In this study, we attempt to target both the urokinase plasminogen activator and the mitogen-activated protein kinase pathway in acute myeloid leukemia (AML) cell lines and primaryAMLblasts using PrAgU2/LF, a urokinase-activated anthrax lethal toxin. PrAgU2/LF was cytotoxic to five out of nine AML cell lines. Cytotoxicity of PrAgU2/LF appeared to be nonapoptotic andwas associated withMAPKactivation and urokinase activity because all the PrAgU2/LF-sensitive cell lines showed both uPAR expression and high levels ofMEK1/2 phosphorylation. Inhibition of uPAR or desensitization of cells to MEK1/2 inhibition blocked toxicity of PrAgU2/LF, indicating requirement for both uPAR expression and MAPK activation for activity. PrAgU2/LF was also cytotoxic to primary blasts from AML patients, with blasts from four out of five patients showing a cytotoxic response to PrAgU2/LF. Cytotoxicity of primary AML blasts was also dependent on uPAR expression and phos-MEK1/2 levels. CD34+ bone marrow blasts and peripheral blood mononuclear cells lacked uPAR expression and were resistant to PrAgU2/LF, demonstrating the lack of toxicity to normal hematological cells and, therefore, the tumor selectivity of this approach. Dose escalation in mice revealed that the maximal tolerated dose of PrAgU2/LF is at least 5.7- fold higher than that of the wild-type anthrax lethal toxin, PrAg/LF, further demonstrating the increased safety of this molecule.Wehaveshown, in thisstudy, thatPrAgU2/LFisanovel, dual-specific molecule for the selective targeting ofAML.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cancer Research