Scientific reports

Oridonin Triggers Chaperon-mediated Proteasomal Degradation of BCR-ABL in Leukemia.

PMID 28128329


Inducing degradation of oncoproteins by small molecule compounds has the potential to avoid drug resistance and therefore deserves to be exploited for new therapies. Oridonin is a natural compound with promising antitumor efficacy that can trigger the degradation of oncoproteins; however, the direct cellular targets and underlying mechanisms remain unclear. Here we report that oridonin depletes BCR-ABL through chaperon-mediated proteasomal degradation in leukemia. Mechanistically, oridonin poses oxidative stress in cancer cells and directly binds to cysteines of HSF1, leading to the activation of this master regulator of the chaperone system. The resulting induction of HSP70 and ubiquitin proteins and the enhanced binding to CHIP E3 ligase hence target BCR-ABL for ubiquitin-proteasome degradation. Both wild-type and mutant forms of BCR-ABL can be efficiently degraded by oridonin, supporting its efficacy observed in cultured cells as well as mouse tumor xenograft assays with either imatinib-sensitive or -resistant cells. Collectively, our results identify a novel mechanism by which oridonin induces rapid degradation of BCR-ABL as well as a novel pharmaceutical activator of HSF1 that represents a promising treatment for leukemia.