Gubat J, Selvaraju K, Sjöstrand L, Kumar Singh D, Turkina MV, Schmierer B, Sabatier P, Zubarev RA, Linder S, D'Arcy P
Front Oncol 12 (-) 852980 [2022-04-22; online 2022-04-22]
Dienone compounds have been demonstrated to display tumor-selective anti-cancer activity independently of the mutational status of TP53. Previous studies have shown that cell death elicited by this class of compounds is associated with inhibition of the ubiquitin-proteasome system (UPS). Here we extend previous findings by showing that the dienone compound b-AP15 inhibits proteasomal degradation of long-lived proteins. We show that exposure to b-AP15 results in increased association of the chaperones VCP/p97/Cdc48 and BAG6 with proteasomes. Comparisons between the gene expression profile generated by b-AP15 to those elicited by siRNA showed that knock-down of the proteasome-associated deubiquitinase (DUB) USP14 is the closest related to drug response. USP14 is a validated target for b-AP15 and we show that b-AP15 binds covalently to two cysteines, Cys203 and Cys257, in the ubiquitin-binding pocket of the enzyme. Consistent with this, deletion of USP14 resulted in decreased sensitivity to b-AP15. Targeting of USP14 was, however, found to not fully account for the observed proteasome inhibition. In search for additional targets, we utilized genome-wide CRISPR/Cas9 library screening and Proteome Integral Solubility Alteration (PISA) to identify mechanistically essential genes and b-AP15 interacting proteins respectively. Deletion of genes encoding mitochondrial proteins decreased the sensitivity to b-AP15, suggesting that mitochondrial dysfunction is coupled to cell death induced by b-AP15. Enzymes known to be involved in Phase II detoxification such as aldo-ketoreductases and glutathione-S-transferases were identified as b-AP15-targets using PISA. The finding that different exploratory approaches yielded different results may be explained in terms of a "target" not necessarily connected to the "mechanism of action" thus highlighting the importance of a holistic approach in the identification of drug targets. We conclude that b-AP15, and likely also other dienone compounds of the same class, affect protein degradation and proteasome function at more than one level.