GILZ inhibits the mTORC2/AKT pathway in BCR-ABL+cells

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The malignant phenotype of chronic myeloid leukemia (CML) is due to the abnormal tyrosine kinase activity of the BCR-ABL oncoprotein, which signals several downstream cell survival pathways, including phosphoinositide 3-kinase/AKT, signal transducer and activator of transcription 5 and extracellular signal-regulated kinase 1/2. In patients with CML, tyrosine kinase inhibitors (TKIs) are used to suppress the BCR-ABL tyrosine kinase, resulting in impressive response rates. However, resistance can occur, especially in acute-phase CML, through various mechanisms. Here, we show that the glucocorticoidinduced leucine zipper protein (GILZ) modulates imatinib and dasatinib resistance and suppresses tumor growth by inactivating the mammalian target of rapamycin complex-2 (mTORC2)/AKT signaling pathway. In mouse and human models, GILZ binds to mTORC2, but not to mTORC1, inhibiting phosphorylation of AKT (at Ser473) and activating FoxO3a-mediated transcription of the pro-apoptotic protein Bim; these results demonstrate that GILZ is a key inhibitor of the mTORC2 pathway. Furthermore, CD34+stem cells isolated from relapsing CML patients underwent apoptosis and showed inhibition of mTORC2 after incubation with glucocorticoids and imatinib. Our findings provide new mechanistic insights into the role of mTORC2 in BCR-ABL+cells and indicate that regulation by GILZ may influence TKI sensitivity.

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