SOX11 is a novel binding partner and endogenous inhibitor of SAMHD1 ara-CTPase activity in mantle cell lymphoma

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The sterile alpha motif and histidine-aspartate (HD) domain containing protein 1 (SAMHD1) is a deoxynucleoside triphosphate triphosphohydrolase with ara-CTPase activity that confers cytarabine (ara-C) resistance in several haematological malignancies. Targeting SAMHD1's ara-CTPase activity has recently been demonstrated to enhance ara-C efficacy in acute myeloid leukemia. Here, we identify the transcription factor SRY-related HMG-box containing protein 11 (SOX11) as a novel direct binding partner and first known endogenous inhibitor of SAMHD1. SOX11 is aberrantly expressed not only in mantle cell lymphoma (MCL), but also in some Burkitt lymphomas. Co-immunoprecipitation of SOX11 followed by mass spectrometry in MCL cell lines identified SAMHD1 as the top SOX11 interaction partner which was validated by proximity ligation assay. In vitro, SAMHD1 bound to the HMG box of SOX11 with low-micromolar affinity. In situ crosslinking studies further indicated that SOX11-SAMHD1 binding resulted in a reduced tetramerization of SAMHD1. Functionally, expression of SOX11 inhibited SAMHD1 ara-CTPase activity in a dose-dependent manner resulting in ara-C sensitization in cell lines and in a SOX11-inducible mouse model of MCL. In SOX11-negative MCL, SOX11-mediated ara-CTPase inhibition could be mimicked by adding the recently identified SAMHD1 inhibitor hydroxyurea. Taken together, our results identify SOX11 as a novel SAMHD1 interaction partner and its first known endogenous inhibitor with potentially important implications for clinical therapy stratification.

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Journal Blood
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