Interconnecting molecular pathways in the pathogenesis and drug sensitivity of T-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia. Academic Article uri icon


  • To identify dysregulated pathways in distinct phases of NOTCH1-mediated T-cell leukemogenesis, as well as small-molecule inhibitors that could synergize with or substitute for gamma-secretase inhibitors (GSIs) in T-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia (T-ALL) therapy, we compared gene expression profiles in a Notch1-induced mouse model of T-ALL with those in human T-ALL. The overall patterns of NOTCH1-mediated gene expression in human and mouse T-ALLs were remarkably similar, as defined early in transformation in the mouse by the regulation of MYC and its target genes and activation of nuclear factor-kappaB and PI3K/AKT pathways. Later events in murine Notch1-mediated leukemogenesis included down-regulation of genes encoding tumor suppressors and negative cell cycle regulators. Gene set enrichment analysis and connectivity map algorithm predicted that small-molecule inhibitors, including heat-shock protein 90, histone deacetylase, PI3K/AKT, and proteasome inhibitors, could reverse the gene expression changes induced by NOTCH1. When tested in vitro, histone deacetylase, PI3K and proteasome inhibitors synergized with GSI in suppressing T-ALL cell growth in GSI-sensitive cells. Interestingly, alvespimycin, a potent inhibitor of the heat-shock protein 90 molecular chaperone, markedly inhibited the growth of both GSI-sensitive and -resistant T-ALL cells, suggesting that its loss disrupts signal transduction pathways crucial for the growth and survival of T-ALL cells.

publication date

  • January 1, 2010

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