Most strains of Bacillus subtilis, dervied from the 168 (Marburg) strain, grow slowly on aspartate as sole carbon source. We isolated a mutant (aspH) that grows rapidly on aspartate because it produces aspartase constitutively. Thus, aspartase is needed for rapid growth on aspartate, whereas aspartate-alpha-ketoglutarate aminotransferase is not needed, as was demonstrated by a mutant lacking that enzyme activity. By two--and three-factor crosses using PBSl transduction, the aspH mutation was located between the aroD and the lys markers of the genetic map. Although sodium ions do not affect growth on glucose or L-malate, they specifically stimulate growth on aspartate in both the parent and the aspH mutant strains. Enzyme activities of crude aspartase and fumarase and of purified aspartase do not increase in the presence of sodium. These results show that stimulation by sodium involves some reaction other than the enzymes catabolizing aspartate. The ease of purification from the aspH strain and the stability of aspartase suggest that the B. subtilis enzyme is particularly useful for aspartate determinations.
In this work, we isolated and characterized mutants that overproduce threonine from Saccharomyces cerevisiae. The mutants were selected for resistance to the threonine analog alpha-amino-beta-hydroxynorvalerate (hydroxynorvaline), and, of these, the ones able to excrete threonine to the medium were chosen. The mutant strains produce between 15 and 30 times more threonine than the wild type does, and, to a lesser degree, they also accumulate isoleucine. Genetic and biochemical studies have revealed that the threonine overproduction is, in all cases studied, associated with the presence in the strain of a HOM3 allele coding for a mutant aspartate kinase that is totally or partially insensitive to feedback inhibition by threonine. This enzyme seems, therefore, to be crucial in the regulation of threonine biosynthesis in S. cerevisiae. The results obtained suggest that this strategy could be efficiently applied to the isolation of threonine-overproducing strains of yeasts other than S. cerevisiae, even those used industrially.
The aspA gene of Escherichia coli W which encodes aspartase was cloned into the plasmid vector pBR322. The nucleotide sequences of aspA and its flanking regions were determined. The aspA gene encodes a protein with a molecular weight of 52,224 consisted of 477 amino acid residues. The amino acid sequence of the protein predicted from the nucleotide sequence was consistent with those of the NH2- and COOH-terminal regions and also with the amino acid composition of the purified aspartase determined previously. Potential promoter and terminator sequences for aspA were also found in the determined sequence.
Background and Aims
Lippia scaberrima, an aromatic indigenous South African plant, with medicinal application, potentially has economic value. The production of essential oil from this plant has not been optimized, and this study of the chemico-morphological characteristics was aimed at determining the location of oil production within the plant. Furthermore, the locality of other secondary metabolites important in medicinal applications needed to be ascertained. This information would be useful in deciding the protocol required for isolation of such compounds.
The morphology of the glandular trichomes was investigated using a combination of scanning electron and light microscopy. Concurrently, the chemical content was studied by applying various chemical reagents and fluorescence microscopy.
Three types of trichomes were distinguished on the material investigated. Large, bulbous peltate glands containing compounds of terpenoid nature are probably the main site of essential oil accumulation. Small glands were found to be both peltate and capitate and fluorescent stain indicated the possible presence of phenolic compounds. The third type was a slender tapered seta with an ornamented surface and uniseriate base, and evidently secretory in nature.
This study linking the chemical content and morphology of the glandular trichomes of L. scaberrima has contributed to the knowledge and understanding of secretory structures of Lippia spp. in general.
Lippia scaberrima; Verbenaceae; trichomes; setae; terpenoids; phenolics; microscopy; staining; fluorescence
Marine macroinvertebrates are ideal sentinel organisms to monitor rapid environmental changes associated with climatic phenomena. These organisms build up protective exoskeletons incrementally by biologically-controlled mineralization, which is deeply rooted in long-term evolutionary processes. Recent studies relating potential rapid environmental fluctuations to climate change, such as ocean acidification, suggest modifications on carbonate biominerals of marine invertebrates. However, the influence of known, and recurrent, climatic events on these biological processes during active mineralization is still insufficiently understood. Analysis of Peruvian cockles from the 1982–83 large magnitude El Niño event shows significant alterations of the chemico-structure of carbonate biominerals. Here, we show that bivalves modify the main biomineralization mechanism during the event to continue shell secretion. As a result, magnesium content increases to stabilize amorphous calcium carbonate (ACC), inducing a rise in Mg/Ca unrelated to the associated increase in sea-surface temperature. Analysis of variations in Sr/Ca also suggests that this proxy should not be used in these bivalves to detect the temperature anomaly, while Ba/Ca peaks are recorded in shells in response to an increase in productivity, or dissolved barium in seawater, after the event. Presented data contribute to a better understanding of the effects of abrupt climate change on shell biomineralization, while also offering an alternative view of bivalve elemental proxy reconstructions. Furthermore, biomineralization changes in mollusk shells can be used as a novel potential proxy to provide a more nuanced historical record of El Niño and similar rapid environmental change events.
