Analysis of determinants for in vitro resistance to the small molecule deubiquitinase inhibitor b-AP15

Arjan Mofers, Paola Perego, Karthik Selvaraju, Laura Gatti, Joachim Gullbo, Stig Linder, Padraig D’Arcy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background b-AP15/VLX1570 are small molecule inhibitors of the ubiquitin specific peptidase 14 (USP14) and ubiquitin carboxyl-terminal hydrolase 5 (UCHL5) deubiquitinases (DUBs) of the 19S proteasome. b-AP15/VLX1570 have been shown to be cytotoxic to cells resistant to bortezomib, raising the possibility that this class of drugs can be used as a second-line therapy for treatment-resistant multiple myeloma. Limited information is available with regard to potential resistance mechanisms to b-AP15/VLX1570. Results We found that b-AP15-induced cell death is cell-cycle dependent and that non-cycling tumor cells may evade b-AP15-induced cell death. Such non-cycling cells may re-enter the proliferative state to form colonies of drug-sensitive cells. Long-term selection of cells with bAP15 resulted in limited drug resistance (~2-fold) that could be reversed by buthionine sulphoximine, implying altered glutathione (GSH) metabolism as a resistance mechanism. In contrast, drug uptake and overexpression of drug efflux transporters were found not to be associated with b-AP15 resistance. Conclusions The proteasome DUB inhibitors b-AP15/VLX1570 are cell cycle-active. The slow and incomplete development of resistance towards these compounds is an attractive feature in view of future clinical use.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0223807
JournalPLoS One
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - Jan 1 2019

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)
  • General

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