Importin β1 regulates cell growth and survival during adult T cell leukemia/lymphoma therapy


Invest New Drugs. 2020 Sep 21. doi: 10.1007/s10637-020-01007-z. Online ahead of print.


There is no cure for adult T cell leukemia/lymphoma (ATLL) associated with human T cell leukemia virus type 1 (HTLV-1), and novel targeted strategies are needed. NF-κB and AP-1 are crucial for ATLL, and both are transported to the nucleus by an importin (IPO)α/β heterodimeric complex to activate target genes. In this study, we aimed to elucidate the function of IPOβ1 in ATLL. The expression of IPOβ1 was analyzed by western blotting and RT-PCR. Cell growth, viability, cell cycle, apoptosis and

intracellular signaling cascades were examined by the water-soluble tetrazolium-8 assay, flow cytometry and western blotting. Xenograft tumors in severe combined immune deficient mice were used to evaluate the growth of ATLL cells in vivo. IPOβ1 was upregulated in HTLV-1-infected T cell lines. Further, IPOβ1 knockdown or the IPOβ1 inhibitor importazole and the IPOα/β1 inhibitor ivermectin reduced HTLV-1-infected T cell proliferation. However, the effect of inhibitors on uninfected T cells was less pronounced. Further, in HTLV-1-infected T cell lines, inhibitors suppressed NF-κB and AP-1 nuclear transport and DNA binding, induced apoptosis and poly (ADP-ribose) polymerase cleavage, and activated caspase-3, caspase-8 and caspase-9. Inhibitors also mediated G1 cell cycle arrest. Moreover, the expression of NF-κB- and AP-1-target proteins involved in cell cycle and apoptosis was reduced. In vivo, the IPOα/β1 inhibitor ivermectin decreased ATLL tumor burden without side effects. IPOβ1 mediated NF-κB and AP-1 translocation into ATLL cell nuclei, thereby regulating cell growth and survival, which provides new insights for targeted ATLL therapies. Thus, ivermectin, an anti-strongyloidiasis medication, could be a potent anti-ATLL agent.