Identification of thiostrepton as a pharmacological approach to rescue misfolded alpha-sarcoglycan mutant proteins from degradation

Sci Rep. 2019 May 6;9(1):6915. doi: 10.1038/s41598-019-43399-w.


Limb-girdle muscular dystrophy type 2D (LGMD2D) is characterized by a progressive proximal muscle weakness. LGMD2D is caused by mutations in the gene encoding α-sarcoglycan (α-SG), a dystrophin-associated glycoprotein that plays a key role in the maintenance of sarcolemma integrity in striated muscles. We report here on the development of a new in vitro high-throughput screening assay that allows the monitoring of the proper localization of the most prevalent mutant form of α-SG (R77C substitution). Using this assay, we screened a library of 2560 FDA-approved drugs and bioactive compounds and identified thiostrepton, a cyclic antibiotic, as a potential drug to repurpose for LGMD2D treatment. Characterization of the thiostrepton effect revealed a positive impact on R77C-α-SG and other missense mutant protein localization (R34H, I124T, V247M) in fibroblasts overexpressing these proteins. Finally, further investigations of the molecular mechanisms of action of the compound revealed an inhibition of the chymotrypsin-like activity of the proteasome 24 h after thiostrepton treatment and a synergistic effect with bortezomib, an FDA-approved proteasome inhibitor. This study reports on the first in vitro model for LGMD2D that is compatible with high-throughput screening and proposes a new therapeutic option for LGMD2D caused by missense mutations of α-SG.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Cell Line
  • Cell Membrane / drug effects
  • Cell Membrane / metabolism
  • Drug Evaluation, Preclinical
  • Humans
  • Induced Pluripotent Stem Cells / cytology
  • Mutant Proteins / chemistry*
  • Mutant Proteins / genetics
  • Mutant Proteins / metabolism*
  • Myoblasts / cytology
  • Myoblasts / drug effects
  • Protein Folding / drug effects*
  • Proteolysis / drug effects*
  • Sarcoglycans / chemistry*
  • Sarcoglycans / genetics
  • Sarcoglycans / metabolism*
  • Thiostrepton / pharmacology*


  • Mutant Proteins
  • Sarcoglycans
  • Thiostrepton