Threonine Aspartase 1 (Taspase1) mediates cleavage of the mixed lineage leukemia (MLL) protein and leukemia provoking MLL-fusions. In contrast to other proteases, the understanding of Taspase1's (patho)biological relevance and function is limited, since neither small molecule inhibitors nor cell based functional assays for Taspase1 are currently available.
Efficient cell-based assays to probe Taspase1 function in vivo are presented here. These are composed of glutathione S-transferase, autofluorescent protein variants, Taspase1 cleavage sites and rational combinations of nuclear import and export signals. The biosensors localize predominantly to the cytoplasm, whereas expression of biologically active Taspase1 but not of inactive Taspase1 mutants or of the protease Caspase3 triggers their proteolytic cleavage and nuclear accumulation. Compared to in vitro assays using recombinant components the in vivo assay was highly efficient. Employing an optimized nuclear translocation algorithm, the triple-color assay could be adapted to a high-throughput microscopy platform (Z'factor = 0.63). Automated high-content data analysis was used to screen a focused compound library, selected by an in silico pharmacophor screening approach, as well as a collection of fungal extracts. Screening identified two compounds, N-[2-[(4-amino-6-oxo-3H-pyrimidin-2-yl)sulfanyl]ethyl]benzenesulfonamide and 2-benzyltriazole-4,5-dicarboxylic acid, which partially inhibited Taspase1 cleavage in living cells. Additionally, the assay was exploited to probe endogenous Taspase1 in solid tumor cell models and to identify an improved consensus sequence for efficient Taspase1 cleavage. This allowed the in silico identification of novel putative Taspase1 targets. Those include the FERM Domain-Containing Protein 4B, the Tyrosine-Protein Phosphatase Zeta, and DNA Polymerase Zeta. Cleavage site recognition and proteolytic processing of these substrates were verified in the context of the biosensor.
The assay not only allows to genetically probe Taspase1 structure function in vivo, but is also applicable for high-content screening to identify Taspase1 inhibitors. Such tools will provide novel insights into Taspase1's function and its potential therapeutic relevance.
The chemotherapeutic drug pemetrexed, an inhibitor of thymidylate synthase, has an important secondary target in human leukemic cells, AICART, the second folate-dependent enzyme of purine biosynthesis. The purine intermediate aminoimidazolecarboxamide ribonucleotide (ZMP), which accumulates behind this block, transmits an inhibitory signal to the mTORC1 complex via activation of the cellular energy sensor AMPK. Given that the PI3K-AKT-mTOR pathway is frequently deregulated during carcinogenesis, we asked whether the indirect activation of AMPK by pemetrexed offers an effective therapeutic strategy for carcinomas with defects in this pathway. Activation of AMPK by ZMP in pemetrexed-treated colon and lung carcinoma cells and the downstream consequences of this activation were strikingly more robust than previously seen in leukemic cells. Genetic experiments demonstrated the intermediacy of AICART inhibition and the centrality of AMPK activation in these effects. While AMPK activation resulted in marked inhibition of mTORC1, other targets of AMPK were phosphorylated that were not mTORC1-dependent. Whereas AMPK activation is thought to require AMPKα T172 phosphorylation, pemetrexed also activated AMPK in carcinoma cells null for LKB1, the predominant AMPKα T172 kinase whose deficiency is common in lung adenocarcinomas. Like rapamycin analogs, pemetrexed relieved feedback suppression of PI3K and AKT, but the prolonged accumulation of unphosphorylated 4E-BP1, a tight-binding inhibitor of cap-dependent translation, was seen following AMPK activation. Our findings indicate that AMPK activation by pemetrexed inhibits mTORC1- dependent and -independent processes that control translation and lipid metabolism, identifying pemetrexed as a targeted therapeutic agent for this pathway that differs significantly from rapamycin analogs.
