- Targeting the oligomerization of BCR/ABL by membrane permeable competitive peptides inhibits the proliferation of Philadelphia Chromosome positive leukemic cells (2011)
- The BCR/ABL fusion protein is the hallmark of Philadelphia Chromosome positive (Ph+) leukemia. The constitutive activation of the ABL-kinase in BCR/ABL cells induces the leukemic phenotype. Targeted inhibition of BCR/ABL by small molecule inhibitors reverses the transformation potential of BCR/ABL. Recently, we definitively proved that targeting the tetramerization of BCR/ABL mediated by the N-terminal coiled-coil domain (CC) using competitive peptides, representing the helix-2 of the CC, represents a valid therapeutic approach for treating Ph+ leukemia. To further develop competitive peptides for targeting BCR/ABL, we created a membrane permeable helix-2 peptide (MPH-2) by fusing the helix-2 peptide with a peptide transduction tag. In this study, we report that the MPH-2: (i) interacted with BCR/ABL in vivo; (ii) efficiently inhibited the autophosphorylation of BCR/ABL; (iii) suppressed the growth and viability of Ph+ leukemic cells; and (iv) was efficiently transduced into mononuclear cells (MNC) in an in vivo mouse model. This study provides the first evidence that an efficient peptide transduction system facilitates the employment of competitive peptides to target the oligomerization interface of BCR/ABL in vivo.
- Reciprocal t(9;22) ABL/BCR fusion proteins: leukemogenic potential and effects on B cell commitment (2009)
- Background: t(9;22) is a balanced translocation, and the chromosome 22 breakpoints (Philadelphia chromosome – Ph+) determine formation of different fusion genes that are associated with either Ph+ acute lymphatic leukemia (Ph+ ALL) or chronic myeloid leukemia (CML). The "minor" breakpoint in Ph+ ALL encodes p185BCR/ABL from der22 and p96ABL/BCR from der9. The "major" breakpoint in CML encodes p210BCR/ABL and p40ABL/BCR. Herein, we investigated the leukemogenic potential of the der9-associated p96ABL/BCR and p40ABL/BCR fusion proteins and their roles in the lineage commitment of hematopoietic stem cells in comparison to BCR/ABL. Methodology: All t(9;22) derived proteins were retrovirally expressed in murine hematopoietic stem cells (SL cells) and human umbilical cord blood cells (UCBC). Stem cell potential was determined by replating efficiency, colony forming - spleen and competitive repopulating assays. The leukemic potential of the ABL/BCR fusion proteins was assessed by in a transduction/transplantation model. Effects on the lineage commitment and differentiation were investigated by culturing the cells under conditions driving either myeloid or lymphoid commitment. Expression of key factors of the B-cell differentiation and components of the preB-cell receptor were determined by qRT-PCR. Principal Findings: Both p96ABL/BCR and p40ABL/BCR increased proliferation of early progenitors and the short term stem cell capacity of SL-cells and exhibited own leukemogenic potential. Interestingly, BCR/ABL gave origin exclusively to a myeloid phenotype independently from the culture conditions whereas p96ABL/BCR and to a minor extent p40ABL/BCR forced the B-cell commitment of SL-cells and UCBC. Conclusions/Significance: Our here presented data establish the reciprocal ABL/BCR fusion proteins as second oncogenes encoded by the t(9;22) in addition to BCR/ABL and suggest that ABL/BCR contribute to the determination of the leukemic phenotype through their influence on the lineage commitment.
- Sulindac sulfide reverses aberrant self-renewal of progenitor cells induced by the AML-associated fusion proteins PML/RARalpha and PLZF/RARalpha (2011)
- Chromosomal translocations can lead to the formation of chimeric genes encoding fusion proteins such as PML/RARalpha, PLZF/RARalpha, and AML-1/ETO, which are able to induce and maintain acute myeloid leukemia (AML). One key mechanism in leukemogenesis is increased self renewal of leukemic stem cells via aberrant activation of the Wnt signaling pathway. Either X-RAR, PML/RARalpha and PLZF/RARalpha or AML-1/ETO activate Wnt signaling by upregulating gamma-catenin and beta-catenin. In a prospective study, a lower risk of leukemia was observed with aspirin use, which is consistent with numerous studies reporting an inverse association of aspirin with other cancers. Furthermore, a reduction in leukemia risk was associated with use of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID), where the effects on AML risk was FAB subtype-specific. To better investigate whether NSAID treatment is effective, we used Sulindac Sulfide in X-RARalpha-positive progenitor cell models. Sulindac Sulfide (SSi) is a derivative of Sulindac, a NSAID known to inactivate Wnt signaling. We found that SSi downregulated both beta-catenin and gamma-catenin in X-RARalpha-expressing cells and reversed the leukemic phenotype by reducing stem cell capacity and increasing differentiation potential in X-RARalpha-positive HSCs. The data presented herein show that SSi inhibits the leukemic cell growth as well as hematopoietic progenitors cells (HPCs) expressing PML/RARalpha, and it indicates that Sulindac is a valid molecular therapeutic approach that should be further validated using in vivo leukemia models and in clinical settings.