The analysis of Bcr-Abl—Nox signalling in chronic myeloid leukaemia

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Landry, William D.
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University College Cork
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Chronic Myeloid Leukaemia (CML) is a myeloproliferative disorder characterised by increased proliferation of haematopoietic stem cells. CML results following generation of the chimeric protein Bcr-Abl, a constitutively active tyrosine kinase which induces oncogenesis in part by promoting increased cell survival and proliferation. Since the development of Bcr-Abl-specific tyrosine kinase inhibitors (TKIs) there has been a substantial improvement in the clinical treatment of CML. Unfortunately, residual disease and the development of TKI resistance has become an ever growing concern, resulting in the need for a greater understanding of the disease in order to develop new treatment strategies. Interestingly, constitutive expression of the Bcr-Abl in CML is known to produce elevated levels of Reactive Oxygen Species (ROS) which are known to influence a variety of cellular processes. Previous studies have demonstrated that NADPH oxidase (Nox) activity contributes to intracellular-ROS levels in Bcr-Abl-positive cells, enhancing survival signalling. The objective of this study was to elucidate how Nox protein activity was influenced downstream of Bcr-Abl while examining how Nox-derived ROS influenced CML disease phenotype to identify the potential in targeting these proteins to improve CML treatment. These studies demonstrated that inhibition of Bcr-Abl signalling, led to a significant reduction in ROS levels which was concurrent with the GSK-3dependent, post-translational down-regulation of the small membrane-bound protein p22phox, an essential component of the Nox complex. siRNA knockdown of p22phox identified it to have a significant role in cellular proliferation and cell viability, demonstrating the importance of Nox protein activity in CML disease phenotype. Furthermore, removal of p22phox was demonstrated to make cells significantly more susceptible to Bcr-Abl-specific TKI treatment, while pharmacological silencing of Nox activity in combination with TKIs was demonstrated to produce substantial, synergistic increases in cell death through augmentation of apoptosis, demonstrating the therapeutic potential of targeting Nox proteins in combination with Bcr-Abl inhibition.
Bcr-Abl , Nox , p22phox , Imatinib , Combination , Nilotinib , ROS , DPI , CML , Chronic myeloid leukaemia , Reactive oxygen species , NADPH oxidase
Landry, W.D. 2013. The analysis of Bcr-Abl—Nox signalling in chronic myeloid leukaemia. PhD Thesis, University College Cork.