pemetrexed; Non-small cell lung cancer; AMP-activated protein kinase; mTOR; Aminoimidazolecarboxamide ribonucleotide formyltransferase
When a wild-type strain of Escherichia coli B was cultured on a medium containing L-aspartic acid as the sole carbon source (Asp-C medium), aspartase formation was higher than that observed in minimal medium. Addition of glucose to Asp-C medium decreased aspartase formation. When also cultured in a medium containing L-aspartic acid as the sole nitrogen source (Asp-N medium), E. coli B showed a low level of aspartase formation and an elongated doubling time. To obtain aspartase-hyperproducing strains, we enriched cells growing faster than cells of the wild-type strain in Asp-N medium by continuous cultivation of mutagenized cells. After plate selection, the doubling times of these mutants were measured. Thereafter, fast-growing mutants were tested for aspartase formation. One of these mutants, strain EAPc7, had a higher level of aspartase formation than did the wild-type strain in medium containing L-aspartic acid as the carbon source, however; addition of glucose to this medium decreased aspartase formation. The other mutant, strain EAPc244, had a higher level of aspartase activity than did the wild-type strain in both media. Therefore, aspartase formation in mutant EAPc244 was released from catabolite repression. In strain EAPc244 the other catabolite-repressible enzymes, beta-galactosidase, tryptophanase, and the three tricarboxylic acid cycle enzymes, were also released from catabolite repression. Both mutants had sevenfold the aspartase formation of the wild-type strain in a medium which contained fumaric acid as the main carbon source and which has been used for industrial production of E. coli B aspartase. However, strain EAPc244 had 2.5-fold the fumarase activity of strain EAPc7.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS)
CPS49 is a member of a recently identified class of redox-reactive thalidomide analogs that show selective killing of leukemic cells by increasing intra-cellular reactive oxygen species (ROS) and targeting multiple transcriptional pathways. Flavopiridol is a semisynthetic flavonoid that inhibits cyclin-dependent kinases and also shows selective lethality against leukemic cells. The purpose of this study is to explore the efficacy and mechanism of action of the combinatorial use of the redox-reactive thalidomide CPS49 and the cyclin dependent kinase inhibitor flavopiridol as a selective anti-leukemic therapeutic strategy. In combination, CPS49 and flavopiridol were found to induce selective cytotoxicity associated with mitochondrial dysfunction and elevations of ROS in leukemic cells ranging from additive to synergistic activity at low micro-molar concentrations. Highest synergy was observed at the level of ROS generation with a strong correlation between cell-specific cytoxicity and reciprocal coupling of drug-induced ROS elevation with glutathione depletion. Examination of the transcriptional targeting of CPS49 and flavopiridol combinations reveals that the drugs act in concert to initiate a cell specific transcriptional program that manipulates NF-κB, E2F-1 and p73 activity to promote enhanced mitochondrial instability by simultaneously elevating the expression of the pro-apoptotic factors BAX, BAD, p73 and PUMA, while depressing expression of the anti-apoptotic genes MCL1, XIAP, BCL-xL, SURVIVIN and MDM2. The co-administration of CPS49 and flavopiridol acts through coordinate targeting of transcriptional pathways that enforce selective mitochondrial dysfunction and ROS elevation and is therefore a promising new therapeutic combination that warrants further pre-clinical exploration.
York, George K. (University of California, Davis), and Reese H. Vaughn. Mechanisms in the inhibition of microorganisms by sorbic acid. J. Bacteriol. 88:411–417. 1964.—Oxidative assimilation of glucose, acetate, succinate, and fumarate by washed cells of Escherichia coli, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, and Saccharomyces cerevisiae was inhibited by concentrations of sorbic acid ranging from 15 to 105 mg per 100 ml. At higher concentrations, the oxidation of these substrates was inhibited. Oxidative phosphorylation by submicroscopic particles of E. coli was reduced by about 30% by 37 mg per 100 ml of sorbic acid. The sulfhydryl enzymes fumarase, aspartase, and succinic dehydrogenase were inhibited by sorbic acid. The loss of activity of sorbic acid after reacting with cysteine suggested that a thiol addition occurred, which is believed to be the mechanism of action against sulfhydryl enzymes or cofactors.
