Chemical Biology Publications 2013
Bromodomains are epigenetic reader domains that have recently become popular targets. In contrast to BET bromodomains, which have proven druggable, bromodomains from other regions of the phylogenetic tree have shallower pockets. We describe successful targeting of the challenging BAZ2B bromodomain using biophysical fragment screening and structure-based optimization of high ligand-efficiency fragments into a novel series of low-micromolar inhibitors. Our results provide attractive leads for development of BAZ2B chemical probes and indicate the whole family may be tractable.
The benzo[e]pyrimido-[5,4-b]diazepine-6(11H)-one core was discovered as a novel ERK5 (also known as MAPK7 and BMK1) inhibitor scaffold, previously. Further structure-activity relationship studies of this scaffold led to the discovery of ERK5-IN-1 (26) as the most selective and potent ERK5 inhibitor reported to date. 26 potently inhibits ERK5 biochemically with an IC₅₀ of 0.162 ± 0.006 μM and in cells with a cellular EC₅₀ for inhibiting epidermal growth factor induced ERK5 autophosphorylation of 0.09 ± 0.03 μM. Furthermore, 26 displays excellent selectivity over other kinases with a KINOMEscan selectivity score (S₁₀) of 0.007, and exhibits exceptional bioavailability (F%) of 90% in mice. 26 will serve as a valuable tool compound to investigate the ERK5 signaling pathway and as a starting point for developing an ERK5 directed therapeutic agent.
Bromodomains have emerged as attractive candidates for the development of inhibitors targeting gene transcription. Inhibitors of the bromo and extraterminal (BET) family recently showed promising activity in diverse disease models. However, the pleiotropic nature of BET proteins regulating tissue-specific transcription has raised safety concerns and suggested that attempts should be made for domain-specific targeting. Here, we report that RVX-208, a compound currently in phase II clinical trials, is a BET bromodomain inhibitor specific for second bromodomains (BD2s). Cocrystal structures revealed binding modes of RVX-208 and its synthetic precursor, and fluorescent recovery after photobleaching demonstrated that RVX-208 displaces BET proteins from chromatin. However, gene-expression data showed that BD2 inhibition only modestly affects BET-dependent gene transcription. Our data demonstrate the feasibility of specific targeting within the BET family resulting in different transcriptional outcomes and highlight the importance of BD1 in transcriptional regulation.
A good fit: Interactions between A-kinase anchoring proteins (AKAPs) and protein kinaseA (PKA) play key roles in a plethora of physiologically relevant processes whose dysregulation causes or is associated with diseases such as heart failure. Terpyridines have been developed as α-helix mimetics for the inhibition of such interactions and are the first biologically active, nonpeptidic compounds that block the AKAP binding site of PKA. © 2013 The Authors. Published by Wiley-VCH Verlag GmbH & Co. KGaA. This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
Attenuation of RAS-mediated signalling is a conserved process essential to control cell proliferation, differentiation, and apoptosis. Cooperative interactions between histone modifications such as acetylation, methylation and sumoylation are crucial for proper attenuation in C. elegans, implying that the proteins recognising these histone modifications could also play an important role in attenuation of RAS-mediated signalling. We sought to systematically identify these proteins and found BET-1. BET-1 is a conserved double bromodomain protein that recognises acetyl-lysines on histone tails and maintains the stable fate of various lineages. Unexpectedly, adults lacking both BET-1 and SUMO-1 are depleted of muscle myosin, an essential component of myofibrils. We also show that this muscle myosin depletion does not occur in all animals at a specific time, but rather that the penetrance of the phenotype increases with age. To gain mechanistic insights into this process, we sought to delay the occurrence of the muscle myosin depletion phenotype and found that it requires caspase activity and MEK-dependent signalling. We also performed transcription profiling on these mutants and found an up-regulation of the FGF receptor, egl-15, a tyrosine kinase receptor acting upstream of MEK. Consistent with a MEK requirement, we could delay the muscle phenotype by systemic or hypodermal knock down of egl-15. Thus, this work uncovered a caspase- and MEK-dependent mechanism that acts specifically on ageing adults to maintain the appropriate net level of muscle myosin.
In stochastic sensing, the association and dissociation of analyte molecules is observed as the modulation of an ionic current flowing through a single engineered protein pore, enabling the label-free determination of rate and equilibrium constants with respect to a specific binding site. We engineered sensors based on the staphylococcal α-hemolysin pore to allow the single-molecule detection and characterization of protein kinase-peptide interactions. We enhanced this approach by using site-specific proteolysis to generate pores bearing a single peptide sensor element attached by an N-terminal peptide bond to the trans mouth of the pore. Kinetics and affinities for the Pim protein kinases (Pim-1, Pim-2, and Pim-3) and cAMP-dependent protein kinase were measured and found to be independent of membrane potential and in good agreement with previously reported data. Kinase binding exhibited a distinct current noise behavior that forms a basis for analyte discrimination. Finally, we observed unusually high association rate constants for the interaction of Pim kinases with their consensus substrate Pimtide (~10(7) to 10(8) M(-1) · s(-1)), the result of electrostatic enhancement, and propose a cellular role for this phenomenon.
