Proteasome subunits differentially control myeloma cell viability and proteasome inhibitor sensitivity

Chang Xin Shi, Yuan Xiao Zhu, Laura A. Bruins, Cecilia Bonolo de Campos, William Stewart, Esteban Braggio, A. Keith Stewart

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


We generated eight multiple myeloma cell lines resistant to bortezomib; five acquired PSMB5 mutations. In 1,500 patients such mutations were rare clinically. To better understand disruption of proteasomes on multiple myeloma viability and drug sensitivity, we systematically deleted the major proteasome catalytic subunits. Multiple myeloma cells without PSMB5 were viable. Drug-resistant, PSMB5-mutated cell lines were resensitized to bortezomib by PSMB5 deletion, implying PSMB5 mutation is activating in its drug resistance function. In contrast, PSMB6 knockout was lethal to multiple myeloma cell lines. Depleting PSMB6 prevented splicing of the major catalytic subunits PSMB5, PSMB7, PSMB8, and PSMB10; however, PSMB6 engineered without splicing function or catalytic activity, also restored viability, inferring the contribution of PSMB6 to proteasome structure to be more important than functional activity. Supporting this, bortezomib sensitivity was restored in drug-resistant multiple myeloma cell lines by low level expression of mutated PSMB6 lacking splicing function. Loss of PSMB8 and PSMB9 was neither lethal nor restored bortezomib sensitivity. Significant codependency of PSMB5, PSMB6, and PSMB7 expression was observed. We demonstrated elevated levels of PSMB6 and 7, but not 8 and 9, in some, but not all, serial patient samples exposed to proteasome inhibitors. In summary, we show PSMB6 and PSMB7, but not PSMB5, to be essential for multiple myeloma cell survival, this dependency is structural and that upregulation or activating mutation of PSMB5, 6, and 7 confers proteasome inhibitor resistance, while depletion confers sensitivity. Implications: These findings support modulation of PSMB5, PSMB6, or PSMB7 expression as a new therapeutic strategy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1453-1464
Number of pages12
JournalMolecular Cancer Research
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 1 2020

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


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