The proteasome inhibitor bortezomib (BTZ) has emerged as an effective drug for the treatment of multiple myeloma even though many patients relapse from BTZ therapy. The present study investigated the metabolic pathways underlying the acquisition of bortezomib resistance in multiple myeloma. We used two different clones of multiple myeloma cell lines exhibiting different sensitivities to BTZ (U266 and U266-R) and compared them in terms of metabolic profile, mitochondrial fitness and redox balance homeostasis capacity. Our results showed that the BTZ-resistant clone (U266-R) presented increased glycosylated UDP-derivatives when compared to BTZ-sensitive cells (U266), thus also suggesting higher activities of the hexosamine biosynthetic pathway (HBP), regulating not only protein O-and N-glycosylation but also mitochondrial functions. Notably, U266-R displayed increased mitochondrial biogenesis and mitochondrial dynamics associated with stronger antioxidant defenses. Furthermore, U266-R maintained a significantly higher concentration of substrates for protein glycosylation when compared to U266, particularly for UDP-GlcNac, thus further suggesting the importance of glycosylation in the BTZ pharmacological response. Moreover, BTZ-treated U266-R showed significantly higher ATP/ADP ratios and levels of ECP and also exhibited increased mitochondrial fitness and antioxidant response. In conclusions, our findings suggest that the HBP may play a major role in mitochondrial fitness, driving BTZ resistance in multiple myeloma and thus representing a possible target for new drug development for BTZ-resistant patients.
- Hexosamine biosynthetic pathway
- Multiple myeloma
- Oxidative stress