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PURPOSE: Bcr-Abl, the causative agent of chronic myelogenous leukemia (CML), localizes in the cytoplasm where its oncogenic signaling leads to proliferation of cells. If forced into the nucleus Bcr-Abl causes apoptosis. To achieve nuclear translocation, binding domains for capture of Bcr-Abl were generated and attached to proteins with signals destined for the nucleus. These resulting proteins would be capable of binding and translocating endogenous Bcr-Abl to the nucleus. METHODS: Bcr-Abl was targeted at 3 distinct domains for capture: by construction of high affinity intracellular antibody domains (iDabs) to regions of Bcr-Abl known to promote cytoplasmic retention, via its coiled coil domain (CC), and through a naturally occurring protein-protein interaction domain (RIN1). These binding domains were then tested for their ability to escort Bcr-Abl into the nucleus using a "protein switch" or attachment of 4 nuclear localization signals (NLSs). RESULTS: Although RIN1, ABI7-iDab, and CCmut3 constructs all produced similar colocalization with Bcr-Abl, only 4NLS-CCmut3 produced efficient nuclear translocation of Bcr-Abl. CONCLUSIONS: We demonstrate that a small binding domain can be used to control the subcellular localization of Bcr-Abl, which may have implications for CML therapy. Our ultimate future goal is to change the location of critical proteins to alter their function.

Original publication




Journal article


Pharm Res

Publication Date





1098 - 1109


Animals, Apoptosis, Binding Sites, COS Cells, Cell Growth Processes, Cell Nucleus, Cells, Cultured, Chlorocebus aethiops, Cytoplasm, Fusion Proteins, bcr-abl, Humans, Leukemia, Myelogenous, Chronic, BCR-ABL Positive, Mice, Protein Binding, Protein Interaction Domains and Motifs, Protein Structure, Tertiary, Protein Transport, Signal Transduction