Defense Date


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Clinical and Translational Sciences

First Advisor

Gordon Ginder

Second Advisor

David William

Third Advisor

Joyce Lloyd

Fourth Advisor

Joseph Landry

Fifth Advisor

Shirley Taylor


Chromodomain Helicase DNA-Binding Protein 4 (CHD4) is an ATPase that alters the phasing of nucleosomes on DNA and has recently been implicated in DNA double stranded break (DSB) repair. Here, we show that depletion of CHD4 in Acute Myeloid Leukemia (AML) blasts induces a global relaxation of chromatin that renders cells more susceptible to DSB formation, while concurrently impeding their repair. Furthermore, CHD4 depletion renders AML blasts more sensitive both in vitro and in vivo to genotoxic agents used in clinical therapy: daunorubicin (DNR) and cytarabine (ara-C). Sensitization to DNR and ara-C is mediated in part by activation of the ATM pathway, which is preliminarily activated by a Tip60-dependent mechanism in response to chromatin relaxation and further activated by genotoxic-agent induced DSBs. This sensitization preferentially affects AML cells, as CHD4 depletion in normal CD34+ hematopoetic progenitors does not increase their susceptibility to DNR or ara-C. Unexpectedly, we found that CHD4 is necessary for maintaining the tumor formatting behavior of AML cells, as CHD4 depletion severely restricted the ability of AML cells to form xenografts in mice and colonies in soft agar. Taken together, these results provide evidence for CHD4 as a novel therapeutic target whose inhibition has the potential to enhance the effectiveness of genotoxic agents used in AML therapy.


© The Author

Is Part Of

VCU University Archives

Is Part Of

VCU Theses and Dissertations

Date of Submission