Overexpression of Tpl2 is linked to imatinib resistance and activation of MEK-ERK and NF-?B pathways in a model of chronic myeloid leukemia.
ABSTRACT: The introduction of tyrosine kinase inhibitors (TKI) has transformed chronic myeloid leukemia (CML) into a chronic disease with long-term survival exceeding 85%. However, resistance of CML stem cells to TKI may contribute to the 50% relapse rate observed after TKI discontinuation in molecular remission. We previously described a model of resistance to imatinib mesylate (IM), in which K562 cells cultured in high concentrations of imatinib mesylate showed reduced Bcr-Abl1 protein and activity levels while maintaining proliferative potential. Using quantitative phosphoproteomic analysis of these IM-resistant cells, we have now identified significant upregulation of tumor progression locus (Tpl2), also known as cancer Osaka thyroid (COT1) kinase or Map3k8. Overexpression of Tpl2 in IM-resistant cells was accompanied by elevated activities of Src family kinases (SFKs) and NF-?B, MEK-ERK signaling. CD34+ cells isolated from the bone marrow of patients with CML and exposed to IMin vitro showed increased MAP3K8 transcript levels. Dasatinib (SFK inhibitor), U0126 (MEK inhibitor), and PS-1145 (I?B kinase (IKK) inhibitor) used in combination resulted in elimination of 65% of IM-resistant cells and reduction in the colony-forming capacity of CML CD34+ cells in methylcellulose assays by 80%. In addition, CML CD34+ cells cultured with the combination of inhibitors showed reduced MAP3K8 transcript levels. Overall, our data indicate that elevated Tpl2 protein and transcript levels are associated with resistance to IM and that combined inhibition of SFK, MEK, and NF-?B signaling attenuates the survival of IM-resistant CML cells and CML CD34+ cells. Therefore, combination of SFK, MEK, and NF-?B inhibitors may offer a new therapeutic approach to overcome TKI resistance in CML patients.
Project description:Imatinib Mesylate (IM) and other tyrosine kinase inhibitor (TKI) therapies have had a major impact on the treatment of chronic myeloid leukemia (CML). However, TKI monotherapy is not curative, with relapse and persistence of leukemic stem cells (LSCs) remaining a challenge. We have recently identified an AHI-1-BCR-ABL-JAK2 protein complex that contributes to the transforming activity of BCR-ABL and IM-resistance in CML stem/progenitor cells. JAK2 thus emerges as an attractive target for improved therapies, but off-target effects of newly developed JAK2 inhibitors on normal hematopoietic cells remain a concern. We have examined the biological effects of a highly selective, orally bioavailable JAK2 inhibitor, BMS-911543, in combination with TKIs on CD34+ treatment-naïve IM-nonresponder cells. Combination therapy reduces JAK2/STAT5 and CRKL activities, induces apoptosis, inhibits proliferation and colony growth, and eliminates CML LSCs in vitro. Importantly, BMS-911543 selectively targets CML stem/progenitor cells while sparing healthy stem/progenitor cells. Oral BMS-911543 combined with the potent TKI dasatinib more effectively eliminates infiltrated leukemic cells in hematopoietic tissues than TKI monotherapy and enhances survival of leukemic mice. Dual targeting BCR-ABL and JAK2 activities in CML stem/progenitor cells may consequently lead to more effective disease eradication, especially in patients at high risk of TKI resistance and disease progression.
