RNA interference screening identifies lenalidomide sensitizers in multiple myeloma, including RSK2

Yuan Xiao Zhu, Hongwei Yin, Laura A. Bruins, Chang Xin Shi, Patrick Jedlowski, Meraj Aziz, Chris Sereduk, Klaus Martin Kortuem, Jessica E. Schmidt, Mia Champion, Esteban Braggio, A. Keith Stewart

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations


To identify molecular targets that modify sensitivity to lenalidomide, we measured proliferation in multiple myeloma (MM) cells transfected with 27 968 small interfering RNAs in the presence of increasing concentrations of drug and identified 63 genes that enhance activity of lenalidomide upon silencing. Ribosomal protein S6 kinase (RPS6KA3 or RSK2) was the most potent sensitizer. Other notable gene targets included 5 RAB family members, 3 potassium channel proteins, and 2 peroxisome family members. Single genes of interest included I-κ-B kinase-α (CHUK), and a phosphorylation dependent transcription factor (CREB1), which associate with RSK2 to regulate several signaling pathways. RSK2 knockdown induced cytotoxicity across a panel of MM cell lines and consistently increased sensitivity to lenalidomide. Accordingly, 3 small molecular inhibitors of RSK2 demonstrated synergy with lenalidomide cytotoxicity in MM cells even in the presence of stromal contact. Both RSK2 knockdown and smallmolecule inhibition downregulate interferon regulatory factor 4 and MYC, and provides an explanation for the synergy between lenalidomide and RSK2 inhibition. Interestingly, RSK2 inhibition also sensitized MM cells to bortezomib, melphalan, and dexamethasone, but did not downregulate Ikaros or influence lenalidomide-mediated downregulation of tumor necrosis factor-α or increase lenalidomide-induced IL-2 upregulation. In summary, inhibition of RSK2 may prove a broadly useful adjunct to MM therapy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)483-491
Number of pages9
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jan 15 2015

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Immunology
  • Hematology
  • Cell Biology


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