Identification of the Molecular Mechanisms Responsible for the Inhibition of Homing of AML Cells Triggered by CD44-Ligation

  • Ablah Al-Jifri

Student thesis: Master's Thesis


Acute Myeloid Leukemia (AML) is a cancerous disease that is defined by the inability to produce functional and mature blood cells, as well as the uncontrolled proliferation due to failure to undergo apoptosis of abnormal cells. The most common therapy for Leukemia, chemotherapy, has proven only to be partially efficient since it does not target the leukemic stem cells (LSCs) that have a high self-renewal and repopulation capacity and result in remission of the disease. Therefore targeting LSCs will provide more efficient therapy. One way to achieve this would be to inhibit their homing capability to the bone marrow. It has recently been shown that CD44, an adhesive molecule, plays a crucial role in cell trafficking and lodgement of both normal and leukemic stem cells. More importantly anti-CD44 monoclonal antibodies, along with its ability to induce differentiation of leukemic blasts, it inhibits specifically the homing capacity of LSCs to their micro-environmental niches. However, these molecular mechanisms that underlie the inhibition of homing have yet to be determined. To address these questions we conducted in vitro adhesion and blot-rolling assays to analyze the adherence and rolling capacity of these LSCs before and after treatment with anti-CD44 monoclonal antibody (mAb). Since glycosyltransferases play a crucial role in post translational carbohydrate decoration on adhesion molecules, we analyzed the expression (using quantitative PCR) of the different glycosyltransferases expressed in LSC's before and after CD44 ligation (mAb treatment). Furthermore, we analyzed differentiation by flow cytometric analysis of treated and non-treated LSC's. We anticipate that our results will set forth new insights into targeted therapies for AML.
Date of AwardAug 3 2011
Original languageEnglish (US)
Awarding Institution
  • Biological, Environmental Sciences and Engineering
SupervisorJasmeen Merzaban (Supervisor)

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