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Blood. 2008 Jan 15;111(2):846-55. Epub 2007 Oct 10.

The Akt/Mcl-1 pathway plays a prominent role in mediating antiapoptotic signals downstream of the B-cell receptor in chronic lymphocytic leukemia B cells.

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  • 1International Centre for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology Molecular Hematology Group, Campus A. Buzzati-Traverso, Rome, Italy.

Abstract

Sustained engagement of the B-cell receptor (BCR) increases apoptosis resistance in chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) B cells, whereas transient stimulation usually has an opposite effect. The antiapoptotic BCR signal has been associated with prolonged activation of the PI3K/Akt and MEK/ERK pathways, which are key regulators of survival and proliferation in various cell types. To further define the relative contribution of the Akt and ERK kinases in regulating CLL B-cell survival, we introduced constitutively active mutants of Akt and MEK in primary CLL B cells and evaluated changes in the expression of relevant pro- and antiapoptotic proteins. Sustained activation of Akt resulted in increased leukemic cell viability and increased expression of the antiapoptotic proteins Mcl-1, Bcl-xL, and X-linked inhibitor of apoptosis protein (XIAP), thus largely recapitulating the effects of sustained BCR stimulation. Constitutively active MEK2 also up-regulated XIAP, but did not show a significant impact on leukemic cell survival. Down-regulation of Mcl-1 by siRNA treatment induced rapid and potent apoptosis in CLL B cells and blocked the antiapoptotic effect of sustained BCR stimulation, whereas down-regulation of Bcl-xL and XIAP did not affect leukemic cell viability. These data demonstrate that Akt and Mcl-1 are major components of a survival pathway that can be activated in CLL B cells by antigen stimulation.

PMID:
17928528
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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