Synergy between inhibitors of two mitotic spindle assembly motors undermines an adaptive response

April L. Solon, Taylor M. Zaniewski, Patrick O’Brien, Martin Clasby, William O. Hancock, Ryoma Ohi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Mitosis is the cellular process that ensures accurate segregation of the cell’s genetic material into two daughter cells. Mitosis is often deregulated in cancer; thus drugs that target mitosis-specific proteins represent attractive targets for anticancer therapy. Numerous inhibitors have been developed against kinesin-5 Eg5, a kinesin essential for bipolar spindle assembly. Unfortunately, Eg5 inhibitors (K5Is) have been largely ineffective in the clinic, possibly due to the activity of a second kinesin, KIF15, that can suppress the cytotoxic effect of K5Is by driving spindle assembly through an Eg5-independent pathway. We hypothesized that pairing of K5Is with small molecule inhibitors of KIF15 will be more cytotoxic than either inhibitor alone. Here we present the results of a high-throughput screen from which we identified two inhibitors that inhibit the motor activity of KIF15 both in vitro and in cells. These inhibitors selectively inhibit KIF15 over other molecular motors and differentially affect the ability of KIF15 to bind microtubules. Finally, we find that chemical inhibition of KIF15 reduces the ability of cells to acquire resistance to K5Is, highlighting the centrality of KIF15 to K5I resistance and the value of these inhibitors as tools with which to study KIF15 in a physiological context.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numberar132
JournalMolecular biology of the cell
Issue number14
StatePublished - Dec 1 2022

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology


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