Congratulations to Gabrielle’s Angels grantees Dr. Ann Mullally and Dr. Shannon Elf for their recent publication in September’s issue of Blood.
Calreticulin (CALR) mutations are frequent, disease-initiating events in myeloproliferative neoplasms (MPNs). Although the biological mechanism by which CALR mutations cause MPNs has been elucidated, there currently are no clonally selective therapies for CALR-mutant MPNs. To identify unique genetic dependencies in CALR-mutant MPNs, we performed a whole-genome clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeats (CRISPR) knockout depletion screen in mutant CALR-transformed hematopoietic cells. We found that genes in the N-glycosylation pathway (among others) were differentially depleted in mutant CALR-transformed cells as compared with control cells. Using a focused pharmacological in vitro screen targeting unique vulnerabilities uncovered in the CRISPR screen, we found that chemical inhibition of N-glycosylation impaired the growth of mutant CALR-transformed cells, through a reduction in MPL cell surface expression. We treated Calr-mutant knockin mice with the N-glycosylation inhibitor 2-deoxy-glucose (2-DG) and found a preferential sensitivity of Calr-mutant cells to 2-DG as compared with wild-type cells and normalization of key MPNs disease features. To validate our findings in primary human cells, we performed megakaryocyte colony-forming unit (CFU-MK) assays. We found that N-glycosylation inhibition significantly reduced CFU-MK formation in patient-derived CALR-mutant bone marrow as compared with bone marrow derived from healthy donors. In aggregate, our findings advance the development of clonally selective treatments for CALR-mutant MPNs.