Blood Journal
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Inhibition of the MUC1-C oncoprotein induces multiple myeloma cell death by down-regulating TIGAR expression and depleting NADPH

  1. Li Yin1,
  2. Michio Kosugi1, and
  3. Donald Kufe1
  1. 1Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA


The MUC1-C oncoprotein is aberrantly expressed in most multiple myeloma cells. However, the functional significance of MUC1-C expression in multiple myeloma is not known. The present studies demonstrate that treatment of multiple myeloma cells with a MUC1-C inhibitor is associated with increases in reactive oxygen species (ROS), oxidation of mitochondrial cardiolipin, and loss of the mitochondrial transmembrane potential. The MUC1-C inhibitor-induced increases in ROS were also associated with down-regulation of the p53-inducible regulator of glycolysis and apoptosis (TIGAR). In concert with the decrease in TIGAR expression, which regulates the pentose phosphate pathway, treatment with the MUC1-C inhibitor reduced production of NADPH, and in turn glutathione (GSH) levels. TIGAR protects against oxidative stress-induced apoptosis. The suppression of TIGAR and NADPH levels thus contributed to ROS-mediated late apoptosis/necrosis of multiple myeloma cells. These findings indicate that multiple myeloma cells are dependent on MUC1-C and TIGAR for maintenance of redox balance and that targeting MUC1-C activates a cascade involving TIGAR suppression that contributes to multiple myeloma cell death.

  • Submitted July 22, 2011.
  • Accepted November 18, 2011.
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