Mechanisms of action of fludarabine nucleoside against human Raji lymphoma cells: Nucleosides Nucleotides Nucleic Acids

Richard I. Christopherson, Swetlana Mactier, Juhura G. Almazi, Philippa L. Kohnke, O. Giles Best, Stephen P. Mulligan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Citations (Scopus)


Fludarabine (2-FaraAMP) is a purine analog that is effective against chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) and non-Hodgkins lymphoma (NHL). For some cases of CLL, 2-FaraAMP as a single agent can clear the blood of leukemia cells, but leukemia stem cells usually remain protected in sanctuary sites. It is clear that 2-FaraAMP has multiple mechanisms of action that may collectively result in strand breaks in DNA, accumulation of phosphorylated p53 and apoptosis. We have demonstrated using the human Burkitt's lymphoma B-cell line, Raji, that p53, p63 and p73 all accumulate in the nucleus, following treatment of cells with fludarabine nucleoside (2-FaraA). In addition, phosphorylated p53 accumulates in the cytosol and at mitochondria. Using sophisticated methods of proteomic analysis with mass spectrometry, proteins that become differentially abundant after treatment of cells with 2-FaraA have been identified, providing considerable additional information about the cellular responses of B-lymphoid cancers to this purine analog. The levels of proteins involved in the unfolded protein response increase, indicating that endoplasmic reticulum stress is likely to be one mechanism for induction of apoptosis. The levels of a number of proteins found on the outer plasma membrane change on cells treated with 2-FaraA, suggesting that signaling from the B-cell antigen receptor (BCR) is stimulated, resulting in induction of apoptosis through the intrinsic pathway. Increased levels of the cell surface proteins, CD50, CD100 and ECE-1, would promote survival of these cells; the balance between these survival and death responses would determine the fate of the cell.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)375-383
Number of pages9
JournalNucleosides Nucleotides and Nucleic Acids
Issue number4-6
Publication statusPublished - 2014
Externally publishedYes


  • Antineoplastic Agents/*pharmacology Cell Line, Tumor Endoplasmic Reticulum Stress/drug effects Humans Lymphoma/*pathology Tumor Suppressor Proteins/metabolism Unfolded Protein Response/drug effects Vidarabine/*analogs & derivatives/pharmacology B-lymphoid cancers fludarabine mechanisms proteomics purine analog
  • proteomics
  • fludarabine
  • B-lymphoid cancers
  • mechanisms
  • purine analog


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