Primate Monocytes - CD14, CD16 - Ziegler-Heitbrock


Side-by-side comparison of BH3-mimetics identifies MCL-1 as a key therapeutic target in AML.


Despite advances in the treatment of acute myeloid leukemia (AML), prognosis of AML patients is still dismal and better treatment options are required. B-cell Lymphoma 2 (BCL-2) homology domain 3 (BH3)-mimetics are emerging as a novel class of apoptosis-inducing agents that are currently being tested for the treatment of different hematological malignancies including AML. Particularly, the selective BCL-2 inhibitor ABT-199/Venetoclax is demonstrating clinical responses and has recently been approved in combination for the treatment of AML. Compounds targeting the related protein MCL-1 have recently entered clinical trials, highlighting the urgency to compare the different BH3-mimetics and identify the most promising antiapoptotic target in AML. We performed a side-by-side comparison of different highly selective and potent BH3-mimetics targeting BCL-2 (ABT-199), MCL-1 (S63845) or BCL-xL (A1331852) in a panel of AML cell lines and primary patient cells. Gene knockdown using siRNAs was utilized to investigate the functional relevance of BCL-2 proteins. Western blotting and immunoprecipitations were used to explore the influence of BH3-mimetics on interactions between pro- and antiapoptotic BCL-2 proteins. A1331852 induced apoptosis only in selected cases, indicating that BCL-xL is not a very promising therapeutic target in AML. However, S63845 displayed higher potency than ABT-199, with more cell lines and primary cells responding to S63845 than to ABT-199. MCL-1 dependency in AML cells was confirmed by siRNA-mediated knockdown of MCL-1, which was sufficient to induce apoptosis. S63845-induced cell death was accompanied by a displacement of the BH3-only protein BIM as well as BAK, resulting in BAK-dependent apoptosis. In contrast, ABT-199-induced cell death was mediated by BAX rather than BAK, indicating distinct non-redundant molecular functions of BCL-2 and MCL-1 in AML. Our study reveals that MCL-1 may be a more prevalent therapeutic target than BCL-2 in AML and identifies BIM and BAK as important mediators of S63845-induced apoptosis in AML.

Authors: Ewald L, Dittmann J, Vogler M, Fulda S
Journal: Cell Death Dis. 2019 Dec 4;10(12):917. doi: 10.1038/s41419-019-2156-2.
Year: 2019
PubMed: PMID: 31801941 (Go to PubMed)