Background: To investigate the effects of small interference RNA (siRNA) targeting BCR/ABL mRNA on proliferation and apoptosis in the K562 human chronic myeloid leukemia (CML) cell line and to provide a theoretical rationale and experimental evidence for its potential clinical application for anti-CML treatment.Materials and
Methods: The gene sequence for BCR/ABL mRNA was found from the GeneBank. The target gene site on the BCR/ABL mRNA were selected according to Max-Planck-Institute (MPI) and rational siRNA design rules, the secondary structure of the candidate targeted mRNA was predicted, the relevant thermodynamic parameters were analyzed, and the targeted gene sequences were compared with BLAST to eliminate any sequences with significant homology. Inhibition of proliferation was evaluated by MTT assay and colony-formation inhibiting test. Apoptosis was determined by flow cytometry (FCM) and the morphology of apoptotic cells was identified by Giemsa-Wright staining. Western blotting was used to analyze the expression of BCR/ABL fusionprotein in K562 cells after siRNA treatment.
Results: The mRNA local secondary structure calculated by RNA structure software, and the optimal design of specific siRNA were contributed by bioinformatics rules. Five sequences of BCR/ABL siRNAs were designed and synthesized in vitro. Three sequences, siRNA1384, siRNA1276 and siRNA1786, which showed the most effective inhibition of K562 cell growth, were identified among the fivecandidate siRNAs, with a cell proliferative inhibitory rate nearly 50% after exposure to 12.5nmol/L~50nmol/L siRNA1384 for 24,48 and 72 hours. The 50% inhibitory concentrations (IC50) of siRNA1384, siRNA1276 and siRNA1786 for 24hours were 46.6 nmol/L, 59.3 nmol/L and 62.6 nmol/L, respectively, and 65.668 nmol/L, 76.6nmol/L, 74.4 nmol/L for 72 hours. The colony-formation inhibiting test also indicated that, compared with control, cell growth of siRNA treated group was inhibited. FCM results showed that the rate of cell apoptosis increased 24 hours after transfecting siRNA. The results of annexinV/PI staining indicated that the rate of apoptosis imcreased (1.53%, 15.3%, 64.5%, 57.5% and 21.5%) following treamtne with siRNAs (siRNA34, siRNA372, siRNA1384, siRNA1276 and siRNA1786). Morphological analysis showed td typical morphologic changes ofapoptosis such as shrunken, fragmentation nucleus as well as “apoptotic bodies” after K562 cell exposure to siRNA. Western blot analysis showed that BCR/ABL protein was reduced sharply after a single dose of 50nmol/L siRNA transfection.
Conclusions: Proliferation of K562 cells was remarkbly inhibited by siRNAs (siRNA1384, siRNA1276 and siRNA1786) in a concentration-dependent manner in vitro, with effective induction of apoptosis at a concentration of 50 nmol/L. One anti-leukemia mechanism in K562 cells appeared that BCR/ABL targeted protein was highly down-regulated. The siRNAs (siRNA1384, siRNA1276 and siRNA1786) may prove valuable in the treatment of CML.