SLFN11 inactivation induces proteotoxic stress and sensitizes cancer cells to ubiquitin activating enzyme inhibitor TAK-243

Schlafen11 (SLFN11) inactivation occurs in approximately 50% of cancer cell lines and in a large fraction of patient tumor samples, which leads to chemoresistance. Therefore, new therapeutic approaches are needed to target SLFN11-deficient cancers. To that effect, we conducted a drug screen with the NCATS mechanistic drug library of 1978 compounds in isogenic SLFN11-knockout (KO) and wild-type (WT) leukemia cell lines. Here we report that TAK-243, a first-in-class ubiquitin activating enzyme UBA1 inhibitor in clinical development, causes preferential cytotoxicity in SLFN11-KO cells; this effect is associated with claspin-mediated DNA replication inhibition by CHK1 independently of ATR. Additional analyses showed that SLFN11-KO cells exhibit consistently enhanced global protein ubiquitylation, endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress, unfolded protein response (UPR), and protein aggregation. TAK-243 suppressed global protein ubiquitylation and activated the UPR transducers PERK, phosphorylated eIF2alpha, phosphorylated IRE1, and ATF6 more effectively in SLFN11-KO cells than WT cells. Proteomic analysis using biotinylated mass spectrometry and RNAi screening also showed physical and functional interactions of SLFN11 with translation initiation complexes and protein folding machinery. These findings uncover a previously unknown function of SLFN11 as a regulator of protein quality control and attenuator of ER stress and UPR. Moreover, they suggest the potential value of TAK-243 in SLFN11-deficient tumors.

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Cat.No. Product Name Information Publications Customer Product Validation
S8341 TAK-243 (MLN7243) TAK-243 (MLN7243) is a potent, mechanism-based small-molecule inhibitor of the ubiquitin activating enzyme (UAE) with an IC50 of 1 ± 0.2 nM in the UBCH10 E2 thioester assay. It has minimal inhibitory activity in a panel of kinase and receptor assays, as well as on human carbonic anhydrase type I and type II. TAK-243 (MLN7243) induces ER stress, abrogates NFκB pathway activation and promotes apoptosis. (6)

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