Bcr-Abl-expressing primary or cultured leukemia cells display high levels of the antiapoptotic heat shock protein (hsp) 70 and are resistant to cytarabine (Ara-C), etoposide, or Apo-2L/TRAIL (TNF-related apoptosis-inducing ligand)-induced apoptosis. Conversely, a stable expression of the cDNA of hsp70 in the reverse orientation attenuated not only hsp70 but also signal transducers and activators of transcription 5 (STAT5) and Bcl-xL levels. This increased apoptosis induced by cytarabine, etoposide, or Apo-2L/TRAIL. Ectopic expression of hsp70 in HL-60 cells (HL-60/hsp70) inhibited Ara-C and etoposide-induced Bax conformation change and translocation to the mitochondria; attenuated the accumulation of cytochrome c, Smac, and Omi/HtrA2 in the cytosol; and inhibited the processing and activity of caspase-9 and caspase-3. Hsp70 was bound to death receptors 4 and 5 (DR4 and DR5) and inhibited Apo-2L/ TRAIL-induced assembly and activity of the death-inducing signaling complex (DISC). HL-60/hsp70 cells exhibited increased levels and DNA binding activity of STAT5, which was associated with high levels of Pim-2 and Bcl-xL and resistance to apoptosis. Expression of the dominant negative (DN) STAT5 resensitized HL-60/ hsp70 cells to cytarabine, etoposide, and Apo-2L/TRAIL-induced apoptosis. Collectively, these findings suggest that hsp70 inhibits apoptosis upstream and downstream of the mitochondria and is a promising therapeutic target for reversing drug-resistance in chronic myeloid leukemia-blast crisis and acute myeloid leukemia cells.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cell Biology