Motivation: p38 mitogen-activated protein kinase activation plays an important role in resistance to chemotherapeutic cytotoxic drugs in treating multiple myeloma (MM). However, how the p38 mitogenactivated protein kinase signaling pathway is involved in drug resistance, in particular the roles that the various p38 isoforms play, remains largely unknown. Method: To explore the underlying mechanisms, we developed a novel systems biology approach by integrating liquid chromatography- mass spectrometry and reverse phase protein array data from human MM cell lines with computational pathway models in which the unknown parameters were inferred using a proposed novel algorithm called modularized factor graph. Results: New mechanisms predicted by our models suggest that combined activation of various p38 isoforms may result in drug resistance in MM via regulating the related pathways including extracellular signalregulated kinase (ERK) pathway and NFκB pathway. ERK pathway regulating cell growth is synergistically regulated by p38δ isoform, whereas nuclear factor kappa B (NFκB) pathway regulating cell apoptosis is synergistically regulated by p38α isoform. This finding that p38- isoform promotes the phosphorylation of ERK1/2 in MM cells treated with bortezomib was validated by western blotting. Based on the predicted mechanisms, we further screened drug combinations in silico and found that a promising drug combination targeting ERK1/2 and NFκB might reduce the effects of drug resistance in MM cells. This study provides a framework of a systems biology approach to studying drug resistance and drug combination selection.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Statistics and Probability
- Molecular Biology
- Computer Science Applications
- Computational Theory and Mathematics
- Computational Mathematics