Mis-trafficking of endosomal urokinase proteins triggers drug-induced glioma nonapoptotic cell death

Nagarekha Pasupuleti, Ana Grodzki, Fredric A Gorin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


5-Benzylglycinyl-amiloride (UCD38B) is the parent molecule of a class of anticancer small molecules that kill proliferative and nonproliferative high-grade glioma cells by programmed necrosis. UCD38B intracellularly triggers endocytosis, causing 40-50% of endosomes containing proteins of the urokinase plasminogen activator system (uPAS) to relocate to perinuclear mitochondrial regions. Endosomal "mis-trafficking" caused by UCD38B in human glioma cells corresponds to mitochondrial depolarization with the release and nuclear translocation of apoptotis-inducing factor (AIF) followed by irreversible caspaseindependent cell demise. High-content quantification of immunocytochemical colocalization studies identified that UCD38B treatment increased endocytosis of the urokinase plasminogen activator (uPA), its receptor (uPAR), and plasminogen activator inhibitor-1 (PAI-1) into the early and late endosomes by 4-to 5-fold prior to AIF nuclear translocation and subsequent glioma demise. PAI-1 was found to comparably relocate with a subset of early and late endosomes in four different human glioma cell lines after UCD38B treatment, followed by caspase-independent, nonapoptotic cell death. Following UCD38B treatment, the receptor guidance protein LRP-1, which is required for endosomal recycling of the uPA receptor to the plasmalemma, remained abnormally associated with PAI-1 in early and late endosomes. The resultant aberrant endosomal recycling increased the total cellular content of the uPA-PAI-1 protein complex. Reversible inhibition of cellular endocytosis demonstrated that UCD38B bypasses the plasmalemmal uPAS complex and directly acts intracellularly to alter uPAS endocytotic trafficking. UCD38B represents a class of small molecules whose anticancer cytotoxicity is a consequence of causing the mis-trafficking of early and late endosomes containing uPAS cargo and leading to AIF-mediated necrotic cell death.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)683-696
Number of pages14
JournalMolecular Pharmacology
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2015

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)
  • Molecular Medicine
  • Pharmacology


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