Tyrosine kinase inhibitor Thiotanib targets Bcr-Abl and induces apoptosis and autophagy in human chronic myeloid leukemia cells
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Chronic myeloid leukemia (CML) is characterized by abnormal Bcr and Abl genes and enhanced tyrosine kinase activity. Anti-CML therapy has been much improved along with the applications of tyrosine kinase inhibitors (TKIs) which selectively target Bcr-Abl and have a cytotoxic effect on CML. Recently, four-membered heterocycles as “compact modules” have attracted much interest in drug discovery. Grafting these small four-membered heterocycles onto a molecular scaffold could probably provide compounds that retain notable activity and populate chemical space otherwise not previously accessed. Accordingly, a novel TKI, Thiotanib, has been designed and synthesized. It selectively targets Bcr-Abl, inducing growth inhibition, cell cycle arrest, and apoptosis of CML cells. Meanwhile, the compound Thiotanib could also induce autophagy in CML cells. Interestingly, inhibition of autophagy promotes Thiotanib-induced apoptosis with no further activation of caspase 3, while inhibition of caspases did not affect the cell survival of CML cells. Moreover, the compound Thiotanib could inhibit phosphorylation of Akt and mTOR, increase beclin-1 and Vps34, and block the formation of the Bcl-2 and Beclin-1 complex. This indicates the probable pathway of autophagy initiation. Our results highlight a new approach for TKI reforming and further provide an indication of the efficacy enhancement of TKIs in combination with autophagy inhibitors.
KeywordsChronic myeloid leukemia Bcr-Abl Tyrosine kinase inhibitor Compound Thiotanib Apoptosis Autophagy
This work was supported by the Shanghai Science and Technology Fund (11431920104), and Shanghai Municipal Science & Technology Pillar Program for Bio-Pharmaceuticals (13431900102). The funders had no roles in the study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript.
Conflict of interest
The authors declare that they have no competing financial interests.
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