Predicting effective pro-apoptotic anti-leukaemic drug combinations using co-operative dynamic BH3 profiling

Published on 2018-01-03T18:39:24Z (GMT) by
<div><p>The BH3-only apoptosis agonists BAD and NOXA target BCL-2 and MCL-1 respectively and co-operate to induce apoptosis. On this basis, therapeutic drugs targeting BCL-2 and MCL-1 might have enhanced activity if used in combination. We identified anti-leukaemic drugs sensitising to BCL-2 antagonism and drugs sensitising to MCL-1 antagonism using the technique of dynamic BH3 profiling, whereby cells were primed with drugs to discover whether this would elicit mitochondrial outer membrane permeabilisation in response to BCL-2-targeting BAD-BH3 peptide or MCL-1-targeting MS1-BH3 peptide. We found that a broad range of anti-leukaemic agents–notably MCL-1 inhibitors, DNA damaging agents and FLT3 inhibitors–sensitise leukaemia cells to BAD-BH3. We further analysed the BCL-2 inhibitors ABT-199 and JQ1, the MCL-1 inhibitors pladienolide B and torin1, the FLT3 inhibitor AC220 and the DNA double-strand break inducer etoposide to correlate priming responses with co-operative induction of apoptosis. ABT-199 in combination with pladienolide B, torin1, etoposide or AC220 strongly induced apoptosis within 4 hours, but the MCL-1 inhibitors did not co-operate with etoposide or AC220. In keeping with the long half-life of BCL-2, the BET domain inhibitor JQ1 was found to downregulate BCL-2 and to prime cells to respond to MS1-BH3 at 48, but not at 4 hours: prolonged priming with JQ1 was then shown to induce rapid cytochrome C release when pladienolide B, torin1, etoposide or AC220 were added. In conclusion, dynamic BH3 profiling is a useful mechanism-based tool for understanding and predicting co-operative lethality between drugs sensitising to BCL-2 antagonism and drugs sensitising to MCL-1 antagonism. A plethora of agents sensitised cells to BAD-BH3-mediated mitochondrial outer membrane permeabilisation in the dynamic BH3 profiling assay and this was associated with effective co-operation with the BCL-2 inhibitory compounds ABT-199 or JQ1.</p></div>

Cite this collection

Grundy, Martin; Seedhouse, Claire; Jones, Thomas; Elmi, Liban; Hall, Michael; Graham, Adam; et al. (2018): Predicting effective pro-apoptotic anti-leukaemic drug combinations using co-operative dynamic BH3 profiling. PLOS ONE. Collection.