Acute leukemias are clonal disorders of hematopoiesis wherein a leukemic stem cell (LSC) acquires mutations that confer the capacity for unlimited self-renewal, impaired hematopoietic differentiation, and enhanced proliferation to the leukemic clone. Many recent advances in understanding the biology of leukemia have come from studies defining specific genetic and epigenetic abnormalities in leukemic cells. Three recent articles, however, further our understanding of leukemia biology by elucidating specific abnormalities in metabolic pathways in leukemic hematopoiesis. These studies potentially converge on the concept that modulation of reactive oxygen species (ROS) abundance may influence the pathogenesis and treatment of acute myeloid leukemia (AML).
Caspases are a large family of evolutionarily conserved proteases found from Caenorhabditis elegans to humans. Although the first caspase was identified as a processing enzyme for interleukin-1β, genetic and biochemical data have converged to reveal that many caspases are key mediators of apoptosis, the intrinsic cell suicide program essential for development and tissue homeostasis. Each caspase is a cysteine aspartase; it employs a nucleophilic cysteine in its active site to cleave aspartic acid peptide bonds within proteins. Caspases are synthesized as inactive precursors termed procaspases; proteolytic processing of procaspase generates the tetrameric active caspase enzyme, composed of two repeating heterotypic subunits. Based on kinetic data, substrate specificity, and procaspase structure, caspases have been conceptually divided into initiators and effectors. Initiator caspases activate effector caspases in response to specific cell death signals, and effector caspases cleave various cellular proteins to trigger apoptosis. Adapter protein-mediated oligomerization of procaspases is now recognized as a universal mechanism of initiator caspase activation and underlies the control of both cell surface death receptor and mitochondrial cytochrome c-Apaf-1 apoptosis pathways. Caspase substrates have bene identified that induce each of the classic features of apoptosis, including membrane blebbing, cell body shrinkage, and DNA fragmentation. Mice deficient for caspase genes have highlighted tissue- and signal-specific pathways for apoptosis and demonstrated an independent function for caspase-1 and -11 in cytokine processing. Dysregulation of caspases features prominently in many human diseases, including cancer, autoimmunity, and neurodegenerative disorders, and increasing evidence shows that altering caspase activity can confer therapeutic benefits.
We used cytoplasmic extracts from chicken DU249 cells at various stages along the apoptotic pathway to analyse the events of apoptotic execution. So-called S/M extracts from morphologically normal 'committed-stage' cells induce apoptotic morphology and DNA cleavage in substrate nuclei. These apoptotic changes appear to require the function of multiple caspases (cysteine aspartases, a specialized class of proteases) acting in parallel. Extracts from 'execution-stage' apoptotic cells induce apoptotic events in added nuclei in a caspase-independent manner. Biochemical fractionation of these extracts reveals that a column fraction enriched in endogenous active caspases is unable to induce DNA fragmentation or chromatin condensation in substrate nuclei, whereas a caspase-depleted fraction induces both changes. 'Execution-stage' extracts contain an ICAD/DFF45-inhibitable nuclease resembling CAD, plus another activity that is required for the apoptotic chromatin condensation. 'Committed-stage' S/M extracts lack these downstream activities. These observations reveal that caspases act in an executive fashion, serving to activate downstream factors that disassemble the nucleus rather than disassembling it themselves. They also suggest that activation of the downstream factors (rather than the caspases) is the critical event that occurs at the transition from the latent to the execution phase of apoptosis.
Burchall, J. J. (University of Illinois, Urbana), R. A. Niederman, and M. J. Wolin. Amino group formation and glutamate synthesis in Streptococcus bovis. J. Bacteriol. 88:1038–1044. 1964.—Extracts of Streptococcus bovis grown on NH4+ as a nitrogen source contain a nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide phosphate (NADP)-linked glutamic dehydrogenase and are devoid of alanine dehydrogenase, other amino acid dehydrohygenases, and aspartase. A potential source of reduced nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide phosphate for glutamate synthesis is a NADP and nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NAD)-linked glyceraldehyde-3-phosphate dehydrogenase present in the extracts. Experiments with C14-labeled glucose and NaHCO3 indicate that the glutamate carbon skeleton is synthesized by a tricarboxylic acid pathway. The synthesis of the carbon skeleton of glutamate is repressed when glutamate or casein hydrolysate supplement the NH4+-containing growth medium. Repression of glutamic dehydrogenase and a NAD-linked isocitric dehydrogenase occurs only when complex nitrogen sources, but not when free amino acids, are added to the growth medium.
