOTCH1-mutated T-ALL. We leverage on this synthetic lethal interaction to demonstrate that IACS-010759 in combination with chemotherapy containing L-asparaginase, an enzyme that uncovers the glutamine dependency of leukemic cells, causes reduced glutaminolysis and profound tumor reduction in pre-clinical models of human T-ALL. In summary, this metabolic dependency of T-ALL on OxPhos provides a rational therapeutic target.