Downregulation of Mcl-1 through GSK-3β activation contributes to arsenic trioxide-induced apoptosis in acute myeloid leukemia cells

R. Wang, L. Xia, J. Gabrilove, S. Waxman, Y. Jing

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

71 Scopus citations

Abstract

Arsenic trioxide (ATO) induces disease remission in acute promyelocytic leukemia (APL) patients, but not in non-APL acute myeloid leukemia (AML) patients. ATO at therapeutic concentrations (1-2 μM) induces APL NB4, but not non-APL HL-60, cells to undergo apoptosis through the mitochondrial pathway. The role of antiapoptotic protein Mcl-1 in ATO-induced apoptosis was determined. The levels of Mcl-1 were decreased in NB4, but not in HL-60, cells after ATO treatment through proteasomal degradation. Both glycogen synthase kinase-3β (GSK-3β) inhibitor SB216763 and siRNA blocked ATO-induced Mcl-1 reduction as well as attenuated ATO-induced apoptosis in NB4 cells. Silencing Mcl-1 sensitized HL-60 cells to ATO-induced apoptosis. Both ERK and AKT inhibitors decreased Mcl-1 levels and enhanced ATO-induced apoptosis in HL-60 cells. Sorafenib, an Raf inhibitor, activated GSK-3β by inhibiting its phosphorylation, decreased Mcl-1 levels and decreased intracellular glutathione levels in HL-60 cells. Sorafenib plus ATO augmented reactive oxygen species production and apoptosis induction in HL-60 cells and in primary AML cells. These results indicate that ATO induces Mcl-1 degradation through activation of GSK-3β in APL cells and provide a rationale for utilizing ATO in combination with sorafenib for the treatment of non-APL AML patients.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)315-324
Number of pages10
JournalLeukemia
Volume27
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Feb 2013

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