Pharmacologically targeting a novel pathway of sodium iodide symporter trafficking to enhance radioiodine uptake

Alice Fletcher, Martin Read, Caitlin Thornton, Dean Larner, Vikki Poole, Katie Brookes, Hannah Nieto, Mohammed Alshahrani, Rebecca Thompson, Gareth Lavery, Moray Campbell, Kristien Boelaert, Andrew Turnell, Vicki Smith, Christopher McCabe

Research output: Working paper/PreprintPreprint


Radioiodine treatment fails ≥25% of patients with thyroid cancer and has been proposed as a potential treatment for breast cancer. Cellular iodide uptake is governed by the sodium iodide symporter (NIS), which is frequently mislocalized in thyroid and breast tumours. However, the trafficking of NIS to the plasma membrane (PM) is ill-defined. Through mass spectrometry, co-immunoprecipitation, cell surface biotinylation and proximity ligation assays we identify two proteins which control NIS subcellular trafficking: ADP-ribosylation factor 4 (ARF4) and valosin-containing protein (VCP). HiLo microscopy revealed ARF4 enhanced NIS trafficking in co-incident PM vesicles, governed by a C-terminal VXPX motif, whilst papillary thyroid cancers (PTC) demonstrate repressed ARF4 expression. In contrast, VCP, the central protein in ER-associated degradation, specifically bound NIS and decreased its PM localization. Five chemically distinct allosteric VCP inhibitors all overcame VCP-mediated repression of NIS function. In mice, two re-purposed FDA-approved VCP inhibitors significantly enhanced radioiodine uptake into thyrocytes, whilst human primary thyrocytes showed similar increases. Critically, PTC patients with high tumoural VCP expression who received radioiodine had strikingly worse disease-free survival. These studies now delineate the mechanisms of NIS trafficking, and for the first time open the therapeutic possibility of systemically enhancing radioiodine uptake in patients via FDA-approved drugs.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages37
Publication statusPublished - 7 May 2019


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