Send to:

Choose Destination
See comment in PubMed Commons below
J Pharmacol Exp Ther. 1999 May;289(2):781-90.

Proteasome inhibition leads to significant reduction of Bcr-Abl expression and subsequent induction of apoptosis in K562 human chronic myelogenous leukemia cells.

Author information

  • 1Drug Discovery Program, H. Lee Moffitt Cancer Center and Research Institute, Department of Biochemistry, College of Medicine, University of South Florida, Tampa, Florida, USA.


The chimeric oncogene bcr-abl is detected in virtually every case of chronic myelogenous leukemia. It has been shown that cells (such as K562) expressing Bcr-Abl/p210, a protein tyrosine kinase, not only undergo cellular transformation but also demonstrate multiple drug resistance. Recent studies also demonstrate that the proteasome is involved in the survival signaling pathway(s). In the current study, we tested the hypothesis that the proteasome might play a role in regulating Bcr-Abl function. We have demonstrated by using a variety of inhibitors that inhibition of the proteasome, but not of the cysteine protease, activity is able to activate the apoptotic cell death program in K562 cells. Proteasome inhibition-induced apoptosis is demonstrated by condensation and fragmentation of nuclei, appearance of an apoptotic population with sub-G1 DNA content, the internucleosomal fragmentation of DNA, and cleavage of poly(ADP-ribose) polymerase, and can be blocked by a specific caspase-3-like tetrapeptide inhibitor. Western blot analysis with specific antibodies to c-Abl and Bcr proteins show that treatment of K562 cells with a proteasome inhibitor results in significant reduction of Bcr-Abl protein expression, which occurs several hours before the onset of apoptotic execution. Levels of c-Abl/p145 and Bcr/p160 proteins, however, remain essentially unaltered at that time. Furthermore, reduced Bcr-Abl expression is reflected in significantly attenuated Bcr-Abl-mediated protein tyrosine phosphorylation. Taken together, these results indicate that proteasome inhibition is sufficient to inactivate Bcr-Abl function and subsequently activate the apoptotic death program in cells that are resistant to apoptosis induced by chemotherapy.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
Free full text
PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons

How to join PubMed Commons

    Supplemental Content

    Full text links

    Icon for HighWire
    Loading ...
    Write to the Help Desk