The oncogene c-maf is frequently overexpressed in multiple myeloma cell lines and patient samples and contributes to increased cellular proliferation in part by inducing cyclin D2 expression. To identify regulators of c-maf, we developed a chemical screen in NIH3T3 cells stably overexpressing c-maf and the cyclin D2 promoter driving luciferase. From a screen of 2400 off-patent drugs and chemicals, we identified glucocorticoids as c-maf-dependent inhibitors of cyclin D2 transactivation. In multiple myeloma cell lines, glucocorticoids reduced levels of c-maf protein without influencing corresponding mRNA levels. Subsequent studies demonstrated that glucocorticoids increased ubiquitination-dependent degradation of c-maf and up-regulated ubiquitin C mRNA. Moreover, ectopic expression of ubiquitin C recapitulated the effects of glucocorticoids, demonstrating regulation of c-maf protein through the abundance of the ubiquitin substrate. Thus, using a chemical biology approach, we identified a novel mechanism of action of glucocorticoids and a novel mechanism by which levels of c-maf protein are regulated by the abundance of the ubiquitin substrate.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cell Biology