Human B-cell precursor acute lymphoid leukemias (BCP-ALLs) comprise a group of genetically and clinically distinct disease entities with features of differentiation arrest at known stages of normal B-lineage differentiation. We previously showed that BCP-ALL cells display unique and clonally heritable, stable DNA replication timing (RT) programs (ie, programs describing the variable order of replication and subnuclear 3D architecture of megabase-scale chromosomal units of DNA in different cell types). To determine the extent to which BCP-ALL RT programs mirror or deviate from specific stages of normal human B-cell differentiation, we transplanted immunodeficient mice with quiescent normal human CD341 cord blood cells and obtained RT signatures of the regenerating B-lineage populations. We then compared these with RT signatures for leukemic cells from a large cohort of BCP-ALL patients with varied genetic subtypes and outcomes. The results identify BCP-ALL subtype-specific features that resemble specific stages of B-cell differentiation and features that seem to be associated with relapse. These results suggest that the genesis of BCP-ALL involves alterations in RT that reflect biologically significant and potentially clinically relevant leukemia-specific epigenetic changes.
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