Inhibition of MYC translation through targeting of the newly identified PHB-eIF4F complex as therapeutic strategy in CLL

Anne Largeot, Vanessa Klapp, Elodie Viry, Susanne Gonder, Iria Fernandez Botana, Arnaud Blomme, Mohaned Benzarti, Sandrine Pierson, Chloé Duculty, Petra Marttila, Marina Wierz, Ernesto Gargiulo, Giulia Pagano, Ning An, Najla El Hachem, Daniel Perez Hermandez, Supriya Chakraborty, Loïc Ysebaert, Jean-Hugues François, Susan Denisse Cortez ClementeGuy Berchem, Dimitar G Efremov, Gunnar Dittmar, Martyna Szpakowska, Andy Chevigne, Petr V Nazarov, Thomas Helleday, Pierre Close, Johannes Meiser, Basile Stamatopoulos, Laurent Désaubry, Jerome Paggetti, Etienne Moussay*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review


Dysregulation of mRNA translation, including preferential translation of mRNA with complex 5'-UTRs such as the MYC oncogene, is recognized as an important mechanism in cancer. In this study, we show that both human and murine chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) cells display a high translation rate, which can be inhibited by the synthetic flavagline FL3, a prohibitin (PHB)-binding drug. A multiomics analysis consisting of pulsed SILAC, RNA sequencing and polysome profiling performed in CLL patient samples and cell lines treated with FL3 revealed the decreased translation of the MYC oncogene and of proteins involved in cell cycle and metabolism. Furthermore, inhibition of translation was associated with a block of proliferation and a profound rewiring of MYC-driven metabolism. Interestingly, contrary to other models, the RAS-RAF-(PHBs)-MAPK pathway is neither impaired by FL3 nor implicated in translation regulation in CLL cells. Here, we rather show that PHBs are directly associated with the translation initiation complex and can be targeted by FL3. Knock-down of PHBs resembled FL3 treatment. Importantly, inhibition of translation was efficient in controlling CLL development in vivo either alone or combined with immunotherapy. Finally, high expression of translation initiation-related genes and PHBs genes correlated with poor survival and unfavorable clinical parameters in CLL patients. In conclusion, we demonstrated that translation inhibition is a valuable strategy to control CLL development by blocking the translation of several oncogenic pathways including MYC. We also unraveled a new and direct role of PHBs in translation initiation, thus creating new therapeutic opportunities for CLL patients.

Original languageEnglish
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 21 Apr 2023


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