UBC Faculty Research and Publications

Clinical Insights into Structure, Regulation, and Targeting of ABL Kinases in Human Leukemia Wu, Andrew; Liu, Xiaohu; Fruhstorfer, Clark; Jiang, Xiaoyan


Chronic myeloid leukemia is a multistep, multi-lineage myeloproliferative disease that originates from a translocation event between chromosome 9 and chromosome 22 within the hematopoietic stem cell compartment. The resultant fusion protein BCR::ABL1 is a constitutively active tyrosine kinase that can phosphorylate multiple downstream signaling molecules to promote cellular survival and inhibit apoptosis. Currently, tyrosine kinase inhibitors (TKIs), which impair ABL1 kinase activity by preventing ATP entry, are widely used as a successful therapeutic in CML treatment. However, disease relapses and the emergence of resistant clones have become a critical issue for CML therapeutics. Two main reasons behind the persisting obstacles to treatment are the acquired mutations in the ABL1 kinase domain and the presence of quiescent CML leukemia stem cells (LSCs) in the bone marrow, both of which can confer resistance to TKI therapy. In this article, we systemically review the structural and molecular properties of the critical domains of BCR::ABL1 and how understanding the essential role of BCR::ABL1 kinase activity has provided a solid foundation for the successful development of molecularly targeted therapy in CML. Comparison of responses and resistance to multiple BCR::ABL1 TKIs in clinical studies and current combination treatment strategies are also extensively discussed in this article.

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