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MCL1 has critical antiapoptotic functions and its levels are tightly regulated by ubiquitylation and degradation, but mechanisms that drive this degradation, particularly in solid tumors, remain to be established. We show here in prostate cancer cells that increased NOXA, mediated by kinase inhibitor activation of an integrated stress response, drives the degradation of MCL1, and identify the mitochondria-associated ubiquitin ligase MARCH5 as the primary mediator of this NOXA-dependent MCL1 degradation. Therapies that enhance MARCH5-mediated MCL1 degradation markedly enhance apoptosis in response to a BH3 mimetic agent targeting BCLXL, which may provide for a broadly effective therapy in solid tumors. Conversely, increased MCL1 in response to MARCH5 loss does not strongly sensitize to BH3 mimetic drugs targeting MCL1, but instead also sensitizes to BCLXL inhibition, revealing a codependence between MARCH5 and MCL1 that may also be exploited in tumors with MARCH5 genomic loss. © 2020, Arai et al.


Seiji Arai, Andreas Varkaris, Mannan Nouri, Sen Chen, Lisha Xie, Steven P Balk. MARCH5 mediates NOXA-dependent MCL1 degradation driven by kinase inhibitors and integrated stress response activation. eLife. 2020 Jun 02;9

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PMID: 32484436

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