Transforming and tumorigenic activity of JAK2 by fusion to BCR: molecular mechanisms of action of a novel BCR-JAK2 tyrosine-kinase.
ABSTRACT: Chromosomal translocations in tumors frequently produce fusion genes coding for chimeric proteins with a key role in oncogenesis. Recent reports described a BCR-JAK2 fusion gene in fatal chronic and acute myeloid leukemia, but the functional behavior of the chimeric protein remains uncharacterized. We used fluorescence in situ hybridization and reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) assays to describe a BCR-JAK2 fusion gene from a patient with acute lymphoblastic leukemia. The patient has been in complete remission for six years following treatment and autologous transplantation, and minimal residual disease was monitored by real-time RT-PCR. BCR-JAK2 codes for a protein containing the BCR oligomerization domain fused to the JAK2 tyrosine-kinase domain. In vitro analysis of transfected cells showed that BCR-JAK2 is located in the cytoplasm. Transduction of hematopoietic Ba/F3 cells with retroviral vectors carrying BCR-JAK2 induced IL-3-independent cell growth, constitutive activation of the chimeric protein as well as STAT5 phosphorylation and translocation to the nuclei, where Bcl-xL gene expression was elicited. Primary mouse progenitor cells transduced with BCR-JAK2 also showed increased proliferation and survival. Treatment with the JAK2 inhibitor TG101209 abrogated BCR-JAK2 and STAT5 phosphorylation, decreased Bcl-xL expression and triggered apoptosis of transformed Ba/F3 cells. Therefore, BCR-JAK2 is a novel tyrosine-kinase with transforming activity. It deregulates growth factor-dependent proliferation and cell survival, which can be abrogated by the TG101209 inhibitor. Moreover, transformed Ba/F3 cells developed tumors when injected subcutaneously into nude mice, thus proving the tumorigenic capacity of BCR-JAK2 in vivo. Together these findings suggest that adult and pediatric patients with BCR-ABL-negative leukemia and JAK2 overexpression may benefit from targeted therapies.
Project description:We determined the activity of hsp90 inhibitor, and/or Janus-activated kinase 2 (JAK2) tyrosine kinase inhibitor (TKI), against JAK2-V617F-expressing cultured mouse (Ba/F3-JAK2-V617F) and human (HEL92.1.7 and UKE-1) or primary human CD34(+) myeloproliferative neoplasm (MPN) cells.Following exposure to the hsp90 inhibitor AUY922 and/or JAK2-TKI TG101209, the levels of JAK2-V617F, its downstream signaling proteins, as well as apoptosis were determined.Treatment with AUY922 induced proteasomal degradation and depletion of JAK2-V617F as well as attenuated the signaling proteins downstream of JAK2-V617F, that is, phospho (p)-STAT5, p-AKT, and p-ERK1/2. AUY922 treatment also induced apoptosis of HEL92.1.7, UKE-1, and Ba/F3-hJAK2-V617F cells. Combined treatment with AUY922 and TG101209 caused greater depletion of the signaling proteins than either agent alone and synergistically induced apoptosis of HEL92.1.7 and UKE-1 cells. Cotreatment with AUY922 and TG101209 also induced significantly more apoptosis of human CD34(+) MPN than normal hematopoietic progenitor cells. As compared with the sensitive controls, JAK2-TKI-resistant HEL/TGR and UKE-1/TGR cells exhibited significantly higher IC(50) values for JAK2-TKI (P < 0.001), which was associated with higher expression of p-JAK2, p-STAT5, p-AKT, and Bcl-xL, but reduced levels of BIM. Unlike the sensitive controls, HEL/TGR and UKE/TGR cells were collaterally sensitive to the hsp90 inhibitors AUY922 and 17-AAG, accompanied by marked reduction in p-JAK2, p-STAT5, p-AKT, and Bcl-xL, with concomitant induction of BIM.Findings presented here show that cotreatment with hsp90 inhibitor and JAK2-TKI exerts synergistic activity against cultured and primary MPN cells. In addition, treatment with hsp90 inhibitor may overcome resistance to JAK2-TKI in human MPN cells.
