Paterson, Alexandra, Mockridge, C.I., Adams, Jemimah E., Krysov, Sergey, Potter, Kathleen N., Dunscombe, Melanie S., Cook, SJ, Stevenson, Freda K. and Packham, Graham
Mechanisms and clinical significance of BIM phosphorylation in chronic lymphocytic leukemia
Blood, 119, (7), . (doi:10.1182/blood-2011-07-367417). (PMID:22160382).
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B-cell receptor and microenvironment-derived signals promote accumulation of chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) cells through increased proliferation and/or decreased apoptosis. In this study, we investigated the regulation of BIM, a proapoptotic BCL2-related protein, which is tightly regulated by phosphorylation. Surface IgM stimulation increased phosphorylation of 2 BIM isoforms, BIMEL and BIML, in a subset of CLL samples. In contrast, in normal B cells, anti-IgM triggered selective phosphorylation of BIMEL only. In CLL, anti-IgM–induced BIM phosphorylation correlated with unmutated IGHV gene status and with progressive disease. Strikingly, it was also associated with progressive disease within the mutated IGHV gene subset. BIM phosphorylation was dependent on MEK1/2 kinase activity, and we identified BIMEL serine 69, previously linked to pro-survival responses, as the major site of phosphorylation in CLL and in Ramos cells. BIMEL/BIML phosphorylation was associated with release of the pro-survival protein MCL1. Coculture of CLL cells with HK cells, a model of the CLL microenvironment, promoted CLL cell survival and was associated with MEK1/2 activation and BIMEL phosphorylation. Hence, BIM phosphorylation appears to play a key role in apoptosis regulation in CLL cells, potentially coordinating antigen and microenvironment-derived survival signals. Antigen-mediated effects on BIM may be an important determinant of clinical behavior.
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