Journal Article

Isothiocyanates inhibit proteasome activity and proliferation of multiple myeloma cells

Lixin Mi, Nanqin Gan and Fung-Lung Chung

in Carcinogenesis

Volume 32, issue 2, pages 216-223
Published in print February 2011 | ISSN: 0143-3334
Published online November 2010 | e-ISSN: 1460-2180 | DOI:
Isothiocyanates inhibit proteasome activity and proliferation of multiple myeloma cells

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Isothiocyanates (ITCs), including benzyl isothiocyanate (BITC), phenethyl isothiocyanate (PEITC) and sulforaphane, compounds found in cruciferous vegetable, are highly effective in inducing cell cycle arrest and apoptosis in a variety of cancer cells and animal models. Although some studies indicate that ITC-induced reactive oxygen species (ROS) generation may underlie apoptosis induction, our recent studies show that covalent binding to target proteins may be an important event triggering apoptosis. In this study, we report that BITC and PEITC significantly inhibit proteasome activity in a variety of cell types. Further studies show that ITCs inhibit both the 26S and 20S proteasomes, presumably through direct binding, and that this inhibition is unrelated to either ROS generation or ITC-induced protein aggregation. The potency of ITC-induced proteasome inhibition correlates with the rapid accumulation of p53 (tumor suppressor) and IκB nuclear factor-kappaB (nuclear factor-kappaB inhibitor). Finally, our results demonstrate that BITC and PEITC, the two strongest proteasome inhibitors, significantly suppress growth of multiple myeloma (MM) cells through induction of cell cycle arrest at G2/M phase and apoptosis. This study suggests that proteasome, like tubulin, is a potential molecular target of ITCs, thus providing a novel mechanism by which ITCs strongly inhibit growth of MM cells and new leads in identifying compounds with therapeutic and preventative efficacies for MM. It also supports the future studies of ITCs as therapeutic and preventive agents for MM.

Journal Article.  5802 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Clinical Cytogenetics and Molecular Genetics

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