Cholesterol esterification inhibition and imatinib treatment synergistically inhibit growth of BCR-ABL mutation-independent resistant chronic myelogenous leukemia.
ABSTRACT: Since the advent of tyrosine kinase inhibitors (TKIs) such as imatinib, nilotinib, and dasatinib, chronic myelogenous leukemia (CML) prognosis has improved greatly. However, ~30-40% of patients develop resistance to imatinib therapy. Although most resistance is caused by mutations in the BCR-ABL kinase domain, 50-85% of these patients develop resistance in the absence of new mutations. In these cases, targeting other pathways may be needed to regain clinical response. Using label-free Raman spectromicroscopy, we evaluated a number of leukemia cell lines and discovered an aberrant accumulation of cholesteryl ester (CE) in CML, which was found to be a result of BCR-ABL kinase activity. CE accumulation in CML was found to be a cancer-specific phenomenon as untransformed cells did not accumulate CE. Blocking cholesterol esterification with avasimibe, a potent inhibitor of acyl-CoA cholesterol acyltransferase 1 (ACAT-1), significantly suppressed CML cell proliferation in Ba/F3 cells with the BCR-ABLT315I mutation and in K562 cells rendered imatinib resistant without mutations in the BCR-ABL kinase domain (K562R cells). Furthermore, the combination of avasimibe and imatinib caused a profound synergistic inhibition of cell proliferation in K562R cells, but not in Ba/F3T315I. This synergistic effect was confirmed in a K562R xenograft mouse model. Analysis of primary cells from a BCR-ABL mutation-independent imatinib resistant patient by mass cytometry suggested that the synergy may be due to downregulation of the MAPK pathway by avasimibe, which sensitized the CML cells to imatinib treatment. Collectively, these data demonstrate a novel strategy for overcoming BCR-ABL mutation-independent TKI resistance in CML.
Project description:Chronic myeloid leukemia (CML) is characterized by constitutively active fusion protein tyrosine kinase BCR-ABL. Although the tyrosine kinase inhibitor (TKI) against BCR-ABL, imatinib, is the first-line therapy for CML, acquired resistance almost inevitably emerges. The underlying mechanism are point mutations within the BCR-ABL gene, among which T315I is notorious because it resists to almost all currently available inhibitors. Here we took use of a previously generated chimeric ubiquitin ligase, SH2-U-box, in which SH2 from the adaptor protein Grb2 acts as a binding domain for activated BCR-ABL, while U-box from CHIP functions as an E3 ubiquitin ligase domain, so as to target the ubiquitination and degradation of both native and T315I-mutant BCR-ABL. As such, SH2-U-box significantly inhibited proliferation and induced apoptosis in CML cells harboring either the wild-type or T315I-mutant BCR-ABL (K562 or K562R), with BCR-ABL-dependent signaling pathways being repressed. Moreover, SH2-U-box worked in concert with imatinib in K562 cells. Importantly, SH2-U-box-carrying lentivirus could markedly suppress the growth of K562-xenografts in nude mice or K562R-xenografts in SCID mice, as well as that of primary CML cells. Collectively, by degrading the native and T315I-mutant BCR-ABL, the chimeric ubiquitin ligase SH2-U-box may serve as a potential therapy for both imatinib-sensitive and resistant CML.
Project description:Despite the success of imatinib and other tyrosine kinase inhibitors (TKIs), chronic myeloid leukemia (CML) remains largely incurable, and a number of CML patients die due to Abl mutation-related drug resistance and blast crisis. The aim of this study was to evaluate proliferation inhibition and apoptosis induction by down-regulating PPP2R5C gene expression in the imatinib-sensitive and imatinib-resistant CML cell lines K562, K562R (imatinib resistant without an Abl gene mutation), 32D-Bcr-Abl WT (imatinib-sensitive murine CML cell line with a wild type Abl gene) and 32D-Bcr-Abl T315I (imatinib resistant with a T315I Abl gene mutation) and primary cells from CML patients by RNA interference. PPP2R5C siRNAs numbered 799 and 991 were obtained by chemosynthesis. Non-silencing siRNA scrambled control (SC)-treated, mock-transfected, and untreated cells were used as controls. The PPP2R5C mRNA and protein expression levels in treated CML cells were analyzed by quantitative real-time PCR and Western blotting, and in vitro cell proliferation was assayed with the cell counting kit-8 method. The morphology and percentage of apoptosis were revealed by Hoechst 33258 staining and flow cytometry (FCM). The results demonstrated that both siRNAs had the best silencing results after nucleofection in all four cell lines and primary cells. A reduction in PPP2R5C mRNA and protein levels was observed in the treated cells. The proliferation rate of the PPP2R5C-siRNA-treated CML cell lines was significantly decreased at 72 h, and apoptosis was significantly increased. Significantly higher proliferation inhibition and apoptosis induction were found in K562R cells treated with PPP2R5C-siRNA799 than K562 cells. In conclusion, the suppression of PPP2R5C by RNA interference could inhibit proliferation and effectively induce apoptosis in CML cells that were either imatinib sensitive or resistant. Down-regulating PPP2R5C gene expression might be considered as a new therapeutic target strategy for CML, particularly for imatinib-resistant CML.
