J Cancer 2020; 11(11):3274-3287. doi:10.7150/jca.33110 This issue

Research Paper

The dual role of BI 2536, a small-molecule inhibitor that targets PLK1, in induction of apoptosis and attenuation of autophagy in neuroblastoma cells

Zhiheng Li1*, Chun Yang1*, Xiaolu Li1*, Xiaojuan Du2, Yanfang Tao1, Junli Ren3, Fang Fang1, Yi Xie1, Mei Li1, Guanghui Qian1, Lixiao Xu1, Xu Cao4, Yi Wu5, Haitao Lv6, Shaoyan Hu3, Jun Lu3✉, Jian Pan1✉

1. Institute of Pediatric Research, Children's Hospital of Soochow University, Suzhou 215003, China;
2. Department of Gastroenterology, The 5th Hospital of Chinese PLA, Yinchuan, Ningxia, China;
3. Department of Hematology and Oncology, Children's Hospital of Soochow University, Suzhou 215003, China.
4. Department of Pediatric Surgery, Children's Hospital of Soochow University, Suzhou 215003, China.
5. Department of Pathology, Children's Hospital of Soochow University, Suzhou 215003, China.
6. Department of Cardiology, Children's Hospital of Soochow University, Suzhou 215003, China.
*Contributed equally

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Citation:
Li Z, Yang C, Li X, Du X, Tao Y, Ren J, Fang F, Xie Y, Li M, Qian G, Xu L, Cao X, Wu Y, Lv H, Hu S, Lu J, Pan J. The dual role of BI 2536, a small-molecule inhibitor that targets PLK1, in induction of apoptosis and attenuation of autophagy in neuroblastoma cells. J Cancer 2020; 11(11):3274-3287. doi:10.7150/jca.33110. Available from https://www.jcancer.org/v11p3274.htm

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Abstract

Neuroblastoma (NB) is the most common extra-cranial solid tumor in childhood with the overall 5 years' survival less than 40%. Polo-like kinase 1 (PLK1) is a serine/threonine-protein kinase expressed during mitosis and over expressed in multiple cancers, including neuroblastoma. We found that higher PLK1 expression related to poor outcome of NB patients. BI2536, a small molecule inhibitor against PLK1, significantly reduced cell viability in a panel of NB cell lines, with IC50 less than 100 nM. PLK1 inhibition by BI 2536 treatment induced cell cycle arrest at G2/M phase and cell apoptosis in NB cells. Realtime PCR array revealed the PLK1 inhibition related genes, such as BIRC7, TNFSF10, LGALS1 and DAD1 et al. Moreover, autophagy activity was investigated in the NB cells treated with BI 2536. BI 2536 treatment in NB cells increased LC3-II puncta formation and LC3-II expression. Formation of autophagosome induced by BI 2536 was observed by transmission electron microscopy. However, BI2536 abrogated the autophagic flux in NB cells by reducing SQSTM1/p62 expression and AMPKαT172 phosphorylation. These results provide new clues for the molecular mechanism of cell death induced by BI 2536 and suggest that BI 2536 may act as new candidate drug for neuroblastoma.

Keywords: BI 2536, apoptosis, autophagy, neuroblastoma, polo-like kinase 1 (PLK1)