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Mutation and translocation of fibroblast growth factor receptors often lead to aberrant signaling and cancer. This work focuses on the t(8;22)(p11;q11) chromosomal translocation which creates the breakpoint cluster region (BCR) fibroblast growth factor receptor1 (FGFR1) (BCR-FGFR1) fusion protein. This fusion occurs in stem cell leukemia/lymphoma, which can progress to atypical chronic myeloid leukemia, acute myeloid leukemia, or B-cell lymphoma. This work focuses on the biochemical characterization of BCR-FGFR1 and identification of novel therapeutic targets. The tyrosine kinase activity of FGFR1 is required for biological activity as shown using transformation assays, interleukin-3 independent cell proliferation, and liquid chromatography/mass spectroscopy analyses. Furthermore, BCR contributes a coiled-coil oligomerization domain, also essential for oncogenic transformation by BCR-FGFR1. The importance of salt bridge formation within the coiled-coil domain is demonstrated, as disruption of three salt bridges abrogates cellular transforming ability. Lastly, BCR-FGFR1 acts as a client of the chaperonin heat shock protein 90 (Hsp90), suggesting that BCR-FGFR1 relies on Hsp90 complex to evade proteasomal degradation. Transformed cells expressing BCR-FGFR1 are sensitive to the Hsp90 inhibitor Ganetespib, and also respond to combined treatment with Ganetespib plus the FGFR inhibitor BGJ398. Collectively, these data suggest novel therapeutic approaches for future stem cell leukemia/lymphoma treatment: inhibition of BCR oligomerization by disruption of required salt bridges; and inhibition of the chaperonin Hsp90 complex. Copyright© 2020 Ferrata Storti Foundation.


Malalage N Peiris, April N Meyer, Katelyn N Nelson, Ezra W Bisom-Rapp, Daniel J Donoghue. Oncogenic fusion protein BCR-FGFR1 requires the breakpoint cluster region-mediated oligomerization and chaperonin Hsp90 for activation. Haematologica. 2020 May;105(5):1262-1273

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PMID: 31439673

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