Chronic myeloid leukemia (CML) is the myeloproliferative disease characterised by presence of BCR-ABL tyrosine kinase, which has been proved to play the basic role in CML ontogenesis. BCR-ABL as well as other kinases active during disease progression (e.g. Src kinase) belong to HSP90 client proteins. It is known, that HSP90 protein is overexpressed in cancer cells and leukemias and is related to therapy resistance in CML cells (Gorre et.al. Blood 2002;100:3041-3044).
HSP90 exists in two isoforms: alpha - inducible and beta – constitutively expressed. Taherian et.al. (Biochemistry and Cell Biology, 2008, 86:(1) 37–45) demonstrated that Hsp90α and Hsp90β exhibit similar interactions with cochaperones, but significantly different substrate specificity under stress conditions. Those results reveal both functional similarities and key functional differences between the individual members of this protein family.
In our previous study we found high protein expression of total HSP90 in leukocytes of CML patients in advanced disease states and in patients with poor responses (Zackova et.al. EHA 2011). The HSP90 seems to be an indicator of disease deterioration in patients with chronic myeloid leukemia.
In the current study, we extended our field of interest on HSP90 isoforms alpha and beta on mRNA level. We aimed to find out possible correlation between protein and mRNA expression levels, as well as between mRNA levels and response to the therapy. We wondered to know whether the monitoring of total HSP90 or its isoforms in CML can early predict the disease deterioration.
We tested HSP90 alpha and HSP90 beta mRNA expression levels in patients with various response of CML by real-time RT-PCR method. The mRNA profiles showed high similarity with the data obtained from previous western blot analyses. The analyses showed that high HSP90 levels are associated with poor response to therapy and in advanced disease phases. These levels are probably represented by HSP90-beta isoform (constitutively expressed), which is expressed in higher levels comparing to HSP90 alpha in all samples tested. Expression of HSP90 alpha isoform is much lower while its mRNA expression level highly increases only in blast crisis.
Studying both isoformes separately could distinguish various mechanisms in disease progression.
The results of this and previous studies suggest HSP90 (on protein and mRNA levels) is an important molecule for studying of prognosis in CML patients. Thus HSP90 appears to be a candidate for novel marker of CML progression.
No relevant conflicts of interest to declare.
Supported by MZO 00023736, NT12392
Asterisk with author names denotes non-ASH members.