Send to:

Choose Destination
See comment in PubMed Commons below
Acta Pharmacol Sin. 2013 Dec;34(12):1545-53. doi: 10.1038/aps.2013.124. Epub 2013 Nov 18.

Hsp90 inhibitor BIIB021 enhances triptolide-induced apoptosis of human T-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia cells in vitro mainly by disrupting p53-MDM2 balance.

Author information

  • 1Institute of Hematology, the First Affiliated Hospital, College of Medicine, Zhejiang University, Hangzhou 310003, China.



To investigate the effects of BIIB021, an inhibitor of heat shock protein 90 (Hsp90) alone or in combination with triptolide (TPL) on T-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia (T-ALL) and the mechanisms of action.


Human T-ALL cells line Molt-4 was examined. The cell viability was measured using MTT assay. Apoptotic cells were studied with Hoechst 33258 staining. Cell apoptosis and cell cycle were analyzed using flow cytometry with Annexin V/PI staining and PI staining, respectively. The levels of multiple proteins, including Akt, p65, CDK4/6, p18, Bcl-2 family proteins, MDM2, and p53, were examined with Western blotting. The level of MDM2 mRNA was determined using RT-PCR.


Treatment of Molt-4 cells with BIIB021 (50-800 nmol/L) inhibited the cell growth in a dose-dependent manner (the IC50 value was 384.6 and 301.8 nmol/L, respectively, at 48 and 72 h). BIIB021 dose-dependently induced G0/G1 phase arrest, followed by apoptosis of Molt-4 cells. Furthermore, BIIB021 increased the expression of p18, decreased the expression of CDK4/6, and activated the caspase pathway in Molt-4 cells. Moreover, BIIB021 (50-400 nmol/L) dose-dependently decreased the phospho-MDM2 and total MDM2 protein levels, but slightly increased the phospho-p53 and total p53 protein levels, whereas TPL (5-40 nmol/L) dose-dependently enhanced p53 activation without affecting MDM2 levels. Co-treatment with BIIB021 and TPL showed synergic inhibition on Molt-4 cell growth. The co-treatment disrupted p53-MDM2 balance, thus markedly enhanced p53 activation. In addition, the co-treatment increased the expression of Bak and Bim, followed by increased activation of caspase-9.


The combination of BIIB021 and TPL may provide a novel strategy for treating T-ALL by overcoming multiple mechanisms of apoptosis resistance.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article
PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons

How to join PubMed Commons

    Supplemental Content

    Full text links

    Icon for Nature Publishing Group Icon for PubMed Central
    Loading ...
    Write to the Help Desk