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Verteporfin disrupts multiple steps of autophagy and regulates p53 to sensitize osteosarcoma cells

Heena Saini, Harshita Sharma, Sudeshna Mukherjee, Shibasish Chowdhury & Rajdeep Chowdhury

The differential gene expression analysis from OS patient dataset implicated the striking involvement of cellular processes linked to autophagy and protein processing in the development of OS. We therefore selected the FDA approved drugs, chloroquine (CQ) and verteporfin (VP) known for autophagy inhibitory and proteotoxic functions to explore against OS. Importantly, VP, but not CQ, showed an extensive dose-dependent cytotoxicity. It resulted in autophagy disruption at multiple steps extending from perturbation of early autophagic processes, inhibition of autophagic flux to induction of lysosomal instability. Interestingly, VP treated protein lysates showed a ROS-dependent high molecular weight (HMW) band when probed for P62 and P53 protein. Further, VP triggered accumulation of ubiquitinated proteins as well. Since VP had a pronounced disruptive effect on cellular protein homeostasis, we explored the possibility of simultaneous inhibition of the ubiquitin-proteasomal system (UPS) by MG-132 (MG). Addition of a proteasomal inhibitor significantly aggravated VP induced cytotoxicity. MG co-treatment also led to selective targeting of P53 to the lysosomes.

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