Investigational New Drugs

, Volume 32, Issue 5, pp 893–903 | Cite as

Resistance mechanisms of cancer cells to the novel vacuolar H+-ATPase inhibitor archazolid B

  • Rebecca Hamm
  • Yoshikazu Sugimoto
  • Heinrich Steinmetz
  • Thomas EfferthEmail author


Resistance of cancer cells towards chemotherapy is the major cause of therapy failure. Hence, the evaluation of cellular defense mechanisms is essential in the establishment of new chemotherapeutics. Archazolid B, a novel vacuolar H+-ATPase inhibitor, displayed cytotoxicity in the low nanomolar range on a panel of different tumor cell lines. First, we investigated tumor-specific cytotoxicity of archazolid B by comparing cancer to non-cancer cells. Breast, liver and colon cancer cells displayed higher drug sensitivity than corresponding non-tumorous cells, whereas leukemia cell lines were as sensitive as peripheral mononuclear blood cells. Investigating classical drug resistance mechanisms, archazolid B was identified as a possible substrate of the ABC transporters ABCB1 (P-glycoprotein) and ABCG2 (BCRP), whereas collateral sensitivity was observed in ABCB5-expressing cells. Our results pointed to a possible binding competition of archazolid B with verapamil on P-glycoprotein. However, archazolid B did not reverse resistance towards doxorubicin indicating that it might be a substrate but not an inhibitor of P-glycoprotein mediated transport. Furthermore, the cytotoxicity of archazolid B was independent of the p53 status of the cell. Mechanisms of aquired resistance were investigated establishing an archazolid B-resistant MCF-7 cell line. Interestingly, drug resistance was not conferred by aberrant expression or DNA mutations of the gene encoding vacuolar H+-ATPase subunit c, the direct target of archazolids. Instead, long-term treatment with archazolid B led to a slight overexpression of ABCB1 and a significant overexpression of the epidermal growth factor receptor and reduced cell growth, all of which can be assumed to contribute to archazolid B resistance.


ABC transporters Drug resistance EGFR Myxobacterial compounds p53 



ATP-binding cassette


(V0 subunit c of V-ATPase)


Cycle threshold


Dulbecco’s Modified Eagle Medium


Dimethyl sulfoxide


Dulbecco’s phosphate-buffered saline


Epidermal growth factor receptor


Fetal bovine serum


Fold change


Multidrug resistance


Half maximal inhibitory concentration





RPMI medium

Roswell Park Memorial Institute medium


Standard deviation


Vacuolar H+-ATPase





We thank Dr. Rolf Müller (Department of Pharmaceutical Biotechnology, Saarland University, Germany) and Dr. Angelika Vollmar (Department of Pharmacy, University of Munich, Germany) for the provision of archazolid B. We also thank Dr. Mechthild Spielmann (Medical Officer, University Hospital, Mainz, Germany) for her support in preparation of blood samples.

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Rebecca Hamm
    • 1
  • Yoshikazu Sugimoto
    • 2
  • Heinrich Steinmetz
    • 3
  • Thomas Efferth
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.Institute of Pharmacy and Biochemistry, Department of Pharmaceutical BiologyJohannes Gutenberg UniversityMainzGermany
  2. 2.Division of Chemotherapy, Faculty of PharmacyKeio UniversityTokyoJapan
  3. 3.Helmholtz Institute for Pharmaceutical Research Saarland, Helmholtz Centre for Infection Research and Department of Pharmaceutical BiotechnologySaarland UniversitySaarbrückenGermany

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