Project description:The Bcr-Abl kinase inhibitor imatinib is remarkably effective in chronic myelogenous leukemia (CML), although drug resistance is an emerging problem. Myeloid Src family kinases such as Hck and Lyn are often overexpressed in imatinib-resistant CML cells that lack Bcr-Abl mutations. Here we tested whether Hck overexpression is sufficient to induce imatinib resistance using both wild-type Hck and a mutant (Hck-T338A) that is uniquely sensitive to the pyrazolo-pyrimidine inhibitor, NaPP1. Expression of either kinase in K562 CML cells caused resistance to imatinib-induced apoptosis and inhibition of soft-agar colony formation. Treatment with NaPP1 restored sensitivity to imatinib in cells expressing T338A but not wild-type Hck, demonstrating that resistance requires Hck kinase activity. NaPP1 also reduced Hck-mediated phosphorylation of Bcr-Abl at sites that may affect imatinib sensitivity exclusively in cells expressing Hck-T338A. These data show that elevated Src family kinase activity is sufficient to induce imatinib resistance through a mechanism that may involve phosphorylation of Bcr-Abl.
Project description:BACKGROUND: BCR-ABL kinase domain mutations are infrequently detected in newly diagnosed chronic-phase chronic myeloid leukemia (CML) patients. Recent studies indicate the presence of pre-existing BCR-ABL mutations in a higher percentage of CML patients when CD34+ stem/progenitor cells are investigated using sensitive techniques, and these mutations are associated with imatinib resistance and disease progression. However, such studies were limited to smaller number of patients. METHODS: We investigated BCR-ABL kinase domain mutations in CD34+ cells from 100 chronic-phase CML patients by multiplex allele-specific PCR and sequencing at diagnosis. Mutations were re-investigated upon manifestation of imatinib resistance using allele-specific PCR and direct sequencing of BCR-ABL kinase domain. RESULTS: Pre-existing BCR-ABL mutations were detected in 32/100 patients and included F311L, M351T, and T315I. After a median follow-up of 30 months (range 8-48), all patients with pre-existing BCR-ABL mutations exhibited imatinib resistance. Of the 68 patients without pre-existing BCR-ABL mutations, 24 developed imatinib resistance; allele-specific PCR and BCR-ABL kinase domain sequencing detected mutations in 22 of these patients. All 32 patients with pre-existing BCR-ABL mutations had the same mutations after manifestation of imatinib-resistance. In imatinib-resistant patients without pre-existing BCR-ABL mutations, we detected F311L, M351T, Y253F, and T315I mutations. All imatinib-resistant patients except T315I and Y253F mutations responded to imatinib dose escalation. CONCLUSION: Pre-existing BCR-ABL mutations can be detected in a substantial number of chronic-phase CML patients by sensitive allele-specific PCR technique using CD34+ cells. These mutations are associated with imatinib resistance if affecting drug binding directly or indirectly. After the recent approval of nilotinib, dasatinib, bosutinib and ponatinib for treatment of chronic myeloid leukemia along with imatinib, all of which vary in their effectiveness against mutated BCR-ABL forms, detection of pre-existing BCR-ABL mutations can help in selection of appropriate first-line drug therapy. Thus, mutation testing using CD34+ cells may facilitate improved, patient-tailored treatment.
