, Volume 18, Issue 11, pp 1437-1446
Date: 14 Jul 2013

FTY720 induces apoptosis of chronic myelogenous leukemia cells via dual activation of BIM and BID and overcomes various types of resistance to tyrosine kinase inhibitors

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PP2A activator FTY720 has been shown to possess the anti-leukemic activity for chronic myelogenous leukemia (CML), however, the cell killing mechanism underlying its anti-leukemic activity has remained to be verified. We investigated the precise mechanisms underlying the apoptosis induction by FTY720, especially focusing on the roles of BH3-only proteins, and the therapeutic potency of FTY720 for CML. Enforced expression of either BCL2 or the dominant-negative protein of FADD (FADD.DN) partly protected CML cells from apoptosis by FTY720, indicating the involvement of both cell extrinsic and intrinsic apoptosis pathways. FTY720 activates pro-apoptotic BH3-only proteins: BIM, which is essential for apoptosis by BCR-ABL1 tyrosine kinase inhibitors (TKIs), and BID, which accelerates the extrinsic apoptosis pathway. Gene knockdown of either BIM or BID partly protected K562 cells from apoptosis by FTY720, but the extent of cell protection was not as much as that by overexpression of either BCL2 or FADD.DN. Moreover, knockdown of both BIM and BID did not provide additional protection compared with knockdown of only BIM or BID, indicating that BIM and BID complement each other in apoptosis by FTY720, especially when either is functionally impaired. FTY720 can overcome TKI resistance caused by ABL kinase domain mutations, dysfunction of BIM resulting from gene deletion polymorphism, and galectin-3 overexpression. In addition, ABT-263, a BH3-mimetic, significantly augmented cell death induction by FTY720 both in TKI-sensitive and -resistant leukemic cells. These results provide the rationale that FTY720, with its unique effects on BIM and BID, could lead to new therapeutic strategies for CML.