Targeting the endoplasmic reticulummitochondria interface sensitizes leukemia cells to cytostatics

Fabian Koczian, Olga Nagło, Jan Vomacka, Binje Vick, Phil Servatius, Themistoklis Zisis, Britta Hettich, Uli Kazmaier, Stephan A. Sieber, Irmela Jeremias, Stefan Zahler, Simone Braig

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


Combination chemotherapy has proven to be a favorable strategy to treat acute leukemia. However, the introduction of novel compounds remains challenging and is hindered by a lack of understanding of their mechanistic interactions with established drugs. In the present study, we demonstrate a highly increased response of various acute leukemia cell lines, drug-resistant cells and patient-derived xenograft cells by combining the recently introduced protein disulfide isomerase inhibitor PS89 with cytostatics. In leukemic cells, a pro-teomics-based target fishing approach revealed that PS89 affects a whole network of endoplasmic reticulum homeostasis proteins. We elucidate that the strong induction of apoptosis in combination with cytostatics is orchestrated by the PS89 target B-cell receptor-associated protein 31, which transduces apoptosis signals at the endoplasmic reticulum-mitochondria interface. Activation of caspase-8 and cleavage of B-cell receptor-associated protein 31 stimulate a pro-apoptotic crosstalk including release of calcium from the endoplasmic reticulum and an increase in the levels of reactive oxygen species resulting in amplification of mitochondrial apoptosis. The findings of this study promote PS89 as a novel chemosensitizing agent for the treatment of acute leukemia and uncovers that targeting the endoplasmic reticulum-mitochondrial network of cell death is a promising approach in combination therapy.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)546-555
Number of pages10
Issue number3
StatePublished - 28 Feb 2019


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