Journal Article

Activation of the JNK pathway promotes phosphorylation and degradation of Bim<sub>EL</sub>—a novel mechanism of chemoresistance in T-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia

Kam Tong Leung, Karen Kwai-Har Li, Samuel Sai-Ming Sun, Paul Kay Sheung Chan, Vincent Eng-Choon Ooi and Lawrence Chi-Ming Chiu

in Carcinogenesis

Volume 29, issue 3, pages 544-551
Published in print March 2008 | ISSN: 0143-3334
Published online January 2008 | e-ISSN: 1460-2180 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/carcin/bgm294
Activation of the JNK pathway promotes phosphorylation and degradation of BimEL—a novel mechanism of chemoresistance in T-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia

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T-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemias (T-ALLs) are highly malignant tumors with 20% of patients continues to fail therapy, in part due to chemoresistance of T-ALL cells via largely unknown mechanisms. Here, we showed that lack of Bcl-2-interacting mediator of cell death (Bim)EL protein expression, a BH3-only member of the Bcl-2 family proteins, conferred resistance of a T-ALL cell line, Sup-T1, to etoposide-induced apoptosis. Overexpression of BimEL significantly restored its sensitivity to etoposide-induced caspase activation and poly(ADP-ribose) polymerase cleavage. Surprisingly, we found that constitutive activation of the c-Jun N-terminal kinase (JNK) pathway in Sup-T1 cells promoted phosphorylation and degradation of BimEL via the proteosome. Blocking with a proteosome inhibitor yielded an elevated level of BimEL and accumulation of BimEL species phosphorylated at Ser69. Pretreatment of Sup-T1 cells with a specific JNK inhibitor, SP600125, also increased the BimEL level and resensitized the cells to etoposide-induced apoptosis. Together, our findings suggest that the JNK activation status may correlate with the BimEL level and in turn can control the sensitivity of T-ALL cells to chemotherapeutic agents.

Journal Article.  5977 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Clinical Cytogenetics and Molecular Genetics

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