Chronic myeloid leukemia (CML) is initially driven by the bcr–abl fusion oncoprotein. The identification of bcr–abl led to the discovery and rapid translation into the clinic of bcr–abl kinase inhibitors. Although, bcr–abl inhibitors are efficacious, experimental evidence indicates that targeting bcr–abl is not sufficient for elimination of minimal residual disease found within the bone marrow (BM). Experimental evidence indicates that the failure to eliminate the leukemic stem cell contributes to persistent minimal residual disease. Thus curative strategies will likely need to focus on strategies where bcr–abl inhibitors are given in combination with agents that specifically target the leukemic stem cell or the leukemic stem cell niche. One potential target to be exploited is the Janus kinase (JAK)/signal transducers and activators of transcription 3 (STAT3) pathway. Recently using STAT3 conditional knock-out mice it was shown that STAT3 is critical for initiating the disease. Interestingly, in the absence of treatment, STAT3 was not shown to be required for maintenance of the disease, suggesting that STAT3 is required only in the tumor initiating stem cell population (Hoelbl et al., 2010). In the context of the BM microenvironment, STAT3 is activated in a bcr–abl independent manner by the cytokine milieu. Activation of JAK/STAT3 was shown to contribute to cell survival even in the event of complete inhibition of bcr–abl activity within the BM compartment. Taken together, these studies suggest that JAK/STAT3 is an attractive therapeutic target for developing strategies for targeting the JAK–STAT3 pathway in combination with bcr–abl kinase inhibitors and may represent a viable strategy for eliminating or reducing minimal residual disease located in the BM in CML.
STAT3; bone marrow microenvironment; drug resistance; transformation; chronic myeloid leukemia
Aspartate availability was increased in Corynebacterium glutamicum strains to assess its influence on lysine production. Upon addition of fumarate to a strain with a feedback-resistant aspartate kinase, the lysine yield increased from 20 to 30 mM. This increase was accompanied by the excretion of malate and succinate. In this strain, fumaric acid was converted to aspartate by fumarate hydratase, malate dehydrogenase, and aspartate amino transferase activity. To achieve the direct conversion of fumarate to aspartate, shuttle vectors containing the aspA+ (aspartase) gene of Escherichia coli were constructed. These constructions were introduced into C. glutamicum, which was originally devoid of the enzyme aspartase. This resulted in an aspartase activity of 0.3 U/mg (70% of the aspartase activity in E. coli) with plasmid pZ1-9 and an activity of up to 1.05 U/mg with plasmid pCE1 delta. In aspA+-expressing strains, lysine excretion was further increased by 20%. Additionally, in strains harboring pCE1 delta, up to 27 mM aspartate was excreted. This indicates that undetermined limitations in the sequence of reactions from aspartate to lysine exist in C. glutamicum.
Depue, Robert H. (Hahnemann Medical College, Philadelphia), and Albert G. Moat. Factors affecting aspartase activity. J. Bacteriol. 82:383–386. 1961.—Cells of Escherichia coli grown in a glucose-mineral salts medium contain about one-fifth the amount of aspartase activity observed in cells grown in a yeast extract-peptone medium. The aspartase activity of the cells grown in glucose-salts medium would appear to be too low to provide a mechanism for synthesis of amino groups. Aspartase was purified approximately eightfold by ammonium sulfate precipitation and column chromatography of cell-free extracts. The purified preparation was specific for l-aspartic acid and contained no fumarase activity. A divalent metal ion requirement was demonstrated, this requirement being satisfied by cobaltous or manganous ions. The enzyme activity was found to be dependent upon free sulfhydryl groups. Biotin did not appear to be directly involved in the aspartase reaction since high concentrations of avidin did not alter the reaction rate. The Michaelis constant for aspartase with aspartic acid as substrate was determined to be 0.033 m.
Haight, Roger D. (University of Nebraska, Lincoln) and Richard Y. Morita. Interaction between the parameters of hydrostatic pressure and temperature on aspartase of Escherichia coli. J. Bacteriol. 83:112–120. 1962.—The data obtained from studies of an aspartase preparation and aspartase in cells of Escherichia coli indicate that there is an interaction between the parameters of hydrostatic pressure and temperature. Pressure was found to decrease aspartase activity at 45 C and lower in vitro and below 53 C in vivo, thereby indicating that when the enzyme-substrate complex is formed there is an increase in molecular volume which is counteracted by pressure. Above 53 C in vivo and above 45 C in vitro, temperature probably starts the unfolding process of the enzyme to expose more reactive sites, while pressure then pushes the enzyme and substrate into closer proximity with each other. Thus, pressure stimulated activity and also prevents further unfolding of the enzyme. Since the enzyme preparation retains about the same level of activity after being subjected first to 1000 atm at 56 C, the aspartase probably refolds into its original configuration or one similar to it, when subjected to 1 atm at 37 C.