Project description:The mutant JAK2V617F tyrosine kinase (TK) is present in the majority of patients with BCR-ABL-negative myeloproliferative neoplasms (MPNs). JAK2V617F activates downstream signaling through the signal transducers and activators of transcription (STAT), RAS/mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK), and phosphatidylinositol 3 (PI3)/AKT pathways, conferring proliferative and survival advantages in the MPN hematopoietic progenitor cells (HPCs). Treatment with the pan-histone deacetylase (HDAC) inhibitor panobinostat (PS) is known to inhibit the chaperone function of heat shock protein 90, as well as induce growth arrest and apoptosis of transformed HPCs. Here, we demonstrate that PS treatment depletes the autophosphorylation, expression, and downstream signaling of JAK2V617F. Treatment with PS also disrupted the chaperone association of JAK2V617F with hsp90, promoting proteasomal degradation of JAK2V617F. PS also induced apoptosis of the cultured JAK2V617F-expressing human erythroleukemia HEL92.1.7 and Ba/F3-JAK2V617F cells. Treatment with the JAK2 TK inhibitor TG101209 attenuated JAK2V617F autophosphorylation and induced apoptosis of HEL92.1.7 and Ba/F3-JAK2V617F cells. Cotreatment with PS and TG101209 further depleted JAK/STAT signaling and synergistically induced apoptosis of HEL92.1.7 and Ba/F3-JAK2V617F cells. Cotreatment with TG101209 and PS exerted greater cytotoxicity against primary CD34(+) MPN cells than normal CD34(+) HPCs. These in vitro findings suggest combination therapy with HDAC and JAK2V617F inhibitors is of potential value for the treatment of JAK2V617F-positive MPN.
Project description:JAK2 fusion genes are rare but recurrent abnormalities associated with diverse, clinically heterogeneous hematologic malignancies. Here we assess the JAK1/2 inhibitor ruxolitinib as therapy for patients with JAK2-rearrangement associated myeloproliferative neoplasms (MPN). Ruxolitinib-treated Ba/F3 cells transformed to IL3 independence by ETV6-JAK2 showed reduced proliferation and survival (IC(50) = 370 nM) compared with KG1A or Ba/F3 cells transformed by BCR-ABL1, SPBN1-FLT3 and ZMYM2-FGFR1 (IC(50) > 10 ?M for all). Inhibition was associated with reduced phosphorylation of ETV6-JAK2, ERK, STAT5 and AKT. Primary cell growth from 2 patients with JAK2 rearrangement and one patient with JAK2 amplification was assessed in methylcellulose assays. Reduced colony growth was seen for all patients in ruxolitinib-treated cultures compared with healthy controls (n=7). Fluorescence in situ hybridization showed reduced growth of JAK2-rearrangement positive colonies compared to JAK2-rearrangement negative colonies. Our data, therefore, provide evidence that ruxolitinib is a promising therapy for treatment of patients with JAK2 fusion genes.
Project description:BACKGROUND:Imatinib mesylate (IM) induces clinical remission of chronic myeloid leukemia (CML). The Abelson helper integration site 1 (AHI-1) oncoprotein interacts with BCR-ABL and Janus kinase 2 (JAK2) to mediate IM response of primitive CML cells, but the effect of the interaction complex on the response to ABL and JAK2 inhibitors is unknown. METHODS:The AHI-1-BCR-ABL-JAK2 interaction complex was analyzed by mutational analysis and coimmunoprecipitation. Roles of the complex in regulation of response or resistance to ABL and JAK2 inhibitors were investigated in BCR-ABL (+) cells and primary CML stem/progenitor cells and in immunodeficient NSG mice. All statistical tests were two-sided. RESULTS:The WD40-repeat domain of AHI-1 interacts with BCR-ABL, whereas the N-terminal region interacts with JAK2; loss of these interactions statistically significantly increased the IM sensitivity of CML cells. Disrupting this complex with a combination of IM and an orally bioavailable selective JAK2 inhibitor (TG101209 [TG]) statistically significantly induced death of AHI-1-overexpressing and IM-resistant cells in vitro and enhanced survival of leukemic mice, compared with single agents (combination vs TG alone: 63 vs 53 days, ratio = 0.84, 95% confidence interval [CI] = 0.6 to 1.1, P = .004; vs IM: 57 days, ratio = 0.9, 95% CI = 0.61 to 1.2, P = .003). Combination treatment also statistically significantly enhanced apoptosis of CD34(+) leukemic stem/progenitor cells and eliminated their long-term leukemia-initiating activity in NSG mice. Importantly, this approach was effective against treatment-naive CML stem cells from patients who subsequently proved to be resistant to IM therapy. CONCLUSIONS:Simultaneously targeting BCR-ABL and JAK2 activities in CML stem/progenitor cells may improve outcomes in patients destined to develop IM resistance.
