Immunomodulatory effect of NEDD8-activating enzyme inhibition in Multiple Myeloma: upregulation of NKG2D ligands and sensitization to Natural Killer cell recognition

Sara Petillo, Cristina Capuano, Rosa Molfetta, Cinzia Fionda, Abdelilah Mekhloufi, Chiara Pighi, Fabrizio Antonangeli, Alessandra Zingoni, Alessandra Soriani, Maria Teresa Petrucci, Ricciarda Galandrini, Rossella Paolini, Angela Santoni, Marco Cippitelli

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Multiple Myeloma (MM) is an incurable hematologic malignancy of terminally differentiated plasma cells (PCs), where immune interactions play a key role in the control of cancer cell growth and survival. In particular, MM is characterized by a highly immunosuppressive bone marrow microenvironment where the anticancer/cytotoxic activity of Natural Killer (NK) cells is impaired. This study is focused on understanding whether modulation of neddylation can regulate NK cell-activating ligands expression and sensitize MM to NK cell killing. Neddylation is a post-translational modification that adds a ubiquitin-like protein, NEDD8, to selected substrate proteins, affecting their stability, conformation, subcellular localization, and function. We found that pharmacologic inhibition of neddylation using a small-molecule inhibitor, MLN4924/Pevonedistat, increases the expression of the NK cell-activating receptor NKG2D ligands MICA and MICB on the plasma membrane of different MM cell lines and patient-derived PCs, leading to enhanced NK cell degranulation. Mechanistically, MICA expression is upregulated at mRNA level, and this is the result of an increased promoter activity after the inhibition of IRF4 and IKZF3, two transcriptional repressors of this gene. Differently, MLN4924/Pevonedistat induced accumulation of MICB on the plasma membrane with no change of its mRNA levels, indicating a post-translational regulatory mechanism. Moreover, inhibition of neddylation can cooperate with immunomodulatory drugs (IMiDs) in upregulating MICA surface levels in MM cells due to increased expression of CRBN, the cellular target of these drugs. In summary, MLN4924/Pevonedistat sensitizes MM to NK cell recognition, adding novel information on the anticancer activity of neddylation inhibition.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)836
JournalCell death & disease
Volume12
Issue number9
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Sep 4 2021

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