Send to

Choose Destination
Cell Cycle. 2008 Apr 1;7(7):940-9. Epub 2008 Jan 17.

Proteasome inhibitors increase tubulin polymerization and stabilization in tissue culture cells: a possible mechanism contributing to peripheral neuropathy and cellular toxicity following proteasome inhibition.

Author information

Medical Oncology Branch, Center for Cancer Research, National Cancer Institute, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Maryland, USA.


Bortezomib (Velcade((R))), a proteasome inhibitor, is approved by the FDA for the treatment of multiple myeloma (MM). While effective, its use has been hampered by peripheral neurotoxicity of unexplained etiology. Since proteasome inhibitors alter protein degradation, we speculated that proteins regulating microtubule (MT) stability may be affected after treatment and examined MT polymerization in cells by comparing the distribution of tubulin between polymerized (P) and soluble (S) fractions. We observed increased MT polymerization following treatment of SY5Y and KCNR [neuroblastoma], HCN2, and 8226 [MM] cells, using five proteasome inhibitors; the baseline proportion of total alpha-tubulin in 'P' fractions ranged from approximately 41-68%, and increased to approximately 55-99% after treatment. Increased acetylated alpha-tubulin, a post-translational marker of stabilized MTs, was observed in the neural cell lines HCN1A and HCN2 and this was sustained up to 144 hours after the proteasome inhibitor was removed. Cell cycle analysis of three cell lines after treatment, showed approximately 50-75% increases in the G(2)M phase. Immunofluorescent localization studies of proteasome inhibitor treated cells did not reveal microtubule bundles in contrast to paclitaxel treated, suggesting MT stabilization via a mechanism other than direct drug binding. We examined the levels of microtubule associated proteins and observed a 1.4-3.7 fold increase in the microtubule associated protein MAP2, in HCN2 cells following treatment with proteasome inhibitors. These data provide a plausible explanation for the neurotoxicity observed clinically and raise the possibility that microtubule stabilization contributes to cytotoxicity.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Taylor & Francis
Loading ...
Support Center