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J Cell Commun Signal. 2012 Mar;6(1):27-35. doi: 10.1007/s12079-011-0142-2. Epub 2011 Jul 20.

CCN3 suppresses mitogenic signalling and reinstates growth control mechanisms in Chronic Myeloid Leukaemia.

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  • 1School of Biomedical and Biological Sciences, Portland Square, University of Plymouth, Drake Circus, Plymouth, PL4 8AA, UK.


CCN3, a tumour suppressor gene, is down-regulated as a result of BCR-ABL tyrosine kinase activity in Chronic Myeloid Leukaemia (CML). We have established a stable CCN3 expression model in the human K562 CML cell line and have further validated the role for CCN3 in the leukaemogenic process. K562 cells stably transfected with CCN3 (K562/CCN3; 2.25 × 10(6) copies per 50 ng cDNA) demonstrated over 50% reduction in cell growth in comparison to cells stably transfected with empty vector (K562/control; p = 0.005). K562/CCN3 cells had reduced colony formation capacity (reduced by 29.7%, p = 0.03) and reduced mitogenic signalling in comparison to K562/control cells (reduced by 29.5% (p = 0.002) and 37.4% (p = 0.017) for phosphorylation levels of ERK and AKT respectively). K562/CCN3 cells showed an accumulation of events within the subG(0) phase of the cell cycle and increased apoptosis was confirmed by a three-fold increase in annexin V binding (p < 0.05). K562/CCN3 cells exposed to Imatinib (1 μM and 5 μM) showed an increase in events within the subG(0) phase of cell cycle over 96 h and mirrored the enhanced cell kill demonstrated by Annexin staining. Wild type K562 cells treated with recombinant human Ccn3 (10 nM) in combination with Imatinib (5 μM) also displayed enhanced cell kill (p = 0.008). K562/CCN3 cells displayed increased adhesion to matrigel™ (2.92 ± 0.52 fold increase compared to K562/control) which was commensurate with increased expression of the alpha 6 and beta 4 integrins (6.53 ± 0.47 and 1.94 ± 0.07 fold increase in gene expression respectively (n = 3, p < 0.05)). CCN3 restores cellular growth regulatory properties that are absent in CML and sensitises CML cells to imatinib induced apoptosis. CCN3 may provide novel avenues for the development of alternate therapeutic strategies.

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