- Novel approaches of molecular targeting in Philadelphia chromosome positive leukemia (2009)
- In Philadelphia Chromosome (Ph) positive ALL and CML the fusion between BCR and ABL leads to the BCR/ABL fusion proteins, which induces the leukemic phenotype because of the constitutive activation of multiple signaling pathways down-stream to the aberrant BCR/ABL fusion tyrosine kinase. Targeted inhibition of BCR/ABL by ABL-kinase inhibitors induces apoptosis in BCR/ABL transformed cells and leads to complete remission in Ph positive leukemia patients. However, a large portion of patients with advanced Ph+ leukemia relapse and acquire resistance. Kinase domain (KD) mutations interfering with inhibitor binding represent the major mechanism of acquired resistance in patients with Ph+ leukemia. Tetramerization of BCR/ABL through the N-terminal coiled-coil region (CC) of BCR is essential for the ABL-kinase activation. Targeting the CC-domain forces BCR/ABL into a monomeric conformation, reduces its kinase activity and increases the sensitivity for Imatinib. Here we show that i.) targeting the tetramerization by a peptide representing the Helix-2 of the CC efficiently reduced the autophosphorylation of both WT BCR/ABL and its mutants; ii.) Helix-2 inhibited the transformation potential of BCR/ABL independently of the presence of mutations; iii.) Helix-2 efficiently cooperated with Imatinib as revealed by their effects on the transformation potential and the factor-independence related to BCR/ABL with the exception of mutant T315I. These findings suggest that BCR/ABL harboring the T315I mutation have a transformation potential which is at least partially independent from its kinase activity. Targeted inhibition of BCR/ABL by small molecule inhibitors reverses the transformation potential of BCR/ABL. 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. The T315I mutation confers resistance against all actually approved ABL-kinase inhibitors and competitive peptides. It seems not only to decrease affinity for kinase inhibitors but to confer additional features to the leukemogenic potential of BCR/ABL. To determine the role of T315I in resistance to the inhibition of oligomerization and in the leukemogenic potential of BCR/ABL, we investigated its influence on loss-of-function mutants with regard to the capacity to mediate factor-independence. Thus we studied the effects of T315I on BCR/ABL mutants lacking functional domains in the BCR portion indispensable for the oncogenic activity of BCR/ABL such as the N-terminal coiled coil (CC), the tyrosine phosphorylation site Y177 and the serine/threonine kinase domain (ST), as well as on the ABL portion of BCR/ABL (#ABL-T315I) with or without the inhibitory SH3 (delta SH3-ABL) domain. Here we report that i.) T315I restored the capacity to mediate factor independence of oligomerization_deficient p185BCR/ABL; ii.) resistance of p185-T315I against inhibition of the oligomerization depends on the phosphorylation at Y177; iii.) autophosphorylation at Y177 is not affected by the oligomerization inhibition, but phosphorylation at Y177 of endogenous BCR parallels the effects of T315I; iv.) the effects of T315I are associated with an intact ABL_kinase activity; v.) the presence of T315I is associated with an increased ABL_kinase activity also in mutants unable to induce Y177 phosphorylation of endogenous BCR; vi.) there is no direct relationship between the ABL-kinase activity and the capacity to mediate factor_independence induced by T315I as revealed by the #ABL-T315I mutant, which was unable to induce Y177 phosphorylation of BCR only in the presence of the SH3 domain. In contrast to its physiological counterpart c-ABL, the BCR/ABL kinase is constitutively activated, inducing the leukemic phenotype. The N-terminus of c-ABL (Cap region) contributes to the regulation of its kinase function. It is myristoylated, and the myristate residue binds to a hydrophobic pocket in the kinase domain known as the myristoyl binding pocket in a process called “capping”, which results in an auto-inhibited conformation. Because the cap region is replaced by the N-terminus of BCR, BCR/ABL “escapes” this auto-inhibition. Allosteric inhibition by myristate “mimics”, such as GNF-2, is able to inhibit unmutated BCR/ABL, but not the BCR/ABL that harbors the “gatekeeper” mutation T315I. Here we investigated the possibility of increasing the efficacy of allosteric inhibition by blocking BCR/ABL oligomerization. We demonstrate that inhibition of oligomerization was able not only to increase the efficacy of GNF-2 on unmutated BCR/ABL, but also to overcome the resistance of BCR/ABL-T315I to allosteric inhibition. These results strongly suggest that the response to allosteric inhibition by GNF-2 is inversely related to the degree of oligomerization of BCR/ABL. Taken together these data suggest that the inhibition of tetramerization inhibits BCR/ABL-mediated transformation and can contribute to overcome Imatinib-resistance. The study provides the first evidence that an efficient peptide transduction system facilitates the employ-ment of competitive peptides to target the oligomerization interface of BCR/ABL in vivo. Further the data show that T315I confers additional leukemogenic activity to BCR/ABL, which might explain the clinical behavior of patients with BCR/ABL -T315I-positive blasts. In summary, our observations establish a new approach for the molecular targeting of BCR/ABL and its resistant mutants represented by the combination of oligomerization and allosteric inhibitors.
