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Leukemia. 2011 Jul;25(7):1135-46. doi: 10.1038/leu.2011.50. Epub 2011 Apr 15.

GSI-I (Z-LLNle-CHO) inhibits γ-secretase and the proteosome to trigger cell death in precursor-B acute lymphoblastic leukemia.

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Department of Pathology, University of New Mexico Health Sciences Center, Albuquerque, NM 87131, USA.


Gamma secretase inhibitors (GSIs) comprise a growing class of compounds that interfere with the membrane-bound Notch signaling protein and its downstream intra-nuclear transcriptional targets. As GSI-I (Z-LLNle-CHO) is also a derivative of a widely used proteosome inhibitor MG-132, we hypothesized that this compound might be active in precursor-B acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) cell lines and patient samples. We found that GSI-I treatment of precursor-B ALL blasts induced apoptotic cell death within 18-24 h. With confirmation using RNA and protein analyses, GSI-I blocked nuclear accumulation of cleaved Notch1 and Notch2, and inhibited Notch targets Hey2 and Myc. Microarray analyses of 207 children with high-risk precursor-B ALL demonstrate that Notch pathway expression is a common feature of these neoplasms. However, microarray studies also implicated additional transcriptional targets in GSI-I-dependent cell death, including genes in the unfolded protein response, nuclear factor-κB and p53 pathways. Z-LLNle-CHO blocks both γ-secretase and proteosome activity, inducing more robust cell death in precursor-B ALL cells than either proteosome-selective or γ-secretase-selective inhibitors alone. Using Z-LLNle-CHO in a nonobese diabetes/severe combined immunodeficiency (NOD/SCID) precursor-B ALL xenograft model, we found that GSI-I alone delayed or prevented engraftment of B-lymphoblasts in 50% of the animals comprising the experimental group, suggesting that this compound is worthy of additional testing.

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