Adaptor protein Lnk negatively regulates not only several hematopoietic cytokine receptors including MPL, EpoR and c-Kit, but also non-receptor tyrosine kinases such as JAK2 and Src. Our previous studies demonstrated that Lnk, when expressed in hematopoietic cell lines, binds and regulates the mutant proteins, JAK2V617F and MPLW515L. Recent in vivo studies have shown that Lnk has an important role in the development of myeloproliferative neoplasms. These data suggest that Lnk may have the ability to inhibit constitutively activated signaling pathways in hematopoietic malignancies. However, how Lnk can attenuate the activity of Bcr-Abl is unclear.
In the present study, we tested the hypothesis that Lnk might play a role in regulating Bcr-Abl function. In order to assess if Lnk can inhibit the proliferation of Bcr-Abl-positive hematopoietic cells, Bcr-Abl-expressing BaF3 cells were stably transfected with either Lnk (BaF3/Bcr-Abl/Lnk) or vector only (BaF3/ Bcr-Abl). Colony-formation assays revealed that Lnk significantly inhibited the proliferation of Bcr-Abl-expressing BaF3 cells. Similarly, overexpression of Lnk inhibited growth in the human CML cell line, K562. To determine the cause of growth inhibition by Lnk, assays for apoptosis were performed. Annexin V staining demonstrated that Lnk overexpression induced apoptosis in Bcr-Abl-expressing BaF3 cells. Western blotting analysis of protein lysates from BaF3/ Bcr-Abl /Lnk cells and BaF3/ Bcr-Abl cells found that Lnk-mediated growth inhibition was associated with downregulation of the Stat5 signaling pathway, but not associated with MAPK and PI3K signaling pathways. In addition, experiments in 293T cells expressing Bcr-Abl and Stat5 with either wild-type Lnk or SH2 mutant Lnk revealed that wild-type Lnk, but not SH2 mutant Lnk, inhibited phosphorylation of Stat5. Interestingly, Lnk inhibited Bcr-Abl-induced Stat5 phosphorylation in a dose-dependent manner. These data suggest that the SH2 domain of Lnk is essential for Lnk–mediated downregulation of the Stat5 signaling pathway in Bcr-Abl-positive cells.
Taken together, our data suggest that Lnk inhibits Bcr-Abl-induced cell proliferation by attenuating the Stat5 signal transduction and may become a therapeutic target for Bcr-Abl-positive leukemias such as chronic myeloid leukemia and Philadelphia chromosome positive acute lymphoblastic leukemia.
No relevant conflicts of interest to declare.
Asterisk with author names denotes non-ASH members.