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Sep 30, 2009 at 14:31 o\clock

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Sep 21, 2009 at 02:20 o\clock

The tyrosine kinase Syk regulates the survival of chronic lymphocytic leukemia B cells through PKC and proteasome-dependent regulation of Mcl-1 expression

B-cell chronic lymphocytic leukemia (B-CLL) is characterized by accumulation of mature monoclonal CD5+ B cells. The disease results mainly from a failure of cells to undergo apoptosis, a process largely influenced by the existence of constitutively activated components of B-cell receptor signaling and the deregulated expression of anti-apoptotic molecules. Recent evidence pointing to a critical role of spleen tyrosine kinase (Syk) in ligand-independent BCR signaling prompted us to examine its role in primary B-CLL cell survival. We demonstrate that pharmacological inhibition of constitutive Syk activity and silencing by siRNA led to a dramatic decrease of cell viability in CLL samples (n=44), regardless of clinical and biological status and induced typical apoptotic cell death with mitochondrial failure followed by caspase 3-dependent cell death. We also provide functional and biochemical evidence that Syk regulated B-CLL cell survival through a novel pathway involving PKC and a proteasome-dependent regulation of the anti-apoptotic protein Mcl-1. Together, our observations are consistent with a model wherein PKC downstream of Syk stabilizes Mcl-1 through inhibitory phosphorylation of GSK3 by Akt. We conclude that Syk constitutes a key regulator of B-CLL cell survival, emphasizing the clinical utility of Syk inhibition in hematopoietic malignancies