Project description:The development of Imatinib mesylate (IM), which targets the oncogenic BCR-ABL fusion protein, has greatly improved the outcome of Chronic Myeloid Leukemia (CML) patients. However, BCR-ABL-positive progenitors can be detected in CML patients in complete cytogenetic response. Several evidence suggests that CML stem cells are intrinsically resistant to Tyrosine Kinase Inhibitors (TKI), and therefore they represent the most likely candidate responsible for disease relapse.In this work, we investigated the microRNA (miRNA) expression profile of different subpopulations of CML Leukemic Stem Cells (LSCs): Lin-CD34+CD38- and Lin-CD34-CD38- cells. These cell fractions have been previously shown to be endowed with TKI intrinsic resistance. Our analysis identified 33 common deregulated miRNAs in CML LSCs. Among those, 8 miRNAs were deregulated in CML independently from BCR-ABL kinase activity and therefore are likely to be involved in the BCR-ABL-independent resistance to TKI that characterizes CML LSCs. In particular, the up-regulation of miR-29a-3p and miR-660-5p observed in CML LSCs, led to the down-regulation of their respective targets TET2 and EPAS1 and conferred TKI-resistance to CML LSCs in vitro. On the other hand, miR-494-3p down-regulation in CML LSCs, leading to c-MYC up-regulation, was able to decrease TKI-induced apoptosis. These results demonstrate that aberrant miRNA expression in CML LSCs could contribute to the intrinsic TKI-resistance observed in these cell populations, and support the development of novel therapies aimed at targeting aberrantly regulated miRNAs or their targets in order to effectively eradicate CML LSCs.
Project description:Imatinib mesylate (IM) induces clinical remissions in chronic-phase chronic myeloid leukemia (CML) patients but IM resistance remains a problem. We recently identified several features of CML CD34(+) stem/progenitor cells expected to confer resistance to BCR-ABL-targeted therapeutics. From a study of 25 initially chronic-phase patients, we now demonstrate that some, but not all, of these parameters correlate with subsequent clinical response to IM therapy. CD34(+) cells from the 14 IM nonresponders demonstrated greater resistance to IM than the 11 IM responders in colony-forming cell assays in vitro (P < .001) and direct sequencing of cloned transcripts from CD34(+) cells further revealed a higher incidence of BCR-ABL kinase domain mutations in the IM nonresponders (10%-40% vs 0%-20% in IM responders, P < .003). In contrast, CD34(+) cells from IM nonresponders and IM responders were not distinguished by differences in BCR-ABL or transporter gene expression. Interestingly, one BCR-ABL mutation (V304D), predicted to destabilize the interaction between p210(BCR-ABL) and IM, was detectable in 14 of 20 patients. T315I mutant CD34(+) cells found before IM treatment in 2 of 20 patients examined were preferentially amplified after IM treatment. Thus, 2 properties of pretreatment CML stem/progenitor cells correlate with subsequent response to IM therapy. Prospective assessment of these properties may allow improved patient management.
Project description:Resistance to the BCR-ABL inhibitor imatinib mesylate (IM) poses a major problem for the treatment of chronic myeloid leukemia (CML). IM resistance often results from a secondary mutation in BCR-ABL that interferes with drug binding. However, in many instances, there is no mutation in BCR-ABL, and the basis of such BCR-ABL-independent IM resistance remains to be elucidated. To gain insight into BCR-ABL-independent IM resistance mechanisms, we performed a large-scale RNA interference screen and identified IM-sensitizing genes (IMSGs) whose knockdown renders BCR-ABL(+) cells IM-resistant. In these IMSG knockdown cells, RAF/mitogen-activated protein kinase kinase (MEK)/extracellular signal-regulated kinase (ERK) signaling is sustained after IM treatment because of up-regulation of PRKCH, which encodes the protein kinase C (PKC) family member PKC?, an activator of CRAF. PRKCH is also up-regulated in samples from CML patients with BCR-ABL-independent IM resistance. Combined treatment with IM and trametinib, a U.S. Food and Drug Administration-approved MEK inhibitor, synergistically kills BCR-ABL(+) IMSG knockdown cells and prolongs survival in mouse models of BCR-ABL-independent IM-resistant CML. Finally, we showed that CML stem cells contain high levels of PRKCH, and this contributes to their intrinsic IM resistance. Combined treatment with IM and trametinib synergistically kills CML stem cells with negligible effect on normal hematopoietic stem cells. Collectively, our results identify a therapeutically targetable mechanism of BCR-ABL-independent IM resistance in CML and CML stem cells.