Project description:BACKGROUND: Chronic myelogenous leukemia (CML) is characterized by the chimeric tyrosine kinase Bcr-Abl. Bcr-Abl-T315I is the notorious point mutation that causes resistance to imatinib and the second generation tyrosine kinase inhibitors, leading to poor prognosis. CML blasts have constitutive p65 (RelA NF-kappaB) transcriptional activity, and NF-kappaB may be a potential target for molecular therapies in CML that may also be effective against CML cells with Bcr-Abl-T315I. RESULTS: In this report, we discovered that pristimerin, a quinonemethide triterpenoid isolated from Celastraceae and Hippocrateaceae, inhibited growth and induced apoptosis in CML cells, including the cells harboring Bcr-Abl-T315I mutation. Additionally, pristimerin inhibited the growth of imatinib-resistant Bcr-Abl-T315I xenografts in nude mice. Pristimerin blocked the TNFalpha-induced IkappaBalpha phosphorylation, translocation of p65, and expression of NF-kappaB-regulated genes. Pristimerin inhibited two steps in NF-kappaB signaling: TAK1TauIKK and IKKTauIkappaBalpha. Pristimerin potently inhibited two pairs of CML cell lines (KBM5 versus KBM5-T315I, 32D-Bcr-Abl versus 32D-Bcr-Abl-T315I) and primary cells from a CML patient with acquired resistance to imatinib. The mRNA and protein levels of Bcr-Abl in imatinib-sensitive (KBM5) or imatinib-resistant (KBM5-T315I) CML cells were reduced after pristimerin treatment. Further, inactivation of Bcr-Abl by imatinib pretreatment did not abrogate the TNFalpha-induced NF-kappaB activation while silencing p65 by siRNA did not affect the levels of Bcr-Abl, both results together indicating that NF-kappaB inactivation and Bcr-Abl inhibition may be parallel independent pathways. CONCLUSION: To our knowledge, this is the first report to show that pristimerin is effective in vitro and in vivo against CML cells, including those with the T315I mutation. The mechanisms may involve inhibition of NF-kappaB and Bcr-Abl. We concluded that pristimerin could be a lead compound for further drug development to overcome imatinib resistance in CML patients.
Project description:Chronic myelogenous leukemia (CML) is characterized by the constitutive activation of Bcr-Abl tyrosine kinase. Bcr-Abl-T315I is the predominant mutation that causes resistance to imatinib, cytotoxic drugs, and the second-generation tyrosine kinase inhibitors. The emergence of imatinib resistance in patients with CML leads to searching for novel approaches to the treatment of CML. Gambogic acid, a small molecule derived from Chinese herb gamboges, has been approved for phase II clinical trial for cancer therapy by the Chinese Food and Drug Administration (FDA). In this study, we investigated the effect of gambogic acid on cell survival or apoptosis in CML cells bearing Bcr-Abl-T315I or wild-type Bcr-Abl.CML cell lines (KBM5, KBM5-T315I, and K562), primary cells from patients with CML with clinical resistance to imatinib, and normal monocytes from healthy volunteers were treated with gambogic acid, imatinib, or their combination, followed by measuring the effects on cell growth, apoptosis, and signal pathways. The in vivo antitumor activity of gambogic acid and its combination with imatinib was also assessed with nude xenografts.Gambogic acid induced apoptosis and cell proliferation inhibition in CML cells and inhibited the growth of imatinib-resistant Bcr-Abl-T315I xenografts in nude mice. Our data suggest that GA-induced proteasome inhibition is required for caspase activation in both imatinib-resistant and -sensitive CML cells, and caspase activation is required for gambogic acid-induced Bcr-Abl downregulation and apoptotic cell death.These findings suggest an alternative strategy to overcome imatinib resistance by enhancing Bcr-Abl downregulation with the medicinal compound gambogic acid, which may have great clinical significance in imatinib-resistant cancer therapy.
Project description:Serine/threonine kinase Aurora A is essential for regulating mammalian cell division and is overexpressed in many types of human cancer. However, the role of Aurora A in chemoresistance of chronic myelogenous leukemia (CML) is not well understood. Using the KCL-22 cell culture model we have recently developed for studying mechanisms of CML acquired resistance, we found that Aurora A expression was partially reduced in these cells upon treatment with the tyrosine kinase inhibitor imatinib, which accompanied the acquisition of BCR-ABL mutation for imatinib resistance. Gene knockdown of BCR-ABL also reduced Aurora A expression, and conversely, Aurora A expression increased in hematopoietic progenitor cells after BCR-ABL expression. Inhibition of Aurora A induced apoptosis of CML cells with or without T315I BCR-ABL mutation and suppressed CML cell growth. Inhibition of Aurora A by gene knockdown or a highly specific small molecule inhibitor sensitized CML cells to imatinib treatment and effectively blocked acquisition of BCR-ABL mutations and KCL-22 cell relapse on imatinib, nilotinib or dasatinib. Our results show that Aurora A plays an important role for facilitating acquisition of BCR-ABL mutation and acquired resistance to tyrosine kinase inhibitors in the culture model and suggest that inhibition of Aurora A may provide an alternative strategy to improve CML treatment to overcome resistance.
