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Thomas D.,Cell Growth and Differentiation Laboratory
Blood | Year: 2013

Resistance to cell death is a hallmark of cancer and renders transformed cells resistant to multiple apoptotic triggers. The Bcl-2 family member, Mcl-1, is a key driver of cell survival in diverse cancers, including acute myeloid leukemia (AML). A screen for compounds that downregulate Mcl-1 identified the kinase inhibitor, PIK-75, which demonstrates marked proapoptotic activity against a panel of cytogenetically diverse primary human AML patient samples. We show that PIK-75 transiently blocks Cdk7/9, leading to transcriptional suppression of MCL-1, rapid loss of Mcl-1 protein, and alleviation of its inhibition of proapoptotic Bak. PIK-75 also targets the p110α isoform of PI3K, which leads to a loss of association between Bcl-xL and Bak. The simultaneous loss of Mcl-1 and Bcl-xL association with Bak leads to rapid apoptosis of AML cells. Concordantly, low Bak expression in AML confers resistance to PIK-75-mediated killing. On the other hand, the induction of apoptosis by PIK-75 did not require the expression of the BH3 proteins Bim, Bid, Bad, Noxa, or Puma. PIK-75 significantly reduced leukemia burden and increased the survival of mice engrafted with human AML without inducing overt toxicity. Future efforts to cotarget PI3K and Cdk9 with drugs such as PIK-75 in AML are warranted.

Lonic A.,Cell Growth and Differentiation Laboratory | Powell J.A.,Cell Growth and Differentiation Laboratory | Kong Y.,Cell Growth and Differentiation Laboratory | Thomas D.,Cell Growth and Differentiation Laboratory | And 6 more authors.
Journal of Biological Chemistry | Year: 2013

The FGF receptors (FGFRs) control a multitude of cellular processes both during development and in the adult through the initiation of signaling cascades that regulate proliferation, survival, and differentiation. Although FGFR tyrosine phosphorylation and the recruitment of Src homology 2 domain proteins have been widely described, we have previously shown that FGFR is also phosphorylated on Ser779 in response to ligand and binds the 14-3-3 family of phosphoserine/threonine-binding adaptor/scaffold proteins. However, whether this receptor phosphoserine mode of signaling is able to regulate specific signaling pathways and biological responses is unclear. Using PC12 pheochromocytoma cells and primary mouse bone marrow stromal cells as models for growth factor-regulated neuronal differentiation, we show that Ser 779 in the cytoplasmic domains of FGFR1 and FGFR2 is required for the sustained activation of Ras and ERK but not for other FGFR phosphotyrosine pathways. The regulation of Ras and ERK signaling by Ser779 was critical not only for neuronal differentiation but also for cell survival under limiting growth factor concentrations. PKCε can phosphorylate Ser 779 in vitro, whereas overexpression of PKCε results in constitutive Ser779 phosphorylation and enhanced PC12 cell differentiation. Furthermore, siRNA knockdown of PKCε reduces both growth factor-induced Ser779 phosphorylation and neuronal differentiation. Our findings show that in addition to FGFR tyrosine phosphorylation, the phosphorylation of a conserved serine residue, Ser779, can quantitatively control Ras/MAPK signaling to promote specific cellular responses. © 2013 by The American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Inc.

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