NEK2 induces autophagy-mediated bortezomib resistance by stabilizing Beclin-1 in multiple myeloma

NEK2 induces autophagy-mediated bortezomib resistance by stabilizing Beclin-1 in multiple myeloma

Abstract

NEK2 is associated with drug resistance in multiple cancers. Our previous studies indicated that high NEK2 confers inferior survival in multiple myeloma (MM); thus, a better understanding of the mechanisms by which NEK2 induces drug resistance in MM is required. In this study, we discovered that NEK2 enhances MM cell autophagy, and a combination of autophagy inhibitor chloroquine (CQ) and chemotherapeutic bortezomib (BTZ) significantly prevents NEK2-induced drug resistance in MM cells. Interestingly, NEK2 was found to bind and stabilize Beclin-1 protein but did not affect its mRNA expression and phosphorylation. Moreover, autophagy enhanced by NEK2 was significantly prevented by knockdown of Beclin-1 in MM cells, suggesting that Beclin-1 mediates NEK2-induced autophagy. Further studies demonstrated that Beclin-1 ubiquitination is decreased through NEK2 interaction with USP7. Importantly, knockdown of Beclin-1 sensitized NEK2-overexpressing MM cells to BTZ in vitro and in vivo. In conclusion, we identify a novel mechanism whereby autophagy is activated by the complex of NEK2/USP7/Beclin-1 in MM cells. Targeting the autophagy signaling pathway may provide a promising therapeutic strategy to overcome NEK2-induced drug resistance in MM.

Keywords: Beclin-1; NEK2; autophagy; multiple myeloma; ubiquitination.

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