The Journal of biological chemistry

Di-2-pyridylketone 4,4-dimethyl-3-thiosemicarbazone (Dp44mT) overcomes multidrug resistance by a novel mechanism involving the hijacking of lysosomal P-glycoprotein (Pgp).

PMID 25720491


Multidrug resistance (MDR) is a major obstacle in cancer treatment. More than half of human cancers express multidrug-resistant P-glycoprotein (Pgp), which correlates with a poor prognosis. Intriguingly, through an unknown mechanism, some drugs have greater activity in drug-resistant tumor cells than their drug-sensitive counterparts. Herein, we investigate how the novel anti-tumor agent di-2-pyridylketone 4,4-dimethyl-3-thiosemicarbazone (Dp44mT) overcomes MDR. Four different cell types were utilized to evaluate the effect of Pgp-potentiated lysosomal targeting of drugs to overcome MDR. To assess the mechanism of how Dp44mT overcomes drug resistance, cellular studies utilized Pgp inhibitors, Pgp silencing, lysosomotropic agents, proliferation assays, immunoblotting, a Pgp-ATPase activity assay, radiolabeled drug uptake/efflux, a rhodamine 123 retention assay, lysosomal membrane permeability assessment, and DCF (2',7'-dichlorofluorescin) redox studies. Anti-tumor activity and selectivity of Dp44mT in Pgp-expressing, MDR cells versus drug-sensitive cells were studied using a BALB/c nu/nu xenograft mouse model. We demonstrate that Dp44mT is transported by the lysosomal Pgp drug pump, causing lysosomal targeting of Dp44mT and resulting in enhanced cytotoxicity in MDR cells. Lysosomal Pgp and pH were shown to be crucial for increasing Dp44mT-mediated lysosomal damage and subsequent cytotoxicity in drug-resistant cells, with Dp44mT being demonstrated to be a Pgp substrate. Indeed, Pgp-dependent lysosomal damage and cytotoxicity of Dp44mT were abrogated by Pgp inhibitors, Pgp silencing, or increasing lysosomal pH using lysosomotropic bases. In vivo, Dp44mT potently targeted chemotherapy-resistant human Pgp-expressing xenografted tumors relative to non-Pgp-expressing tumors in mice. This study highlights a novel Pgp hijacking strategy of the unique dipyridylthiosemicarbazone series of thiosemicarbazones that overcome MDR via utilization of lysosomal Pgp transport activity.