New insights into Notch1 regulation of the PI3K-AKT-mTOR1 signaling axis: targeted therapy of γ-secretase inhibitor resistant T-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia

Eric C Hales, Jeffrey W Taub, Larry H Matherly
Cellular Signalling 2014, 26 (1): 149-61
T-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia (T-ALL) is characterized as a high-risk stratified disease associated with frequent relapse, chemotherapy resistance, and a poorer prognostic outlook than B-precursor ALL. Many of the challenges in treating T-ALL reflect the lack of prognostic cytogenetic or molecular abnormalities on which to base therapy, including targeted therapy. Notch1 activating mutations were identified in more than 50% of T-ALL cases and can be therapeutically targeted with γ-secretase inhibitors (GSIs). Mutant Notch1 can activate cMyc and PI3K-AKT-mTOR1 signaling in T-ALL. In T-ALLs with wild-type phosphatase and tensin homolog deleted on chromosome ten (PTEN), Notch1 transcriptionally represses PTEN, an effect reversible by GSIs. Notch1 also promotes growth factor receptor (IGF1R and IL7Rα) signaling to PI3K-AKT. Loss of PTEN is common in primary T-ALLs due to mutation or posttranslational inactivation and results in chronic activation of PI3K-AKT-mTOR1 signaling, GSI-resistance, and repression of p53-mediated apoptosis. Notch1 itself might regulate posttranslational inactivation of PTEN. PP2A is activated by Notch1 in PTEN-null T-ALL cells, and GSIs reduce PP2A activity and increase phosphorylation of AKT, AMPK, and p70S6K. This review focuses on the central role of the PI3K-AKT-mTOR1 signaling in T-ALL, including its regulation by Notch1 and potential therapeutic interventions, with emphasis on GSI-resistant T-ALL.


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