Mechanism and functional role of XIAP and Mcl-1 down-regulation in flavopiridol/vorinostat antileukemic interactions

Roberto R. Rosato, Jorge A. Almenara, Sarah S. Kolla, Sonia C. Maggio, Stefanie Coe, Maria S. Giménez, Paul Dent, Steven Grant

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63 Scopus citations


The mechanism and functional significance of XIAP and Mcl-1 down-regulation in human leukemia cells exposed to the histone deacetylase inhibitor vorinostat and the cyclindependent kinase inhibitor flavopiridol was investigated. Combined exposure of U937 leukemia cells to marginally toxic concentrations of vorinostat and flavopiridol resulted in a marked increase in mitochondrial damage and apoptosis accompanied by pronounced reductions in XIAP and Mcl-1 mRNA and protein. Down-regulation of Mcl-1 and XIAP expression by vorinostat/ flavopiridol was associated with enhanced inhibition of phosphorylation of RNA polymerase II and was amplified by caspase-mediated protein degradation. Chromatin immunoprecipitation analysis revealed that XIAP and Mcl-1 down-regulation were also accompanied by both decreased association of nuclear factor-κB (XIAP) and increased E2F1 association (Mcl-1) with their promoter regions, respectively. Ectopic expression of Mcl-1 but not XIAP partially protected cells from flavopiridol/vorinostat-mediated mitochondrial injury at 48 h, but both did not significantly restored clonogenic potential. Flavopiridol/ vorinostat-mediated transcriptional repression of XIAP, Mcl-1-enhanced apoptosis, and loss of clonogenic potential also occurred in primary acute myelogenous leukemia (AML) blasts. Together, these findings indicate that transcriptional repression of XIAP and Mcl-1 by flavopiridol/vorinostat contributes functionally to apoptosis induction at early exposures intervals and raise the possibility that expression levels may be a useful surrogate marker for activity in current trials.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)692-702
Number of pages11
JournalMolecular Cancer Therapeutics
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2007

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


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