Project description:Chronic myeloid leukaemia (CML) is driven by the fusion protein Bcr-Abl, a constitutively active tyrosine kinase playing a crucial role in initiation and maintenance of CML phenotype. Despite the great efficacy of the Bcr-Abl-specific inhibitor imatinib, resistance to this drug is recognized as a major problem in CML treatment. We found that in LAMA84 cells, characterized by imatinib-resistance caused by BCR-ABL1 gene amplification, the pro-survival protein kinase CK2 is up-regulated as compared to the sensitive cells. CK2 exhibits a higher protein-level and a parallel enhancement of catalytic activity. Consistently, CK2-catalysed phosphorylation of Akt-Ser129 is increased. CK2 co-localizes with Bcr-Abl in the cytoplasmic fraction as judged by subcellular fractionation and fluorescence immunolocalization. CK2 and Bcr-Abl are members of the same multi-protein complex(es) in imatinib-resistant cells as demonstrated by co-immunoprecipitation and co-sedimentation in glycerol gradients. Cell treatment with CX-4945, a CK2 inhibitor currently in clinical trials, counteracts CK2/Bcr-Abl interaction and causes cell death by apoptosis. Interestingly, combination of CX-4945 with imatinib displays a synergistic effect in reducing cell viability. Consistently, knockdown of CK2α expression by siRNA restores the sensitivity of resistant LAMA84 cells to low imatinib concentrations. Remarkably, the CK2/Bcr-Abl interaction and the sensitization towards imatinib obtained by CK2-inhibition in LAMA84 is observable also in other imatinib-resistant CML cell lines. These results demonstrate that CK2 contributes to strengthen the imatinib-resistance phenotype of CML cells conferring survival advantage against imatinib. We suggest that CK2 inhibition might be a promising tool for combined strategies in CML therapy.
Project description:Constitutive activation of tyrosine kinase Bcr-Abl is the leading cause of the development and progression of chronic myeloid leukemia (CML). Currently, the application of tyrosine kinase inhibitors (TKIs) targeting the Bcr-Abl is the primary therapy for CML patients. However, acquired resistance to TKIs that develops overtime in the long-term administration renders TKIs ineffective to patients with advanced CML. Therefore, increasing studies focus on the amplified expression or activation of Bcr-Abl which is proposed to contribute to the advanced phase. Here, we show that S-phase kinase-associated protein 2 (SKP2) acts as a co-regulator of Bcr-Abl by mediating its K63-linked ubiquitination and activation. Further investigations show that USP10 as a novel deubiquitinase of SKP2 amplifies the activation of Bcr-Abl via mediating deubiquitination and stabilization of SKP2 in CML cells. Moreover, inhibition of USP10 significantly suppresses the proliferation of both imatinib-sensitive and imatinib-resistant CML cells, which likely depends on SKP2 status. This findings are confirmed in primary CML cells because these cells are over-expressed with USP10 and SKP2 and are sensitive to a USP10 inhibitor. Taken together, the present study not only provides a novel insight into the amplified activation of Bcr-Abl in CML, but also demonstrates that targeting the USP10/SKP2/Bcr-Abl axis is a potential strategy to overcome imatinib resistance in CML patients.
Project description:The tyrosine kinase inhibitor imatinib is highly effective in the treatment of chronic myelogenous leukemia (CML), but primary and acquired resistance of CML cells to the drug offset its efficacy. Molecular mechanisms for resistance of CML to tyrosine kinase inhibitors are not fully understood. In the present study, we show that BCR-ABL activates the expression of the mammalian stress response gene SIRT1 in hematopoietic progenitor cells and that this involves STAT5 signaling. SIRT1 activation promotes CML cell survival and proliferation associated with deacetylation of multiple SIRT1 substrates, including FOXO1, p53, and Ku70. Imatinib-mediated inhibition of BCR-ABL kinase activity partially reduces SIRT1 expression and SIRT1 inhibition further sensitizes CML cells to imatinib-induced apoptosis. Knockout of SIRT1 suppresses BCR-ABL transformation of mouse BM cells and the development of a CML-like myeloproliferative disease, and treatment of mice with the SIRT1 inhibitor tenovin-6 deters disease progression. The combination of SIRT1 gene knockout and imatinib treatment further extends the survival of CML mice. Our results suggest that SIRT1 is a novel survival pathway activated by BCR-ABL expression in hematopoietic progenitor cells, which promotes oncogenic transformation and leukemogenesis. Our findings suggest further exploration of SIRT1 as a therapeutic target for CML treatment to overcome resistance.