The novel receptor tyrosine kinase Axl is constitutively active in B-cell chronic lymphocytic leukemia and acts as a docking site of nonreceptor kinases: Implications for therapy

Asish K. Ghosh, Charla Secreto, Justin Boysen, Traci Sassoon, Tait D. Shanafelt, Debabrata Mukhopadhyay, Neil E. Kay

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

80 Scopus citations


Recently, we detected that chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) B-cell-derived microvesicles in CLL plasma carry a constitutively phosphorylated novel receptor tyrosine kinase (RTK), Axl, indicating that Axl was acquired from the leukemic B cells. To examine Axl status in CLL, we determined the expression of phosphorylated-Axl (P-Axl) in freshly isolated CLL B cells by Western blot analysis. We detected differential levels of P-Axl in CLL B cells, and further analysis showed that expression of P-Axl was correlated with the other constitutively phosphorylated kinases, including Lyn, phosphoinositide-3 kinase, SyK/ζ-associated protein of 70 kDa, phospholipase C γ2 in CLL B cells. We found that these intracellular signaling molecules were complexed with P-Axl in primary CLL B cells. When Axl and Src kinases were targeted by a Src/Abl kinase inhibitor, bosutinib (SKI-606), or a specific-inhibitor of Axl (R428), robust induction of CLL B-cell apoptosis was observed in both a dose- and time-dependent manner. Therefore, we have identified a novel RTK in CLL B cells which appears to work as a docking site for multiple non-RTKs and drives leukemic cell survival signals. These findings highlight a unique target for CLL treatment.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1928-1937
Number of pages10
Issue number6
StatePublished - Feb 10 2011


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Immunology
  • Hematology
  • Cell Biology

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