Small molecule Y-320 stimulates ribosome biogenesis, protein synthesis, and aminoglycoside-induced premature termination codon readthrough

PLoS Biol. 2021 May 3;19(5):e3001221. doi: 10.1371/journal.pbio.3001221. eCollection 2021 May.


Premature termination codons (PTC) cause over 10% of genetic disease cases. Some aminoglycosides that bind to the ribosome decoding center can induce PTC readthrough and restore low levels of full-length functional proteins. However, concomitant inhibition of protein synthesis limits the extent of PTC readthrough that can be achieved by aminoglycosides like G418. Using a cell-based screen, we identified a small molecule, the phenylpyrazoleanilide Y-320, that potently enhances TP53, DMD, and COL17A1 PTC readthrough by G418. Unexpectedly, Y-320 increased cellular protein levels and protein synthesis, measured by SYPRO Ruby protein staining and puromycin labeling, as well as ribosome biogenesis measured using antibodies to rRNA and ribosomal protein S6. Y-320 did not increase the rate of translation elongation and it exerted its effects independently of mTOR signaling. At the single cell level, exposure to Y-320 and G418 increased ribosome content and protein synthesis which correlated strongly with PTC readthrough. As a single agent, Y-320 did not affect translation fidelity measured using a luciferase reporter gene but it enhanced misincorporation by G418. RNA-seq data showed that Y-320 up-regulated the expression of CXC chemokines CXCL10, CXCL8, CXCL2, CXCL11, CXCL3, CXCL1, and CXCL16. Several of these chemokines exert their cellular effects through the receptor CXCR2 and the CXCR2 antagonist SB225002 reduced cellular protein levels and PTC readthrough in cells exposed to Y-320 and G418. These data show that the self-limiting nature of PTC readthrough by G418 can be compensated by Y-320, a potent enhancer of PTC readthrough that increases ribosome biogenesis and protein synthesis. They also support a model whereby increased PTC readthrough is enabled by increased protein synthesis mediated by an autocrine chemokine signaling pathway. The findings also raise the possibility that inflammatory processes affect cellular propensity to readthrough agents and that immunomodulatory drugs like Y-320 might find application in PTC readthrough therapy.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aminoglycosides / metabolism
  • Aminoglycosides / pharmacology*
  • Aminoglycosides / physiology
  • Cell Line
  • Chemokines, CXC / drug effects
  • Chemokines, CXC / metabolism
  • Codon, Nonsense / genetics*
  • Codon, Nonsense / metabolism
  • Codon, Terminator
  • Gentamicins / pharmacology
  • Humans
  • Mutation / drug effects
  • Protein Biosynthesis / drug effects
  • Protein Synthesis Inhibitors
  • Ribosomes / drug effects
  • Ribosomes / metabolism*


  • Aminoglycosides
  • Chemokines, CXC
  • Codon, Nonsense
  • Codon, Terminator
  • Gentamicins
  • Protein Synthesis Inhibitors
  • antibiotic G 418