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Simultaneous Inhibition of mTOR-Containing Complex 1 (mTORC1) and MNK Induces Apoptosis of Cutaneous T-Cell Lymphoma (CTCL) Cells
Published: Friday, September 16, 2011
Author: Michal Marzec et al.

by Michal Marzec, Xiaobin Liu, Maria Wysocka, Alain H. Rook, Niels Odum, Mariusz A. Wasik

Background

mTOR kinase forms the mTORC1 complex by associating with raptor and other proteins and affects a number of key cell functions. mTORC1 activates p70S6kinase 1 (p70S6K1) and inhibits 4E-binding protein 1 (4E-BP1). In turn, p70S6K1 phosphorylates a S6 protein of the 40S ribosomal subunit (S6rp) and 4E-BP1, with the latter negatively regulating eukaryotic initiation factor 4E (eIF-4E). MNK1 and MNK2 kinases phosphorylate and augment activity of eIF4E. Rapamycin and its analogs are highly specific, potent, and relatively non-toxic inhibitors of mTORC1. Although mTORC1 activation is present in many types of malignancies, rapamycin-type inhibitors shows relatively limited clinical efficacy as single agents. Initially usually indolent, CTCL displays a tendency to progress to the aggressive forms with limited response to therapy and poor prognosis. Our previous study (M. Marzec et al. 2008) has demonstrated that CTCL cells display mTORC1 activation and short-term treatment of CTCL-derived cells with rapamycin suppressed their proliferation and had little effect on the cell survival.

Methods

Cells derived from CTCL were treated with mTORC1 inhibitor rapamycin and MNK inhibitor and evaluated for inhibition of the mTORC1 signaling pathway and cell growth and survival.

Results

Whereas the treatment with rapamycin persistently inhibited mTORC1 signaling, it suppressed only partially the cell growth. MNK kinase mediated the eIF4E phosphorylation and inhibition or depletion of MNK markedly suppressed proliferation of the CTCL cells when combined with the rapamycin-mediated inhibition of mTORC1. While MNK inhibition alone mildly suppressed the CTCL cell growth, the combined MNK and mTORC1 inhibition totally abrogated the growth. Similarly, MNK inhibitor alone displayed a minimal pro-apoptotic effect; in combination with rapamycin it triggered profound cell apoptosis.

Conclusions

These findings indicate that the combined inhibition of mTORC1 and MNK may prove beneficial in the treatment of CTCL and other malignancies.

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