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Cancer biology & therapy

Rapid induction of apoptosis in chronic lymphocytic leukemia cells by the microtubule disrupting agent BNC105.


PMID 26891146

Abstract

Microtubule targeting agents, such as vinblastine, are usually thought to arrest cells in mitosis and subsequently induce apoptosis. However, they can also cause rapid induction of apoptosis in a cell-cycle phase independent manner. BNC105 is a novel vascular and microtubule disrupting drug that also induces apoptosis rapidly but with markedly increased potency compared to vinca alkaloids and combretastatin A4. BNC105 binds to the colchicine-binding site on tubulin resulting in activation of c-Jun N-terminal kinase (JNK), phosphorylation of ATF2, and induction of ATF3 and Noxa leading to acute apoptosis in chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) cells. Apoptosis induced by BNC105 is dependent upon both JNK activation and Noxa induction. Normal leukocytes and one CLL sample also exhibited JNK activation but not Noxa induction and were resistant to BNC105. This study emphasizes the importance of Noxa and JNK for induction of apoptosis in CLL cells by microtubule targeting drugs, and highlights the potential of BNC105 as a potent therapeutic to treat haematopoietic malignancies.

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