Blood cancer journal

Autophagy collaborates with ubiquitination to downregulate oncoprotein E2A/Pbx1 in B-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia.

PMID 25615280


B-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia (B-ALL) accounts for the most cancer incidences in children. We present here that autophagy is downregulated in pediatric B-ALL, suggesting a possible link between autophagy failure and pediatric B-ALL leukemogenesis. With a pediatric t(1;19) B-ALL xenograft mouse model, we show here that activation of autophagy by preventive administration of rapamycin improved the survival of leukemia animals by partial restoration of hematopoietic stem/progenitor cells, whereas treatment of the animals with rapamycin caused leukemia bone marrow cell-cycle arrest. Activation of autophagy in vitro or in vivo by rapamycin or starvation downregulated oncogenic fusion protein E2A/Pbx1. Furthermore, E2A/Pbx1 was found to be colocalized with autophagy marker LC3 in autolysosomes and with ubiquitin in response to autophagy stimuli, whereas autophagy or ubiquitination inhibitor blocked these colocalizations. Together, our data suggest a collaborative action between autophagy and ubiquitination in the degradation of E2A/Pbx1, thereby revealing a novel strategy for targeted preventive or treatment therapy on the pediatric ALL.