Project description:Chronic myeloid leukemia (CML) treatment has been improved by tyrosine kinase inhibitors (TKIs) such as imatinib mesylate (IM) but various factors can cause TKI resistance in patients with CML. One factor which contributes to TKI resistance is a germline intronic deletion polymorphism in the BCL2-like 11 (BIM) gene which impairs the expression of pro-apoptotic splice isoforms of BIM. SB939 (pracinostat) is a hydroxamic acid based HDAC inhibitor with favorable pharmacokinetic, physicochemical and pharmaceutical properties, and we investigated if this drug could overcome BIM deletion polymorphism-induced TKI resistance. We found that SB939 corrects BIM pre-mRNA splicing in CML cells with the BIM deletion polymorphism, and induces apoptotic cell death in CML cell lines and primary cells with the BIM deletion polymorphism. More importantly, SB939 both decreases the viability of CML cell lines and primary CML progenitors with the BIM deletion and restores TKI-sensitivity. Our results demonstrate that SB939 overcomes BIM deletion polymorphism-induced TKI resistance, and suggest that SB939 may be useful in treating CML patients with BIM deletion-associated TKI resistance.
Project description:Imatinib mesylate (IM), a potent inhibitor of the BCR/ABL tyrosine kinase, has become standard first-line therapy for patients with chronic myeloid leukemia (CML), but the frequency of resistance increases in advancing stages of disease. Elimination of BCR/ABL-dependent intracellular signals triggers apoptosis, but it is unclear whether this activates additional cell survival and/or death pathways. We have shown here that IM induces autophagy in CML blast crisis cell lines, CML primary cells, and p210BCR/ABL-expressing myeloid precursor cells. IM-induced autophagy did not involve c-Abl or Bcl-2 activity but was associated with ER stress and was suppressed by depletion of intracellular Ca2+, suggesting it is mechanistically nonoverlapping with IM-induced apoptosis. We further demonstrated that suppression of autophagy using either pharmacological inhibitors or RNA interference of essential autophagy genes enhanced cell death induced by IM in cell lines and primary CML cells. Critically, the combination of a tyrosine kinase inhibitor (TKI), i.e., IM, nilotinib, or dasatinib, with inhibitors of autophagy resulted in near complete elimination of phenotypically and functionally defined CML stem cells. Together, these findings suggest that autophagy inhibitors may enhance the therapeutic effects of TKIs in the treatment of CML.
Project description:Signal transducers and activators of transcription 5A and 5B (STAT5A and STAT5B) are crucial downstream effectors of tyrosine kinase oncogenes (TKO) such as BCR-ABL in chronic myeloid leukemia (CML) and FLT3-ITD in acute myeloid leukemia (AML). Both proteins have been shown to promote the resistance of CML cells to tyrosine kinase inhibitors (TKI) such as imatinib mesylate (IM). We recently synthesized and discovered a new inhibitor (17f) with promising antileukemic activity. 17f selectively inhibits STAT5 signaling in CML and AML cells by interfering with the phosphorylation and transcriptional activity of these proteins. In this study, the effects of 17f were evaluated on CML and AML cell lines that respectively acquired resistance to IM and cytarabine (Ara-C), a conventional therapeutic agent used in AML treatment. We showed that 17f strongly inhibits the growth and survival of resistant CML and AML cells when associated with IM or Ara-C. We also obtained evidence that 17f inhibits STAT5B but not STAT5A protein expression in resistant CML and AML cells. Furthermore, we demonstrated that 17f also targets oncogenic STAT5B N642H mutant in transformed hematopoietic cells.
