We provide evidence that arsenic trioxide (As2O3) targets the BCR-ABL oncoprotein via a novel mechanism involving p62/ SQSTM1-mediated localization of the oncoprotein to the autolysosomes and subsequent degradation mediated by the protease cathepsin B. Our studies demonstrate that inhibitors of autophagy or cathepsin B activity and/or molecular targeting of p62/SQSTM1, Atg7, or cathepsin B result in partial reversal of the suppressive effects of AS2O3 on BCR-ABL expressing leukemic progenitors, including primitive leukemic precursors from chronic myelogenous leukemia (CML) patients. Altogether, these findings indicate that autophagic degradation of BCR-ABL is critical for the induction of the antileukemic effects of As2O3 and raise the potential for future therapeutic approaches to target BCR-ABL expressing cells by modulating elements of the autophagic machinery to promote BCR-ABL degradation.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cell Biology