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Leukemia. 2010 Aug;24(8):1506-12. doi: 10.1038/leu.2010.137. Epub 2010 Jun 17.

Bortezomib-resistant myeloma cell lines: a role for mutated PSMB5 in preventing the accumulation of unfolded proteins and fatal ER stress.

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Department of Medical Oncology and Immunology, Nagoya City University Graduate School of Medical Sciences, Nagoya, Aichi, Japan.


Bortezomib is an effective agent for treating multiple myeloma (MM). To investigate the underlying mechanisms associated with acquired resistance to this agent, we established two bortezomib-resistant MM cell lines, KMS-11/BTZ and OPM-2/BTZ, the 50% inhibitory concentration values of which were respectively 24.7- and 16.6-fold higher than their parental cell lines. No activation of caspase and BH3-only proteins such as Noxa was noted in bortezomib-resistant cells after exposure to the drug. The accumulation of polyubiquitinated proteins was reduced in bortezomib-resistant cells compared with the parental cells, associated with avoidance of catastrophic ER stress as assessed by downregulation of CHOP expression. These resistant MM cells have a unique point mutation, G322A, in the gene encoding the proteasome beta5 subunit (PSMB5), likely resulting in conformational changes to the bortezomib-binding pocket of this subunit. KMS-11 parental cells transfected to express mutated PSMB5 also showed reduced bortezomib-induced apoptosis compared with those expressing wild-type PSMB5 or the parental cells. Expression of mutated PSMB5 was associated with the prevention of the accumulation of unfolded proteins. Thus, a fraction of MM cells may acquire bortezomib resistance by suppressing apoptotic signals through the inhibition of unfolded protein accumulation and subsequent excessive ER stress by a mutation of the PSMB5 gene.

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