Sawney S, Arora R, Aggarwal KK, Saluja D
One of the most frequent genetic aberrations in acute myeloid leukemia (AML) is chromosomal translocation between AML1/RUNX1 on chromosome 21 and ETO gene on chromosome 8 resulting in the expression of chimeric oncogene AML1-ETO. Although patients with t(8;21) translocation have good prognosis, 5-year survival is observed only in 50% of the cases. AML1-ETO translocation is usually accompanied by overexpression of mutant C-Kit, a tyrosine kinase, which contributes to uncontrolled proliferation of premature blood cells leading to relapse and poor prognosis. We illustrate the potential use of esculetin on leukemic cell line, Kasumi-1, bearing t(8;21) translocation and mutated C-Kit gene. Esculetin decreases the expression of AML1-ETO at both protein and transcript level within 24 hours of treatment. Half-life of AML1-ETO mRNA was reduced from 7 hours to 1.5 hours. Similarly half-life of C-Kit mRNA was reduced to 2 hours from 5 hours in esculetin treated cells. Esculetin also perturbed the expression of ectopically expressed AML1-ETO in U937 cells. The decreased expression of AML1-ETO chimeric gene was associated with increased expression of LAT1 and RUNX3 genes, targets of AML1. We envisage that discovery of a drug candidate which could target both these mutated genes would be a considerable breakthrough for future application.