Cell death & disease

Functional phosphoproteomic analysis reveals cold-shock domain protein A to be a Bcr-Abl effector-regulating proliferation and transformation in chronic myeloid leukemia.

PMID 21368869


One proposed strategy to suppress the proliferation of imatinib-resistant cells in chronic myeloid leukemia (CML) is to inhibit key proteins downstream of Bcr-Abl. The PI3K/Akt pathway is activated by Bcr-Abl and is specifically required for the growth of CML cells. To identify targets of this pathway, we undertook a proteomic screen and identified several proteins that differentially bind 14-3-3, dependent on Bcr-Abl kinase activity. An siRNA screen of candidates selected by bioinformatics analysis reveals cold-shock domain protein A (CSDA), shown previously to regulate cell cycle progression in epithelial cells, to be a positive regulator of proliferation in a CML cell line. We show that Akt can phosphorylate the serine 134 residue of CSDA but, downstream of Bcr-Abl activity, this modification is mediated through the activation of MEK/p90 ribosomal S6 kinase (RSK) signaling. Inhibition of RSK, similarly to treatment with imatinib, blocked proliferation specifically in Bcr-Abl-positive leukemia cell lines, as well as cells from CML patients. Furthermore, these primary CML cells showed an increase in CSDA phosphorylation. Expression of a CSDA phospho-deficient mutant resulted in the decrease of Bcr-Abl-dependent transformation in Rat1 cells. Our results support a model whereby phosphorylation of CSDA downstream of Bcr-Abl enhances proliferation in CML cells to drive leukemogenesis.