Saikosaponin D exhibits anti-leukemic activity by targeting FTO/m 6 A signaling

Kaiju Sun, Yangyang Du, Yuzhu Hou, Mingyue Zhao, Jiajia Li, Yazhe Du, Lingxiao Zhang, Changbao Chen, Hongmei Yang, Fei Yan, Rui Su
Theranostics 2021, 11 (12): 5831-5846
Purpose: The implementation of targeted therapies for acute myeloid leukemia (AML) has been challenging. Fat mass and obesity associated protein (FTO), an mRNA N6 -methyladenosine (m6 A) demethylase, functions as an oncogene that promotes leukemic oncogene-mediated cell transformation and leukemogenesis. Here, we investigated the role of Saikosaponin-d (SsD) in broad anti-proliferation effects in AML and evaluated the m6 A demethylation activity by targeting FTO of SsD. Methods: It was examined whether and how SsD regulates FTO/m6 A signaling in AML. The pharmacologic activities and mechanisms of actions of SsD in vitro , in mice, primary patient cells, and tyrosine kinase inhibitors-resistant cells were determined. Results: SsD showed a broadly-suppressed AML cell proliferation and promoted apoptosis and cell-cycle arrest both in vitro and in vivo . Mechanistically, SsD directly targeted FTO, thereby increasing global m6 A RNA methylation, which in turn decreased the stability of downstream gene transcripts, leading to the suppression of relevant pathways. Importantly, SsD also overcame FTO/m6 A-mediated leukemia resistance to tyrosine kinase inhibitors. Conclusion: Our findings demonstrated that FTO-dependent m6 A RNA methylation mediated the anti-leukemic actions of SsD, thereby opening a window to develop SsD as an epitranscriptome-base drug for leukemia therapy.

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