Therapeutic implications of mitochondrial stress-induced proteasome inhibitor resistance in multiple myeloma

Sci Adv. 2022 Sep 30;8(39):eabq5575. doi: 10.1126/sciadv.abq5575. Epub 2022 Sep 28.


The connections between metabolic state and therapy resistance in multiple myeloma (MM) are poorly understood. We previously reported that electron transport chain (ETC) suppression promotes sensitivity to the BCL-2 antagonist venetoclax. Here, we show that ETC suppression promotes resistance to proteasome inhibitors (PIs). Interrogation of ETC-suppressed MM reveals integrated stress response-dependent suppression of protein translation and ubiquitination, leading to PI resistance. ETC and protein translation gene expression signatures from the CoMMpass trial are down-regulated in patients with poor outcome and relapse, corroborating our in vitro findings. ETC-suppressed MM exhibits up-regulation of the cystine-glutamate antiporter SLC7A11, and analysis of patient single-cell RNA-seq shows that clusters with low ETC gene expression correlate with higher SLC7A11 expression. Furthermore, erastin or venetoclax treatment diminishes mitochondrial stress-induced PI resistance. In sum, our work demonstrates that mitochondrial stress promotes PI resistance and underscores the need for implementing combinatorial regimens in MM cognizant of mitochondrial metabolic state.

MeSH terms

  • Antiporters
  • Bridged Bicyclo Compounds, Heterocyclic
  • Cell Line, Tumor
  • Cystine / metabolism
  • Cystine / therapeutic use
  • Glutamates
  • Humans
  • Multiple Myeloma* / drug therapy
  • Multiple Myeloma* / genetics
  • Multiple Myeloma* / metabolism
  • Proteasome Inhibitors* / pharmacology
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-bcl-2 / metabolism
  • Sulfonamides


  • Antiporters
  • Bridged Bicyclo Compounds, Heterocyclic
  • Glutamates
  • Proteasome Inhibitors
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-bcl-2
  • Sulfonamides
  • Cystine
  • venetoclax