A multi-omics analysis reveals the unfolded protein response regulon and stress-induced resistance to folate-based antimetabolites

Nat Commun. 2020 Jun 10;11(1):2936. doi: 10.1038/s41467-020-16747-y.


Stress response pathways are critical for cellular homeostasis, promoting survival through adaptive changes in gene expression and metabolism. They play key roles in numerous diseases and are implicated in cancer progression and chemoresistance. However, the underlying mechanisms are only poorly understood. We have employed a multi-omics approach to monitor changes to gene expression after induction of a stress response pathway, the unfolded protein response (UPR), probing in parallel the transcriptome, the proteome, and changes to translation. Stringent filtering reveals the induction of 267 genes, many of which have not previously been implicated in stress response pathways. We experimentally demonstrate that UPR-mediated translational control induces the expression of enzymes involved in a pathway that diverts intermediate metabolites from glycolysis to fuel mitochondrial one-carbon metabolism. Concomitantly, the cells become resistant to the folate-based antimetabolites Methotrexate and Pemetrexed, establishing a direct link between UPR-driven changes to gene expression and resistance to pharmacological treatment.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antimetabolites / pharmacology*
  • Endoplasmic Reticulum / drug effects
  • Endoplasmic Reticulum / metabolism
  • Folic Acid / pharmacology*
  • Humans
  • Methotrexate / pharmacology
  • Pemetrexed / pharmacology
  • Proteome / drug effects
  • Proteome / genetics
  • Regulon / drug effects
  • Regulon / genetics*
  • Signal Transduction / drug effects
  • Transcriptome / drug effects
  • Transcriptome / genetics
  • Unfolded Protein Response / drug effects*
  • Unfolded Protein Response / genetics*


  • Antimetabolites
  • Proteome
  • Pemetrexed
  • Folic Acid
  • Methotrexate