- Allosteric inhibition enhances the efficacy of ABL kinase inhibitors to target unmutated BCR-ABL and BCR-ABL-T315I (2012)
- Background: Chronic myelogenous leukemia (CML) and Philadelphia chromosome-positive (Ph+) acute lymphatic leukemia (Ph + ALL) are caused by the t(9;22), which fuses BCR to ABL resulting in deregulated ABL-tyrosine kinase activity. The constitutively activated BCR/ABL-kinase "escapes" the auto-inhibition mechanisms of c-ABL, such as allosteric inhibition. The ABL-kinase inhibitors (AKIs) Imatinib, Nilotinib or Dasatinib, which target the ATP-binding site, are effective in Ph + leukemia. Another molecular therapy approach targeting BCR/ABL restores allosteric inhibition. Given the fact that all AKIs fail to inhibit BCR/ABL harboring the 'gatekeeper' mutation T315I, we investigated the effects of AKIs in combination with the allosteric inhibitor GNF2 in Ph + leukemia. Methods: The efficacy of this approach on the leukemogenic potential of BCR/ABL was studied in Ba/F3 cells, primary murine bone marrow cells, and untransformed Rat-1 fibroblasts expressing BCR/ABL or BCR/ABL-T315I as well as in patient-derived long-term cultures (PDLTC) from Ph + ALL-patients. Results: Here, we show that GNF-2 increased the effects of AKIs on unmutated BCR/ABL. Interestingly, the combination of Dasatinib and GNF-2 overcame resistance of BCR/ABL-T315I in all models used in a synergistic manner. Conclusions: Our observations establish a new approach for the molecular targeting of BCR/ABL and its resistant mutants using a combination of AKIs and allosteric inhibitors.
- Overcoming Bcr-Abl T315I mutation by combination of GNF-2 and ATP competitors in an Abl-independent mechanism (2012)
- ABSTRACT: 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.
- 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.
- p185(BCR/ABL) has a lower sensitivity than p210(BCR/ABL) to the allosteric inhibitor GNF-2 in Philadelphia chromosome-positive acute lymphatic leukemia (2011)
- BACKGROUND: The t(9;22) translocation leads to the formation of the chimeric breakpoint cluster region/c-abl oncogene 1 (BCR/ABL) fusion gene on der22, the Philadelphia chromosome. The p185(BCR/ABL) or the p210(BCR/ABL) fusion proteins are encoded as a result of the translocation, depending on whether a "minor" or "major" breakpoint occurs, respectively. Both p185(BCR/ABL) and p210(BCR/ABL) exhibit constitutively activated ABL kinase activity. Through fusion to BCR the ABL kinase in p185(BCR/ABL) and p210(BCR/ABL) "escapes" the auto-inhibition mechanisms of c-ABL, such as allosteric inhibition. A novel class of compounds including GNF-2 restores allosteric inhibition of the kinase activity and the transformation potential of BCR/ABL. Here we investigated whether there are differences between p185(BCR/ABL) and p210(BCR/ABL) regarding their sensitivity towards allosteric inhibition by GNF-2 in models of Philadelphia chromosome-positive acute lymphatic leukemia. DESIGN AND METHODS: We investigated the anti-proliferative activity of GNF-2 in different Philadelphia chromosome-positive acute lymphatic leukemia models, such as cell lines, patient-derived long-term cultures and factor-dependent lymphatic Ba/F3 cells expressing either p185(BCR/ABL) or p210(BCR/ABL) and their resistance mutants. RESULTS: The inhibitory effects of GNF-2 differed constantly between p185(BCR/ABL) and p210(BCR/ABL) expressing cells. In all three Philadelphia chromosome-positive acute lymphatic leukemia models, p210(BCR/ABL)-transformed cells were more sensitive to GNF-2 than were p185BCR/ABL-positive cells. Similar results were obtained for p185(BCR/ABL) and the p210(BCR/ABL) harboring resistance mutations. CONCLUSIONS: Our data provide the first evidence of a differential response of p185(BCR/ABL)- and p210(BCR/ABL)- transformed cells to allosteric inhibition by GNF-2, which is of importance for the treatment of patients with Philadelphia chromosome-positive acute lymphatic leukemia.