Expression of the chemokine receptor CCR1 decreases sensitivity to bortezomib in multiple myeloma cell lines

Mara N Zeissig, Duncan R Hewett, Krzysztof M Mrozik, Vasilios Panagopoulos, Associate Professor Craig Wallington-Gates, Andrew Spencer, Sandra M Dold, Monika Engelhardt, Kate Vandyke, Andrew C.W. Zannettino

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The proteasome inhibitor bortezomib is one of the primary therapies used for the haematological malignancy multiple myeloma (MM). However, intrinsic or acquired resistance to bortezomib, via mechanisms that are not fully elucidated, is a barrier to successful treatment in many patients. Our previous studies have shown that elevated expression of the chemokine receptor CCR1 in MM plasma cells in newly diagnosed MM patients is associated with poor prognosis. Here, we hypothesised that the poor prognosis conferred by CCR1 expression is, in part, due to a CCR1-mediated decrease in MM plasma cell sensitivity to bortezomib.

In order to investigate the role of CCR1 in MM cells, CCR1 was knocked out in human myeloma cell lines OPM2 and U266 using CRISPR-Cas9. Additionally, CCR1 was overexpressed in the mouse MM cell line 5TGM1. The effect of bortezomib on CCR1 knockout or CCR1-overexpressing cells was then assessed by WST-1 assay, with or without CCL3 siRNA knockdown or addition of recombinant human CCL3. NSG mice were inoculated intratibially with OPM2-CCR1KO cells and were treated with 0.7 mg/kg bortezomib or vehicle twice per week for 3 weeks and GFP+ tumour cells in the bone marrow were quantitated by flow cytometry. The effect of CCR1 overexpression or knockout on unfolded protein response pathways was assessed using qPCR for ATF4, HSPA5, XBP1, ERN1 and CHOP and Western blot for IRE1α and p-Jnk.

Using CCR1 overexpression or CRIPSR-Cas9-mediated CCR1 knockout in MM cell lines, we found that CCR1 expression significantly decreases sensitivity to bortezomib in vitro, independent of the CCR1 ligand CCL3. In addition, CCR1 knockout rendered the human MM cell line OPM2 more sensitive to bortezomib in an intratibial MM model in NSG mice in vivo. Moreover, CCR1 expression negatively regulated the expression of the unfolded protein response receptor IRE1 and downstream target gene XBP1, suggesting this pathway may be responsible for the decreased bortezomib sensitivity of CCR1-expressing cells.

Taken together, these studies suggest that CCR1 expression may be associated with decreased response to bortezomib in MM cell lines.
Original languageEnglish
Article number107469
JournalLeukemia Research
Early online date7 Mar 2024
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2024


  • multiple myeloma
  • chemokine
  • CCR1
  • IRE1
  • bortezomib
  • resistance


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