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Bromodomains and Extra-Terminal (BET) Inhibitor JQ1 Suppresses Proliferation of Acute Lymphocytic Leukemia by Inhibiting c-Myc-Mediated Glycolysis

Meng-Yi Zhang, Sheng-Li Liu, Wen-Li Huang, Da-Bin Tang, Wei-Wei Zheng, Neng Zhou, Hang Zhou, Tuersunayi Abudureheman, Zhong-Hua Tang, Bin-Bing S. Zhou, Cai-Wen Duan

(Key Laboratory of Pediatric Hematology and Oncology Ministry of Health and Pediatric Translational Medicine Institute, Shanghai Children’s Medical Center, Shanghai Jiao Tong University School of Medicine, Shanghai, China (mainland))

Med Sci Monit 2020; 26:e923411

DOI: 10.12659/MSM.923411

BACKGROUND: Acute lymphocytic leukemia (ALL) is a common blood cancer which induces high mortality in children. Bromodomains and extra-terminal (BET) protein inhibitors, such as JQ1 and ARV-825, are promising cancer therapeutic agents that can be used by targeting c-Myc. A recent work reported that JQ1 effectively attenuates ALL in vitro by suppressing cell proliferation and accelerating apoptosis. The purpose of this research was to probe into the potential mechanism of how JQ1 inhibits ALL cell proliferation in vitro.
MATERIAL AND METHODS: Cell viability of ALL cells were measured by CTG after treatment by JQ1. Cell cycle analysis was done by EdU and PI staining. Cell apoptosis was assessed by Annexin V/PI staining. Glycolysis was detected using Seahorse and LC-MS kits. The expression of glycolytic rate-limiting enzymes was assessed by RNA-seq, qRT-PCR, and Western blot.
RESULTS: JQ1 suppressed cell proliferation by arresting the cell cycle and inducing the apoptosis of acute lymphocytic leukemia cells. JQ1 inhibited cell proliferation of B-ALL cells by restraining glycolysis. Conversely, the cell cycle block of B-ALL cells induced by JQ1 was partially abolished after pretreatment with 2-Deoxy-D-glucose (2-DG), an inhibitor of glycolysis. Furthermore, JQ1 restrained the glycolysis of B-ALL cell lines by remarkably downregulating the rate-limiting enzymes of glycolysis, such as hexokinase 2, phosphofructokinase, and lactate dehydrogenase A. Moreover, the cell cycle arrest was reversed in B-ALL cells with overexpressed c-Myc treated by JQ1, which is involved in the enhancement of glycolysis.
CONCLUSIONS: The BET inhibitor JQ1 suppresses the proliferation of ALL by inhibiting c-Myc-mediated glycolysis, thus providing a new strategy for the treatment of ALL.

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