In all cases, the presence of the substrate was found necessary to protect aspartase from thermal inactivation or denaturation.
A novel L-threonine transport system is induced in Escherichia coli cells when incubated in amino acid-rich medium under anaerobic conditions. Genetic and biochemical analyses with plasmids harboring mutations in the anaerobically expressed tdcABC operon indicated that the tdcC gene product was responsible for L-threonine uptake. Competition experiments revealed that the L-threonine transport system is also involved in L-serine uptake and is partially shared for L-leucine transport; L-alanine, L-valine, and L-isoleucine did not affect L-threonine uptake. Transport of L-threonine was inhibited by the respiratory chain inhibitors KCN and carbonyl cyanide m-chlorophenylhydrazone and was Na+ independent. These results identify for the first time an E. coli gene encoding a permease specific for L-threonine-L-serine transport that is distinct from the previously described threonine-serine transport systems. A two-dimensional topological model predicted from the amino acid composition and hydropathy plot showed that the TdcC polypeptide appears to be an integral membrane protein with several membrane-spanning domains exhibiting a striking similarity with other bacterial permeases.
Mouse models of human malignancy have greatly enhanced our understanding of disease pathophysiology and have led to novel therapeutic approaches, some with extraordinary success, one such example being inhibition of the BCR-ABL1 oncogene in chronic myeloid leukaemia (CML). Here, we review aspects of the biology of CML that have been uncovered at least in part through the generation and analysis of retroviral and transgenic mouse models of BCR-ABL1 disease. It can be expected that these models will also serve as important tools in the future, especially in the rational design of strategies to eradicate leukemic stem cells and potentially cure CML as well as other cancers.
BCR-ABL1; mouse models; retroviral; transgenic; leukemic stem cells; hematopoietic stem cells
Vandetanib is an orally active small molecule tyrosine kinase inhibitor (TKI) with activity against several pathways implicated in malignancy including the vascular endothelial growth factor receptor pathway, the epidermal growth factor receptor pathway, the platelet derived growth factor receptor β pathway, and REarranged during Transfection pathway. To determine if vandetanib-mediated inhibition of receptor tyrosine kinases is a potential therapeutic strategy for pediatric acute leukemia, these studies aimed to characterize the activity of vandetanib against acute leukemia in vitro. Treatment of leukemia cell lines with vandetanib resulted in a dose-dependent decrease in proliferation and survival. Vandetanib’s anti-leukemic activity appeared mediated by multiple mechanisms including accumulation in G1 phase at lower concentrations and apoptosis at higher concentrations. Alterations in cell surface markers also occurred with vandetanib treatment, suggesting induction of differentiation. In combination with DNA damaging agents (etoposide and doxorubicin) vandetanib demonstrated synergistic induction of cell death. However in combination with the anti-metabolite methotrexate, vandetanib had an antagonistic effect on cell death. Although several targets of vandetanib are expressed on acute leukemia cell lines, expression of vandetanib targets did not predict vandetanib sensitivity and alone are therefore not likely candidate biomarkers in patients with acute leukemia. Interactions between vandetanib and standard chemotherapy agents in vitro may help guide choice of combination regimens for further evaluation in the clinical setting for patients with relapsed/refractory acute leukemia. Taken together, these preclinical data support clinical evaluation of vandetanib, in combination with cytotoxic chemotherapy, for pediatric leukemia.
Acute leukemia; Vandetanib; Vascular endothelial growth factor; Tyrosine kinase inhibitor; Combination therapy
In this study, we show that conditioned media (CM) generated from bone marrow (BM)-derived mesenchymal stromal cells lead to BCR-ABL independent STAT3 activation. Activation of STAT3 is important not only for survival of CML cells but also for its protection against Nilotinib (NI), within the BM microenvironment. Reducing the expression of both JAK2 and TYK2 or utilizing a pan-JAK inhibitor blocked CM-mediated STAT3 activation and sensitized CML cells to NI-mediated cell death. Finally, we demonstrate that in patient-derived primitive leukemic cells, co-cultured with BM stromal cells, inhibition of BCR-ABL and JAK activity was a successful strategy to potentiate their elimination.
