Research Papers:

eIF4B is a convergent target and critical effector of oncogenic Pim and PI3K/Akt/mTOR signaling pathways in Abl transformants

Ke Chen, Jianling Yang, Jianning Li, Xuefei Wang, Yuhai Chen, Shile Huang and Ji-Long Chen _

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Oncotarget. 2016; 7:10073-10089. https://doi.org/10.18632/oncotarget.7164

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Ke Chen1, Jianling Yang1,3, Jianning Li1, Xuefei Wang1, Yuhai Chen1, Shile Huang4, Ji-Long Chen1,2

1CAS Key Laboratory of Pathogenic Microbiology and Immunology, Institute of Microbiology, Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS), Beijing 100101, China

2College of Animal Sciences, Fujian Agriculture and Forestry University, Fuzhou 350002, China

3Key Laboratory of Immune Mechanism and Intervention on Serious Disease in Hebei Province, Department of Immunology, Hebei Medical University, Shijiazhuang 050017, China

4Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center, Shreveport, LA 71130, USA

Correspondence to:

Ji-Long Chen, e-mail: [email protected]

Keywords: Abl oncogene, eIF4B, Pim kinase, AKT, tumorigenesis

Received: October 21, 2015    Accepted: January 24, 2016    Published: February 03, 2016


Activation of eIF4B correlates with Abl-mediated cellular transformation, but the precise mechanisms are largely unknown. Here we show that eIF4B is a convergent substrate of JAK/STAT/Pim and PI3K/Akt/mTOR pathways in Abl transformants. Both pathways phosphorylated eIF4B in Abl-transformed cells, and such redundant regulation was responsible for the limited effect of single inhibitor on Abl oncogenicity. Persistent inhibition of one signaling pathway induced the activation of the other pathway and thereby restored the phosphorylation levels of eIF4B. Simultaneous inhibition of the two pathways impaired eIF4B phosphorylation more effectively, and synergistically induced apoptosis in Abl transformed cells and inhibited the growth of engrafted tumors in nude mice. Similarly, the survival of Abl transformants exhibited a higher sensitivity to the pharmacological inhibition, when combined with the shRNA-based silence of the other pathway. Interestingly, such synergy was dependent on the phosphorylation status of eIF4B on Ser422, as overexpression of eIF4B phosphomimetic mutant S422E in the transformants greatly attenuated the synergistic effects of these inhibitors on Abl oncogenicity. In contrast, eIF4B knockdown sensitized Abl transformants to undergo apoptosis induced by the combined blockage. Collectively, the results indicate that eIF4B integrates the signals from Pim and PI3K/Akt/mTOR pathways in Abl-expressing leukemic cells, and is a promising therapeutic target for such cancers.

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