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Single-cell analysis reveals mechanisms of plasticity of leukemia initiating cells

By Vivian Morris, William Marion, Travis Hughes, Patricia Sousa, Prerana Sensharma, Yana Pikman, Marian Harris, Alex K Shalek, Trista E. North, George Q. Daley, Edroaldo Lummertz da Rocha, R. Grant Rowe

Posted 30 Apr 2020
bioRxiv DOI: 10.1101/2020.04.29.066332

Leukemia initiating cells (LICs) fuel leukemic growth and spark relapse. Previously thought to be primitive and rare, the LIC state may actually be heterogeneous and dynamic, enabling evasion of therapies. Here, we use single-cell transcriptomics to dissect the ontogeny of MLL-rearranged B-lymphoblastic leukemia (MLL-r B-ALL). Although we identify rare transcriptionally and phenotypically primitive LICs, we also observe LICs emerging from more differentiated populations with the capability to replenish the full cellular diversity of MLL-r B-ALL. We find that activation of MYC-driven oxidative phosphorylation controls this process of LIC state conversion. ### Competing Interest Statement The authors have declared no competing interest.

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