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Activation of orphan receptor GPR132 induces cell differentiation in acute myeloid leukemia

Published date

November 1, 2022


Blocked cellular differentiation is a critical pathologic hallmark of acute myeloid leukemia (AML). Here, we showed that genetic activation of the orphan GPCR GPR132 significantly induced cell differentiation of AML both in vitro and in vivo, indicating that GPR132 is a potential trigger of myeloid differentiation. To explore the therapeutic potential of GPR132 signaling, we screened and validated a natural product 8-gingerol (8GL) as a GPR132 agonist. Notably, GPR132 activation by 8GL promoted differentiation and reduced colony formation in human AML cell lines with diverse genetic profiles. Mechanistic studies revealed that 8GL treatment inhibits the activation of the mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR), a regulator of AML cell differentiation blockade, via activating GPR132-Gs-PKA pathway. We further showed that the combination of 8GL and an mTOR inhibitor synergistically elicited AML cell differentiation in vitro. Importantly, 8GL alone or in combination with an mTOR inhibitor remarkably impaired tumor growth and extended mouse survival in an AML xenograft model accompanied by enhanced cell differentiation. Notably, genetic or pharmacological activation of GPR132 triggered the differentiation of human primary AML cells. In summary, this study demonstrated that activation of orphan GPR132 represents a potential strategy for inducing myeloid differentiation in AML patients.


Chunyang Yi, Jiacheng He, Dan Huang, Yumiao Zhao, Chan Zhang, Xiyun Ye, Ying Huang, Ruth Nussinov, Junke Zheng, Mingyao Liu, Weiqiang Lu

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