Tamoxifen Derivatives Alter Retromer-Dependent Endosomal Tubulation and Sorting to Block Retrograde Trafficking of Shiga Toxins




Selyunin, Andrey S.
Nieves-Merced, Karinel
Li, Danyang
McHardy, Stanton F.
Mukhopadhyay, Somshuvra

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Shiga toxin 1 and 2 (STx1 and STx2) undergo retrograde trafficking to reach the cytosol of cells where they target ribosomes. As retrograde trafficking is essential for disease, inhibiting STx1/STx2 trafficking is therapeutically promising. Recently, we discovered that the chemotherapeutic drug tamoxifen potently inhibits the trafficking of STx1/STx2 at the critical early endosome-to-Golgi step. We further reported that the activity of tamoxifen against STx1/STx2 is independent of its selective estrogen receptor modulator (SERM) property and instead depends on its weakly basic chemical nature, which allows tamoxifen to increase endolysosomal pH and alter the recruitment of retromer to endosomes. The goal of the current work was to obtain a better understanding of the mechanism of action of tamoxifen against the more disease-relevant toxin STx2, and to differentiate between the roles of changes in endolysosomal pH and retromer function. Structure activity relationship (SAR) analyses revealed that a weakly basic amine group was essential for anti-STx2 activity. However, ability to deacidify endolysosomes was not obligatorily necessary because a tamoxifen derivative that did not increase endolysosomal pH exerted reduced, but measurable, activity. Additional assays demonstrated that protective derivatives inhibited the formation of retromer-dependent, Golgi-directed, endosomal tubules, which mediate endosome-to-Golgi transport, and the sorting of STx2 into these tubules. These results identify retromer-mediated endosomal tubulation and sorting to be fundamental processes impacted by tamoxifen; provide an explanation for the inhibitory effect of tamoxifen on STx2; and have important implications for the therapeutic use of tamoxifen, including its development for treating Shiga toxicosis.



Shiga toxin, Shiga toxin 2, tamoxifen, retromer, trafficking, Golgi, endosome, derivatives, medicinal chemistry


Toxins 13 (6): 424 (2021)