Identification of a drug-response gene in multiple myeloma through longitudinal single-cell transcriptome sequencing. Masuda et al.
Despite recent therapeutic advances for multiple myeloma (MM), relapse is very common. Here, we conducted longitudinal single-cell transcriptome sequencing (scRNA-seq) of MM cells from a patient with relapsed MM, treated with multiple anti-myeloma drugs. We observed five subclusters of MM cells, which appeared and/or disappeared in response to the therapeutic pressure, and identified cluster 3 which emerged during lenalidomide treatment and disappeared after proteasome inhibitor treatment. Among the differentially expressed genes in cluster 3, we found a candidate drug-response gene; pellino E3 ubiquitin protein ligase family member 2 (PELI2), which is responsible for PI-induced cell death in in vitro assay. Kaplan-Meier survival analysis of database revealed that higher expression of PELI2 is associated with better prognosis. Our integrated strategy combining longitudinal scRNA-seq analysis, in vitro functional assay, and database analysis would facilitate the understanding of clonal dynamics of MM in response to anti-myeloma drugs and identification of drug response genes.