Project description:Despite the success of tyrosine kinase inhibitor (TKI) therapy in chronic myelogenous leukemia (CML), leukemic stem/progenitor cells remain detectable even in the state of deep molecular remission. Mechanisms that allow them to persist despite continued kinase inhibition remain unclear. We have previously shown that prolonged exposure to imatinib mesylate (IM) results in dysregulation of Akt/Erk 1/2 signaling, upregulation of miR-181a, enhanced adhesiveness, and resistance to high IM. To characterize the molecular basis and reversibility of those effects, we applied gene and protein expression analysis, quantitative phosphoproteomics, and direct miR-181a inhibition to our cellular model of CML cells subjected to prolonged exposure to IM. Those cells demonstrated upregulation of pluripotency markers (SOX2, SALL4) and adhesion receptors (CD44, VLA-4, CXCR4), as well as downregulation of Hippo signaling and upregulation of transcription coactivator YAP. Furthermore, inhibition of miR-181a using a microRNA sponge inhibitor resulted in decreased transcription of SOX2 and SALL4, decreased activation of YAP, and increased sensitivity to IM. Our findings indicate that long-term exposure to IM results in dysregulation of stem cell renewal-regulatory Hippo/YAP signaling, acquisition of expression of stem cell markers and that experimental interference with YAP activity may help to restore chemosensitivity to TKI.
Project description:Patients with chronic myeloid leukemia (CML) are commonly treated with a specific inhibitor of BCR-ABL tyrosine kinase, imatinib mesylate (IM). Unfortunately, CML patients develop IM-resistance, which has emerged as a significant clinical problem. Somatic mutations, especially T315I mutation, in BCR-ABL kinase domain represent the most common mechanism underlying drug resistance to tyrosine kinase inhibitors (TKI), including imatinib. Thus, it is urgent to develop novel therapeutic strategies to overcome TKI-resistance. The anti-rheumatic gold (I) compound Auranofin (AF), was recently approved by US Food and Drug Administration for Phase II clinical trials to treat leukemia. In a recent study, we discovered that AF can selectively inhibit 19S proteasome-associated deubiquitinases (UCHL5 and USP14), which mediates its anticancer effects. More recently studies we have shown that AF inhibits the growth of both Bcr-Abl wild-type cells and IM-resistant Bcr-Abl-T315I mutation cells in vitro and in vivo. AF-induced Bcr-Abl down regulation is associated with diminished mRNA expression and caspase-dependent Bcr-Abl cleavage. More importantly, we unraveled that AF cytotoxicity is mediated by proteasome inhibition rather than previously suspected reactive oxygen species (ROS) generation. These findings support that AF overcomes IM-resistance through Bcr/Abl-dependent and -independent mechanisms, identifying a potentially new strategy for cancer treatment.
Project description:AXL is a receptor tyrosine kinase of the TAM family, the function of which is poorly understood. We previously identified AXL overexpression in Imatinib (IM)-resistant CML cell lines and patients. The present study was conducted to investigate the role of AXL and the mechanisms underlying AXL overexpression in Tyrosine Kinase Inhibitor (TKI)-resistant CML cells. We present evidence that high AXL expression level is a feature of TKI-resistant CML cells and knockdown of AXL sensitized TKI-resistant cells to IM. In addition, expression of wild-type AXL but not a dominant negative form of AXL confers IM-sensitive CML cells the capacity to resist IM effect. AXL overexpression required PKC? and ? and constitutive activation of ERK1/2. Accordingly, GF109203X a PKC inhibitor, U0126 a MEK1 inhibitor and PKC?/? knockdown restore sensitivity to IM while PKC? or PKC? overexpression in CML cells promotes protection against IM-induced cell death. Finally, using luciferase promoter activity assays we established that AXL is regulated transcriptionally through the AP1 transcription factor. Our findings reveal an unexpected role of AXL in resistance to TKI in CML cells, identify the molecular mechanisms involved in its overexpression and support the notion that AXL is a new marker of resistance to TKI in CML.