Compromising the Unfolded Protein Response Induces Autophagy-Mediated Cell Death in Multiple Myeloma CellsReport as inadecuate

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To determine whether the Unfolded Protein Response UPR sensors PERK, ATF6 and IRE-1 can be targeted to promote death of Multiple Myeloma MM cells.


We have knocked-down separately each UPR stress sensor in human MM cell lines using RNA interference and followed MM cell death by monitoring the membrane, mitochondrial and nuclear alterations. Involvement of caspases in MM cell death consecutive to UPR sensor knock-down was analyzed by western blotting, measurement of their enzymatic activity using fluorigenic substrates and susceptibility to a pan-caspase inhibitor. Activation of the autophagic process was measured directly by detection of autophagosomes electronic microscopy, monodansylcadaverine staining, production of the cleaved form of the microtubule-associated protein 1A-1B light chain 3 LC3 and indirectly by analyzing the impact of pharmacological inhibitors of autophagy such as 3MA and bafilomycin A1.


We show that extinction of a single UPR stress sensor PERK induces a non-apoptotic form of cell death in MM cells that requires autophagy for its execution. We also show that this cytotoxic autophagic process represses the apoptosis program by reducing the cytosolic release of the apoptogenic factors Smac-DIABLO and cytochrome c.


Altogether our findings suggest that autophagy can contribute to execution of death in mammalian cells that are exposed to mild ER stress. They also suggest that the autophagic process can regulate the intrinsic apoptotic pathway by inhibiting production of death effectors by the mitochondria, thus preventing formation of a functional apoptosome. Altogether these findings give credit to the idea that UPR sensors can be envisaged as therapeutic targets for the treatment of MM.

Author: Anne-Sophie Michallet, Paul Mondiere, Morgan Taillardet, Yann Leverrier, Laurent Genestier, Thierry Defrance



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