The BH3-only protein Bim plays a critical role in leukemia cell death triggered by concomitant inhibition of the PI3K/Akt and MEK/ERK1/2 pathways

Mohamed Rahmani, Anh Anderson, Joseph Reza Habibi, Timothy Ryan Crabtree, Mandy Mayo, Hisashi Harada, Andrea Ferreira-Gonzalez, Paul Dent, Steven Grant

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

70 Scopus citations

Abstract

Mechanisms underlying apoptosis induced by concomitant interruption of the mitogen-activated protein kinase kinase/ extracellular signal-regulated kinase 1/2 (MEK/ERK1/2) and phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase (PI3K)/Akt pathways were investigated in human leukemia cells. Inhibition of these pathways using the MEK inhibitor PD184352 or U0126 and the PI3K/ Akt inhibitor perifosine strikingly induced apoptosis in multiple malignant human hematopoietic cells, and substantially reduced the colony-forming capacity of primary acute myeloblastic leukemia, but not normal CD34+ cells. These events were associated with pronounced Bim up-regulation, Mcl-1 down-regulation, marked Bak/Bax conformational change accompanied by Bax membrane translocation, and a pronounced increase in Bax/Bak association. Molecular studies using tet-inducible Akt, constitutively active MEK1, dominant-negative Akt, and MEK1 small interfering RNA revealed that inhibition of both MEK/ERK1/2 and Akt pathways plays a critical functional role in perifosine/PD184352-mediated lethality. Ectopic Mcl-1 expression potently inhibited perifosine/PD184352- induced apoptosis, as did Bak or Bax knockdown. Notably, knockdown of Bim, but not Bad, blocked Bak and Bax conformational change, inhibited Bax membrane translocation, diminished Bax/Bak binding, and sharply attenuated perifosine/PD184352-induced apoptosis. Finally, enforced expression of Bim significantly enhanced apoptosis induced by PI3K/Akt inhibitors, analogous to the effects of MEK1/2 inhibitors. Collectively, these findings suggest that Bim, and Mcl-1, but not Bad, integrate death signaling triggered by concomitant disruption of the PI3K/Akt and MEK1/2/ ERK1/2 pathways in human leukemia cells.

Original languageBritish English
Pages (from-to)4507-4516
Number of pages10
JournalBlood
Volume114
Issue number20
DOIs
StatePublished - 12 Nov 2009

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