Novel Hsp90 inhibitor platycodin D disrupts Hsp90/Cdc37 complex and enhances the anticancer effect of mTOR inhibitor

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Heat shock protein 90 (Hsp90) is a critically conserved molecular chaperone protein and promising therapeutic target for cancer treatment. In this study, platycodin D (PD), a saponin isolated from traditional Chinese herb Platycodonis Radix, was identified as a novel Hsp90 inhibitor. We verified that PD did not affect the ATPase activity of Hsp90. However, PD disrupted the co-chaperone interaction of Hsp90/cell division cycle protein 37 (Cdc37) and subsequently degraded multiple Hsp90 client proteins without the feedback increase of Hsp70. In different genotypes of non-small cell lung cancer cells, co-treatment with the mTOR inhibitor Everolimus and PD enhanced antiproliferation activity and apoptotic effect. The feedback survival signal upon mTOR inhibition was fully terminated by the co-administration with PD through reduced epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) and insulin growth factor 1 receptor (IGF1R) expression, suppressed AKT activity, and reinforced 4E-BP1 inhibition. Our results not only identified PD as a novel Hsp90 inhibitor by disrupting the protein–protein interaction of Hsp90/Cdc37 complex, but also provided mechanistic insights into the ineffectiveness of mTOR inhibitors and identified therapeutic strategy for cancer treatment.

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