Overexpression of Mcl-1 confers multidrug resistance, whereas topoisomerase IIβ downregulation introduces mitoxantrone-specific drug resistance in acute myeloid leukemia

David L. Hermanson, Sonia G. Das, Yunfang Li, Chengguo Xing

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

31 Scopus citations

Abstract

Drug resistance is a serious challenge in cancer treatment and can be acquired through multiple mechanisms. These molecular changes may introduce varied extents of resistance to different therapies and need to be characterized for optimal therapy choice. A recently discovered small molecule, ethyl-2-amino-6-(3,5-dimethoxyphenyl)-4-(2-ethoxy-2-oxoethyl) -4H-chromene-3-carboxylate) (CXL017), reveals selective cytotoxicity toward drug-resistant leukemia. A drug-resistant acute myeloid leukemia cell line, HL60/MX2, also failed to acquire resistance to CXL017 upon chronic exposure and regained sensitivity toward standard therapies. In this study, we investigated the mechanisms responsible for HL60/MX2 cells' drug resistance and the molecular basis for its resensitization. Results show that the HL60/MX2 cell line has an elevated level of Mcl-1 protein relative to the parental cell line, HL60, and its resensitized cell line, HL60/MX2/CXL017, whereas it has a reduced level of topoisomerase IIβ. Mcl-1 overexpression in HL60/MX2 cells is mainly regulated through phospho-extracellular signal-regulated protein kinases 1 and 2-mediated Mcl-1 stabilization, whereas the reduction of topoisomerase IIβ in HL60/MX2 cells is controlled through genetic downregulation. Upregulating Mcl-1 introduces multidrug resistance to standard therapies, whereas its downregulation results in significant cell death. Downregulating topoisomerase IIβ confers resistance specifically to mitoxantrone, not to other topoisomerase II inhibitors. Overall, these data suggest that Mcl-1 overexpression is a critical determinant for cross-resistance to standard therapies, whereas topoisomerase IIβ downregulation is specific to mitoxantrone resistance.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)236-243
Number of pages8
JournalMolecular Pharmacology
Volume84
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Aug 2013

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