Phenylethyl isothiocyanate reverses cisplatin resistance in biliary tract cancer cells via glutathionylation-dependent degradation of Mcl-1.
Oncotarget. 2016 Mar 1 ;7(9):10271-82. PMID: 26848531
Biliary tract cancer (BTC) is a highly malignant cancer. BTC exhibits a low response rate to cisplatin (CDDP) treatment, and therefore, an understanding of the mechanism of CDDP resistance is urgently needed. Here, we show that BTC cells develop CDDP resistance due, in part, to upregulation of myeloid cell leukemia 1 (Mcl-1). Phenylethyl isothiocyanate (PEITC), a natural compound found in watercress, could enhance the efficacy of CDDP by degrading Mcl-1. PEITC-CDDP co-treatment also increased the rate of apoptosis of cancer stem-like side population (SP) cells and inhibited xenograft tumor growth without obvious toxic effects. In vitro, PEITC decreased reduced glutathione (GSH), which resulted in decreased GSH/oxidized glutathione (GSSG) ratio and increased glutathionylation of Mcl-1, leading to rapid proteasomal degradation of Mcl-1. Furthermore, we identified Cys16 and Cys286 as Mcl-1 glutathionylation sites, and mutating them resulted in PEITC-mediated degradation resistant Mcl-1 protein. In conclusion, we demonstrate for the first time that CDDP resistance is partially associated with Mcl-1 in BTC cells and we identify a novel mechanism that PEITC can enhance CDDP-induced apoptosis via glutathionylation-dependent degradation of Mcl-1. Hence, our results provide support that dietary intake of watercress may help reverse CDDP resistance in BTC patients.