Project description:Signal transducers and activators of transcription (Stats) play central roles in the conversion of extracellular signals, e.g., cytokines, hormones and growth factors, into tissue and cell type specific gene expression patterns. In normal cells, their signaling potential is strictly limited in extent and duration. The persistent activation of Stat3 or Stat5 is found in many human tumor cells and contributes to their growth and survival. Stat5 activation plays a pivotal role in nearly all hematological malignancies and occurs downstream of oncogenic kinases, e.g., Bcr-Abl in chronic myeloid leukemias (CML) and Jak2(V617F) in other myeloproliferative diseases (MPD). We defined the mechanisms through which Stat5 affects growth and survival of K562 cells, representative of Bcr-Abl positive CML, and HEL cells, representative for Jak2(V617F) positive acute erythroid leukemia. In our experiments we suppressed the protein expression levels of Stat5a and Stat5b through shRNA mediated downregulation and demonstrated the dependence of cell survival on the presence of Stat5. Alternatively, we interfered with the functional capacities of the Stat5 protein through the interaction with a Stat5 specific peptide ligand. This ligand is a Stat5 specific peptide aptamer construct which comprises a 12mer peptide integrated into a modified thioredoxin scaffold, S5-DBD-PA. The peptide sequence specifically recognizes the DNA binding domain (DBD) of Stat5. Complex formation of S5-DBD-PA with Stat5 causes a strong reduction of P-Stat5 in the nuclear fraction of Bcr-Abl-transformed K562 cells and a suppression of Stat5 target genes. Distinct Stat5 mediated survival mechanisms were detected in K562 and Jak2(V617F)-transformed HEL cells. Stat5 is activated in the nuclear and cytosolic compartments of K562 cells and the S5-DBD-PA inhibitor most likely affects the viability of Bcr-Abl+ K562 cells through the inhibition of canonical Stat5 induced target gene transcription. In HEL cells, Stat5 is predominantly present in the cytoplasm and the survival of the Jak2(V617F)+ HEL cells is impeded through the inhibition of the cytoplasmic functions of Stat5.
Project description:BACKGROUND: Philadelphia positive leukemias are characterized by the presence of Bcr-Abl fusion protein which exhibits an abnormal kinase activity. Selective Abl kinase inhibitors have been successfully established for the treatment of Ph (+) leukemias. Despite high rates of clinical response, Ph (+) patients can develop resistance against these kinase inhibitors mainly due to point mutations within the Abl protein. Of special interest is the 'gatekeeper' T315I mutation, which confers complete resistance to Abl kinase inhibitors. Recently, GNF-2, Abl allosteric kinase inhibitor, was demonstrated to possess cellular activity against Bcr-Abl transformed cells. Similarly to Abl kinase inhibitors (AKIs), GNF-2 failed to inhibit activity of mutated Bcr-Abl carrying the T315I mutation. METHODS: Ba/F3 cells harboring native or T315I mutated Bcr-Abl constructs were treated with GNF-2 and AKIs. We monitored the effect of GNF-2 with AKIs on the proliferation and clonigenicity of the different Ba/F3 cells. In addition, we monitored the auto-phosphorylation activity of Bcr-Abl and JAK2 in cells treated with GNF-2 and AKIs. RESULTS: In this study, we report a cooperation between AKIs and GNF-2 in inhibiting proliferation and clonigenicity of Ba/F3 cells carrying T315I mutated Bcr-Abl. Interestingly, cooperation was most evident between Dasatinib and GNF-2. Furthermore, we showed that GNF-2 was moderately active in inhibiting the activity of JAK2 kinase, and presence of AKIs augmented GNF-2 activity. CONCLUSIONS: Our data illustrated the ability of allosteric inhibitors such as GNF-2 to cooperate with AKIs to overcome T315I mutation by Bcr-Abl-independent mechanisms, providing a possibility of enhancing AKIs efficacy and overcoming resistance in Ph+ leukemia cells.