STAT3; Conditioned media; Bone marrow microenvironment; Nilotinib; JAK; INC424
Resistance developed by leukemic cells, unsatisfactory efficacy on patients with chronic myeloid leukemia (CML) at accelerated and blastic phases, and potential cardiotoxity, have been limitations for imatinib mesylate (IM) in treating CML. Whether low dose IM in combination with agents of distinct but related mechanisms could be one of the strategies to overcome these concerns warrants careful investigation.
Methods and Findings
We tested the therapeutic efficacies as well as adverse effects of low dose IM in combination with proteasome inhibitor, Bortezomib (BOR) or proteasome inhibitor I (PSI), in two CML murine models, and investigated possible mechanisms of action on CML cells. Our results demonstrated that low dose IM in combination with BOR exerted satisfactory efficacy in prolongation of life span and inhibition of tumor growth in mice, and did not cause cardiotoxicity or body weight loss. Consistently, BOR and PSI enhanced IM-induced inhibition of long-term clonogenic activity and short-term cell growth of CML stem/progenitor cells, and potentiated IM-caused inhibition of proliferation and induction of apoptosis of BCR-ABL+ cells. IM/BOR and IM/PSI inhibited Bcl-2, increased cytoplasmic cytochrome C, and activated caspases. While exerting suppressive effects on BCR-ABL, E2F1, and β-catenin, IM/BOR and IM/PSI inhibited proteasomal degradation of protein phosphatase 2A (PP2A), leading to a re-activation of this important negative regulator of BCR-ABL. In addition, both combination therapties inhibited Bruton's tyrosine kinase via suppression of NFκB.
These data suggest that combined use of tyrosine kinase inhibitor and proteasome inhibitor might be helpful for optimizing CML treatment.
Farnesyl protein transferase inhibitors (FTIs) were originally developed to inhibit oncogenic ras, however it is now clear that there are several other potential targets for this drug class. The FTI tipifarnib (ZARNESTRA™, R115777) has recently demonstrated clinical responses in adults with refractory and relapsed acute leukemias. This study was conducted to identify genetic markers and pathways that are regulated by tipifarnib in acute myeloid leukemia (AML).
Tipifarnib-mediated gene expression changes in 3 AML cell lines and bone marrow samples from two patients with AML were analyzed on a cDNA microarray containing approximately 7000 human genes. Pathways associated with these expression changes were identified using the Ingenuity Pathway Analysis tool.
The expression analysis identified a common set of genes that were regulated by tipifarnib in three leukemic cell lines and in leukemic blast cells isolated from two patients who had been treated with tipifarnib. Association of modulated genes with biological functional groups identified several pathways affected by tipifarnib including cell signaling, cytoskeletal organization, immunity, and apoptosis. Gene expression changes were verified in a subset of genes using real time RT-PCR. Additionally, regulation of apoptotic genes was found to correlate with increased Annexin V staining in the THP-1 cell line but not in the HL-60 cell line.
The genetic networks derived from these studies illuminate some of the biological pathways affected by FTI treatment while providing a proof of principle for identifying candidate genes that might be used as surrogate biomarkers of drug activity.
As the defining feature of Acute Myeloid Leukemia (AML) is a maturation arrest, a highly desirable therapeutic strategy is to induce leukemic cell maturation. This therapeutic strategy has the potential of avoiding the significant side effects that occur with the traditional AML therapeutics. We identified a natural compound securinine, as a leukemia differentiation-inducing agent. Securinine is a plant-derived alkaloid that has previously been used clinically as a therapeutic for primarily neurological related diseases. Securinine induces monocytic differentiation of a wide range of myeloid leukemia cell lines as well as primary leukemic patient samples. Securinine's clinical potential for AML can be seen from its ability to induce significant growth arrest in cell lines and patient samples as well as its activity in significantly impairing the growth of AML tumors in nude mice. In addition, securinine can synergize with currently employed agents such as ATRA and decitabine to induce differentiation. This study has revealed securinine induces differentiation through the activation of DNA damage signaling. Securinine is a promising new monocytic differentiation inducing agent for AML that has seen previous clinical use for non-related disorders.