Elucidation of focal adhesion kinase as a modulator of migration and invasion and as a potential therapeutic target in chronic lymphocytic leukemia

Burley, Thomas A, Hesketh, Andrew, Bucca, Giselda, Kennedy, Emma, Ladikou, Eleni E, Towler, Benjamin P, Mitchell, Simon, Smith, Colin P, Fegan, Christopher, Johnston, Rosalynd, Pepper, Andrea and Pepper, Chris (2022) Elucidation of focal adhesion kinase as a modulator of migration and invasion and as a potential therapeutic target in chronic lymphocytic leukemia. Cancers, 14 (7). a1600 1-16. ISSN 2072-6694

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The retention and re-migration of Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia cells into cytoprotective and proliferative lymphoid niches is thought to contribute to the development of resistance, leading to subsequent disease relapse. The aim of this study was to elucidate the molecular processes that govern CLL cell migration to elicit a more complete inhibition of tumor cell migration. We compared the phenotypic and transcriptional changes induced in CLL cells using two distinct models designed to recapitulate the peripheral circulation, CLL cell migration across an endothelial barrier, and the lymph node interaction between CLL cells and activated T cells. Initially, CLL cells were co-cultured with CD40L-expressing fibroblasts and exhibited an activated B-cell phenotype, and their transcriptional signatures demonstrated the upregulation of pro-survival and anti-apoptotic genes and overrepresentation of the NF-κB signaling pathway. Using our dynamic circulating model, we were able to study the transcriptomics and miRNomics associated with CLL migration. More than 3000 genes were altered when CLL cells underwent transendothelial migration, with an overrepresentation of adhesion and cell migration gene sets. From this analysis, an upregulation of the FAK signaling pathway was observed. Importantly, PTK2 (FAK) gene expression was significantly upregulated in migrating CLL cells (PTK2 Fold-change = 4.9). Here we demonstrate that TLR9 agonism increased levels of p-FAK (p ≤ 0.05), which could be prevented by pharmacological inhibition of FAK with defactinib (p ≤ 0.01). Furthermore, a reduction in CLL cell migration and invasion was observed when FAK was inhibited (p ≤ 0.0001), supporting a role for FAK in both CLL migration and tissue invasion. When taken together, our data highlights the potential for combining FAK inhibition with current targeted therapies as a more effective treatment regime for CLL.

Item Type: Article
Schools and Departments: Brighton and Sussex Medical School > Clinical and Experimental Medicine
SWORD Depositor: Mx Elements Account
Depositing User: Mx Elements Account
Date Deposited: 13 Apr 2022 07:08
Last Modified: 13 Apr 2022 07:15
URI: http://sro.sussex.ac.uk/id/eprint/105294

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