Bcr/abl gene is derived from the t(9;22) reciprocal translocation and is present in most of chronic myelogenous leukemia (CML) and a cohort of acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) patients. BCR/ABL oncogenic tyrosine kinase modulates response to DNA damage inducing resistance to genotoxic therapies. In addition BCR/ABL stimulates genomic instability, which may lead to mutations in BCR/ABL kinase causing resistance to imatinib mesylate. We hypothesize that: BCR/ABL elevates the levels of reactive oxygen species (ROS) which induce "spontaneous" DNA lesions (for example uracil residues), whose unfaithful repair introduces amino acid substitutions in the BCR/ABL kinase domain causing resistance to IM. The role of ROS in generation of oxidative DNA damage leading to mutagenesis and resistance to imatinib mesylate will be studied in CML hematopoietic stem cells (HSC), common myeloid progenitor cells (CMP), and granulocyte/macrophage progenitor cells (GMP) using anti-oxidant approaches and in vitro and in vivo models of BCR/ABL leukemogenesis. The efficiency and fidelity of the mechanisms processing ROS-dependent oxidative DNA damage in BCR/ABL leukemia cells will be determined by studying base excision repair (BER), focusing on UDG glycosylase removing uracil residues. These reactions will be examined using well-defined reporter/substrate systems and a combination of different approaches including immunofluorescence, phosphorylation-less and interaction- deprived mutants, transgenic mice, and sequencing. BCR/ABL-UDG functional interaction will be investigated by mutagenesis and targeted by aptamers to inhibit resistance to imatinib mesylate.

Public Health Relevance

Imatinib mesylate (IM) revolutionized the treatment of BCR/ABL-positive leukemias such as chronic myelogenous leukemia (CML) and a cohort of acute lymphocytic leukemias (ALL). Unfortunately, reactive oxygen species (ROS) cause amino acid substitutions in the BCR/ABL kinase domain resulting in resistance to IM. We will determine if anti-oxidants are able to reduce mutations and IM resistance. In addition, we will examine the role of base excision repair in generation of these mutations. Results of our studies may lead to better treatment of BCR/ABL-positive leukemias.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Cancer Institute (NCI)
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Hematopoiesis Study Section (HP)
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Mufson, R Allan
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Temple University
Schools of Medicine
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Nieborowska-Skorska, M; Hoser, G; Hochhaus, A et al. (2013) Anti-oxidant vitamin E prevents accumulation of imatinib-resistant BCR-ABL1 kinase mutations in CML-CP xenografts in NSG mice. Leukemia 27:2253-4
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Slupianek, Artur; Poplawski, Tomasz; Jozwiakowski, Stanislaw K et al. (2011) BCR/ABL stimulates WRN to promote survival and genomic instability. Cancer Res 71:842-51
Virgili, Anna; Koptyra, Mateusz; Dasgupta, Yashodhara et al. (2011) Imatinib sensitivity in BCR-ABL1-positive chronic myeloid leukemia cells is regulated by the remaining normal ABL1 allele. Cancer Res 71:5381-6
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