Bortezomib-mediated downregulation of S-phase kinase protein-2 (SKP2) causes apoptotic cell death in chronic myelogenous leukemia cells

Ahmad Iskandarani, Ajaz Ahmad Bhat, Kodappully S. Siveen, Kirti S. Prabhu, Shilpa Kuttikrishnan, Muzammil A. Khan, Roopesh Krishnankutty, Michal Kulinski, Rihab R. Nasr, Ramzi M. Mohammad, Shahab Uddin

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13 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Proteasome inhibitors are attractive cancer therapeutic agents because they can regulate apoptosis-related proteins. Bortezomib also known as Velcade®, a proteasome inhibitor that has been approved by the food and drug administration for treatment of patients with multiple myeloma, and many clinical trials are ongoing to examine to the efficacy of bortezomib for the treatment of other malignancies. Bortezomib has been shown to induce apoptosis and inhibit cell growth of many cancer cells. In current study, we determine whether bortezomib induces cell death/apoptosis in CML. Methods: Cell viability was measured using MTT assays. Apoptosis was measured by annexin V/PI dual staining and DNA fragmentation assays. Immunoblotting was performed to examine the expression of proteins. Colony assays were performed using methylcellulose. Results: Treatment of CML cells with bortezomib results in downregulation of S-phase kinase protein 2 (SKP2) and concomitant stabilization of the expression of p27Kip1. Furthermore, knockdown of SKP2 with small interference RNA specific for SKP2 caused accumulation of p27Kip1. CML cells exposed to bortezomib leads to conformational changes in Bax protein, resulting in loss of mitochondrial membrane potential and leakage of cytochrome c to the cytosol. In the cytosol, cytochrome c causes sequential activation of caspase-9, caspase-3, PARP cleavage and apoptosis. Pretreatment of CML cells with a universal inhibitor of caspases, z-VAD-fmk, prevents bortezomib-mediated apoptosis. Our data also demonstrated that bortezomib treatment of CML downregulates the expression of inhibitor of apoptosis proteins. Finally, inhibition of proteasome pathways by bortezomib suppresses colony formation ability of CML cells. Conclusions: Altogether, these findings suggest that bortezomib suppresses the cell proliferation via induction of apoptosis in CML cells by downregulation of SKP2 with concomitant accumulation of p27Kip1, suggesting that proteasomal pathway may form novel therapeutic targets for better management of CML.

Original languageEnglish
Article number69
JournalJournal of Translational Medicine
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 9 Mar 2016
Externally publishedYes



  • Apoptosis
  • P27Kip1
  • Proteasome pathway
  • SKP2
  • Velcade

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)

Cite this

Iskandarani, A., Bhat, A. A., Siveen, K. S., Prabhu, K. S., Kuttikrishnan, S., Khan, M. A., Krishnankutty, R., Kulinski, M., Nasr, R. R., Mohammad, R. M., & Uddin, S. (2016). Bortezomib-mediated downregulation of S-phase kinase protein-2 (SKP2) causes apoptotic cell death in chronic myelogenous leukemia cells. Journal of Translational Medicine, 14(1), [69].