Project description:Although the use of ATP-competitive tyrosine kinase inhibitors of oncoprotein BCR-ABL1 has enabled durable responses in patients with chronic myeloid leukemia (CML), issues of drug resistance and residual leukemic stem cells remain. To test whether the degradation of BCR-ABL1 kinase could offer improved response, we developed a series of proteolysis-targeting chimera (PROTAC) that allosterically target BCR-ABL1 protein and recruit the E3 ligase Von Hippel-Lindau, resulting in ubiquitination and subsequent degradation of the oncogenic fusion protein. In both human CML K562 cells and murine Ba/F3 cells expressing BCR-ABL1, lead compound GMB-475 induced rapid proteasomal degradation and inhibition of downstream biomarkers, such as STAT5, and showed increased sensitivity compared with diastereomeric controls lacking degradation activity. Notably, GMB-475 inhibited the proliferation of certain clinically relevant BCR-ABL1 kinase domain point mutants and further sensitized Ba/F3 BCR-ABL1 cells to inhibition by imatinib, while demonstrating no toxicity toward Ba/F3 parental cells. Reverse phase protein array analysis suggested additional differences in levels of phosphorylated SHP2, GAB2, and SHC associated with BCR-ABL1 degradation. Importantly, GMB-475 reduced viability and increased apoptosis in primary CML CD34+ cells, with no effect on healthy CD34+ cells at identical concentrations. GMB-475 degraded BCR-ABL1 and reduced cell viability in primary CML stem cells. Together, these findings suggest that combined BCR-ABL1 kinase inhibition and protein degradation may represent a strategy to address BCR-ABL1-dependent drug resistance, and warrant further investigation into the eradication of persistent leukemic stem cells, which rely on neither the presence nor the activity of the BCR-ABL1 protein for survival. SIGNIFICANCE: Small-molecule-induced degradation of BCR-ABL1 in CML provides an advantage over inhibition and provides insights into CML stem cell biology. GRAPHICAL ABSTRACT: http://cancerres.aacrjournals.org/content/canres/79/18/4744/F1.large.jpg.
Project description:Despite the success of imatinib mesylate (IM) in the early chronic phase of chronic myeloid leukemia (CML), patients are resistant to IM and other kinase inhibitors in the later stages of CML. Our findings indicate that inhibition of Janus kinase 2 (Jak2) in Bcr-Abl+ cells overcomes IM resistance although the precise mechanism of Jak2 action is unknown. Knocking down Jak2 in Bcr-Abl+ cells reduced levels of the Bcr-Abl protein and also the phosphorylation of Tyr177 of Bcr-Abl, and Jak2 overexpression rescued these knockdown effects. Treatment of Bcr-Abl+ cells with Jak2 inhibitors for 4-6?h but not with IM also reduced Bcr-Abl protein and pTyr177 levels. In vitro kinase experiments performed with recombinant Jak2 showed that Jak2 readily phosphorylated Tyr177 of Bcr-Abl (a Jak2 consensus site, YvnV) whereas c-Abl did not. Importantly, Jak2 inhibition decreased pTyr177 Bcr-Abl in immune complexes but did not reduce levels of Bcr-Abl, suggesting that the reduction of Bcr-Abl by Jak2 inhibition is a separate event from phosphorylation of Tyr177. Jak2 inhibition by chemical inhibitors (TG101209/WP1193) and Jak2 knockdown diminished the activation of Ras, PI-3 kinase pathways and reduced levels of pTyrSTAT5. These findings suggest that Bcr-Abl stability and oncogenic signaling in CML cells are under the control of Jak2.
Project description:Here we report the discovery of ON044580, an ?-benzoyl styryl benzyl sulfide that possesses potent inhibitory activity against two unrelated kinases, JAK2 and BCR-ABL, and exhibits cytotoxicity to human tumor cells derived from chronic myelogenous leukemia (CML) and myelodysplasia (MDS) patients or cells harboring a mutant JAK2 kinase. This novel spectrum of activity is explained by the non-ATP-competitive inhibition of JAK2 and BCR-ABL kinases. ON044580 inhibits mutant JAK2 kinase and the proliferation of JAK2(V617F)-positive leukemic cells and blocks the IL-3-mediated phosphorylation of JAK2 and STAT5. Interestingly, this compound also directly inhibits the kinase activity of both wild-type and imatinib-resistant (T315I) forms of the BCR-ABL kinase. Finally, ON044580 effectively induces apoptosis of imatinib-resistant CML patient cells. The apparently unrelated JAK2 and BCR-ABL kinases share a common substrate, STAT5, and such substrate competitive inhibitors represent an alternative therapeutic strategy for development of new inhibitors. The novel mechanism of kinase inhibition exhibited by ON044580 renders it effective against mutant forms of kinases such as the BCR-ABL(T315I) and JAK2(V617F). Importantly, ON044580 selectively reduces the number of aneuploid cells in primary bone marrow samples from monosomy 7 MDS patients, suggesting another regulatory cascade amenable to this agent in these aberrant cells. Data presented suggest that this compound could have multiple therapeutic applications including monosomy 7 MDS, imatinib-resistant CML, and myeloproliferative neoplasms that develop resistance to ATP-competitive agents.