JOURNAL ARTICLE

Berberine diminishes cancer cell PD-L1 expression and facilitates antitumor immunity via inhibiting the deubiquitination activity of CSN5

Yang Liu, Xiaojia Liu, Na Zhang, Mingxiao Yin, Jingwen Dong, Qingxuan Zeng, Genxiang Mao, Danqing Song, Lu Liu, Hongbin Deng
Acta Pharmaceutica Sinica. B 2020, 10 (12): 2299-2312
33354502
Programmed cell death-1 (PD-1)/programmed cell death ligand-1 (PD-L1) blocking therapy has become a major pillar of cancer immunotherapy. Compared with antibodies targeting, small-molecule checkpoint inhibitors which have favorable pharmacokinetics are urgently needed. Here we identified berberine (BBR), a proven anti-inflammation drug, as a negative regulator of PD-L1 from a set of traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) chemical monomers. BBR enhanced the sensitivity of tumour cells to co-cultured T-cells by decreasing the level of PD-L1 in cancer cells. In addition, BBR exerted its antitumor effect in Lewis tumor xenograft mice through enhancing tumor-infiltrating T-cell immunity and attenuating the activation of immunosuppressive myeloid-derived suppressor cells (MDSCs) and regulatory T-cells (Tregs). BBR triggered PD-L1 degradation through ubiquitin (Ub)/proteasome-dependent pathway. Remarkably, BBR selectively bound to the glutamic acid 76 of constitutive photomorphogenic-9 signalosome 5 (CSN5) and inhibited PD-1/PD-L1 axis through its deubiquitination activity, resulting in ubiquitination and degradation of PD-L1. Our data reveals a previously unrecognized antitumor mechanism of BBR, suggesting BBR is small-molecule immune checkpoint inhibitor for cancer treatment.

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