Circadian Clock REV-ERBs Agonist SR9009 Induces Synergistic Antitumor Activity in Multiple Myeloma by Suppressing Glucose-Regulated Protein 78-Dependent Autophagy and Lipogenesis

Rui Wang, Shu Ling Liu, Shu Ling Liu, Quan Quan Guo, Shu Ling Liu, Xiao Hong Shi, Mei Mei Ma


Background: Proteasome inhibitors, such as bortezomib, have demonstrated efficacy in the therapeutic management of multiple myeloma (MM). However, it is important to note that these inhibitors also elicit endoplasmic reticulum stress, which subsequently triggers the unfolded protein response (UPR) and autophagy, which have been shown to facilitate the survival of tumor cells. The disruption of the circadian clock is considered a characteristic feature of cancer. However, how disrupted circadian clock intertwines with tumor metabolism and drug resistance is not clearly clarified. This work explores the antitumor effectiveness of bortezomib and the circadian clock agonist SR9009, elucidating their impact on glucose-regulated protein 78 (GRP78), the autophagy process, and lipogenesis.

Methods: The antitumor effects of bortezomib and SR9009 were evaluated using human MM cell lines (RPMI8226 and U266) in vitro and in vivo nonobese diabetic/severe combined immunodeficient (NOD/SCID) murine xenograft MM model. The assessment of cell viability was conducted using the cell counting kit-8 (CCK8) method, whereas the measurement of cell proliferation was performed with the inclusion of EdU (5-ethynyl-2-deoxyuridine). Apoptosis was assessed by flow cytometry. The cells were transduced using adenovirus-tf-LC3, which was labeled with dual fluorescence. Subsequently, confocal imaging was employed to observe and examine the autophagosomes. REV-ERBalpha knockdown leads to upregulation of ATG5 and BENC1 at the protein level with immunoblot. Changes in the expression levels of GRP78, LC3, stearoyl-CoA desaturase 1 (SCD1), and fatty acid synthase (FASN) were assessed through the utilization of quantitative real-time polymerase chain reaction (qRT-PCR) and western blotting.

Results: Our results showed that both bortezomib and circadian clock REV-ERBs agonist SR9009 decreased MM viability, proliferation rate and induced an apoptotic response in a dose-dependent manner in vitro. However, the two differ greatly in their mechanisms of action. Bortezomib upregulated GRP78 and autophagy LC3, while circadian clock agonist SR9009 inhibited GRP78 and autophagy LC3. Combined SR9009 with bortezomib induced synergistic cytotoxicity against MM cells. REV-ERBalpha knockdown lead to upregulation of ATG5, BENC1 and significant upregulation of FASN, and SCD1. Mechanically, SR9009 inhibited the core autophagy gene ATG5 and BECN1, and two essential enzymes for de novo lipogenesis FASN and SCD1. SR9009 had synergistic effect with bortezomib and slowed down murine xenograft models of human MM tumor growth in vivo.

Conclusions: Taken together, these results demonstrated that the circadian clock component REV-ERBs agonist SR9009 could inhibit GRP78-induced autophagy and de novo lipogenesis processes and had a synergistic effect with proteasome inhibitors in both in vitro and in vivo models of MM. Our findings shed light on how a disrupted circadian clock interacts with metabolic mechanisms to shape proteasome inhibitor drug resistance and suggest that SR9009 may be able to overcome the inherent drug resistance of proteasome inhibitors.

World J Oncol. 2023;14(6):464-475


Autophagy; Circadian clock; Lipogenesis; Multiple myeloma; SR9009

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