Biochemical and Biophysical Research Communications, Vol.298, No.3, 338-344, 2002
Resistance to mitochondrial- and Fas-mediated apoptosis in human leukemic cells with acquired resistance to 9-beta-D-arabinofuranosylguanosine
We have previously reported that in a MOLT-4 leukemia cell line the acquired resistance to 9-beta-D-arabinofuranosylguanine (Ara-G) is due to deficiency of the activating enzymes deoxyguanosine kinase and deoxycytidine kinase [Biochem. Biophys. Res. Commun. 293 (5) (2002) 1489]. In this study we investigated whether apoptotic pathways are affected in two human T-cell lymphoblastic MOLT-4 cell lines with acquired resistance to Ara-G. In contrast to the MOLT-4 wild type cells, Ara-G resistant cells displayed no increase in caspase-3 or caspase-9 activity, DNA fragmentation, cytochrome c release or a drop in the mitochondrial membrane potential (DeltaPsi(mito)) upon Ara-G treatment. A drop in the DeltaPsi(mito) was induced in wild type cells after treatment with tributyltin, an inducer of mitochondrial permeability transition, and with carbonyl cyanide m-chlorophenylhydrazone, an uncoupling agent that reduces the DeltaPsi(mito), although not in Ara-G resistant cells. Ara-G resistant cells displayed higher levels of the antiapoptotic protein Bcl-xL in immunoblots. A recent study indicates that Ara-G-induced apoptosis is mediated in part via the Fas pathway [Cancer Res. 43 (2047) (2002) 411]. When cells were treated with anti-Fas antibody, the wild type cell line exhibited increased caspase-3-like activity but the Ara-G resistant cells did not. Using FACS analysis and semi-quantitative PCR, 3-6-fold decreased protein levels and almost no detectable mRNA levels of Fas in the resistant cells were recorded. These data indicate that the inability to induce apoptosis via both the apoptosome pathway and the Fas pathway, due to increased levels of Bcl-xL and a lack of Fas, contributes to Ara-G resistance. This resistance to apoptosis in Ara-G resistant cells may serve to explain the overall resistance to a variety of anti-neoplastic drugs. (C) 2002 Elsevier Science (USA). All rights reserved.