Role for the proapoptotic factor BIM in mediating imatinib-induced apoptosis in a c-KIT-dependent gastrointestinal stromal tumor cell line

Peter M. Gordon, David E. Fisher

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

28 Scopus citations

Abstract

The c-KIT receptor tyrosine kinase is constitutively activated and oncogenic in the majority of gastrointestinal stromal tumors. The identification of selective inhibitors of c-KIT, such as imatinib, has provided a novel therapeutic approach in the treatment of this chemotherapy refractory tumor. However, despite the clinical importance of these findings and the potential it provides as a model system for understanding targeted therapy, this approach has not yielded curative outcomes in most patients, and the biochemical pathways connecting c-KIT inhibition to cell death are not completely understood. Here, we show that inhibition of c-KIT with imatinib in gastrointestinal stromal tumors (GISTs) triggered the up-regulation of the proapoptotic protein BIM via both transcriptional and post-translational mechanisms. The inhibition of c-KIT by imatinib increased levels of the dephosphorylated and deubiquitinated form of BIM as well as triggered the accumulation of the transcription factor FOXO3a on the BIM promoter to activate transcription of BIM mRNA. Furthermore, using RNA interference directed against BIM, we demonstrated that BIM knockdown attenuated the effects of imatinib, suggesting that BIM functionally contributes to imatinib-induced apoptosis in GIST. The identification and characterization of the pathways that mediate imatinib-induced cell death in GIST provide for a better understanding of targeted therapy and may facilitate the development of new therapeutic approaches to further exploit these pathways.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)14109-14114
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Biological Chemistry
Volume285
Issue number19
DOIs
StatePublished - May 7 2010

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