Comprehensive Target Screening and Cellular Profiling of the Cancer-Active Compound b-AP15 Indicate Abrogation of Protein Homeostasis and Organelle Dysfunction as the Primary Mechanism of Action.

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.

Bioinformatics Compute and Storage [Service]

PubMed 35530310

DOI 10.3389/fonc.2022.852980

Crossref 10.3389/fonc.2022.852980

pmc: PMC9076133


Publications 8.0.0