Phosphatases and kinases regulate the crucial phosphorylation post-translational modification. In spite of their similarly important role in many diseases and therapeutic potential, phosphatases have received arguably less attention. One reason for this is a scarcity of high-throughput phosphatase assays. Herein, a new real-time, dynamic protein tyrosine phosphatase (PTP) substrate microarray assay measuring product formation is described. PTP substrates comprising a novel 3-nitrophosphotyrosine residue are immobilized in discrete spots. After reaction catalyzed by a PTP a 3-nitrotyrosine residue is formed that can be detected by specific, sequence-independent antibodies. The resulting microarray was successfully evaluated with a panel of recombinant PTPs and cell lysates, which afforded results comparable to data from other assays. Its parallel nature, convenience, and low sample requirements facilitate investigation of the therapeutically relevant PTP enzyme family. Keeping it real: The activity of important protein tyrosine phosphatases has been monitored in real time in parallel with a novel substrate microarray through formation of 3-nitrotyrosine (see figure). Copyright © 2013 WILEY-VCH Verlag GmbH & Co. KGaA, Weinheim.
ChemMedChem, 8 (11), pp. 1885-1891. | Citations: 17 (Scopus) | Read more2013. Small-molecule modulators for epigenetics targets
A capital conference: Influencing epigenetic mechanisms may be highly relevant for future therapies of various diseases such as cancer, inflammation, and metabolic disorders. Leading experts in the field gathered in Berlin on June 5-6, 2013 at a Bayer HealthCare Life Science Workshop to share recent success stories and to discuss future trends.
Bromodomains (BRDs) are epigenetic readers that recognize acetylated-lysine (KAc) on proteins and are implicated in a number of diseases. We describe a virtual screening approach to identify BRD inhibitors. Key elements of this approach are the extensive design and use of substructure queries to compile a set of commercially available compounds featuring novel putative KAc mimetics and docking this set for final compound selection. We describe the validation of this approach by applying it to the first BRD of BRD4. The selection and testing of 143 compounds lead to the discovery of six novel hits, including four unprecedented KAc mimetics. We solved the crystal structure of four hits, determined their binding mode, and improved their potency through synthesis and the purchase of derivatives. This work provides a validated virtual screening approach that is applicable to other BRDs and describes novel KAc mimetics that can be further explored to design more potent inhibitors.
p38α mitogen-activated protein kinase (p38α) is activated by a variety of mechanisms, including autophosphorylation initiated by TGFβ-activated kinase 1 binding protein 1 (TAB1) during myocardial ischemia and other stresses. Chemical-genetic approaches and coexpression in mammalian, bacterial and cell-free systems revealed that mouse p38α autophosphorylation occurs in cis by direct interaction with TAB1(371-416). In isolated rat cardiac myocytes and perfused mouse hearts, TAT-TAB1(371-416) rapidly activates p38 and profoundly perturbs function. Crystal structures and characterization in solution revealed a bipartite docking site for TAB1 in the p38α C-terminal kinase lobe. TAB1 binding stabilizes active p38α and induces rearrangements within the activation segment by helical extension of the Thr-Gly-Tyr motif, allowing autophosphorylation in cis. Interference with p38α recognition by TAB1 abolishes its cardiac toxicity. Such intervention could potentially circumvent the drawbacks of clinical pharmacological inhibitors of p38 catalytic activity. © 2013 Nature America, Inc. All rights reserved.
J Biol Chem, 288 (39), pp. 28304. | Citations: 1 (Scopus) | Read more2013. Structural basis for Cul3 protein assembly with the BTB-Kelch family of E3 ubiquitin ligases.
PURPOSE: Exudative AMD (wet AMD) is treated by monthly injection into the eye of anti-VEGF proteins. VEGF is alternatively spliced to produce numerous isoforms that differ in angiogenic activity. Serine-rich protein kinase-1 (SRPK1) has been identified as a regulator of pro-angiogenic VEGF splicing by phosphorylating serine-rich splicing factor-1 (SRSF1), which binds to VEGF pre-mRNA. We tested the hypothesis that topical (eye drop) SRPK1-selective inhibitors could be generated that reduce pro-angiogenic isoforms, and prevent choroidal neovascularization in vivo. METHODS: Novel inhibitors were tested for SRPK inhibition in vitro, pro-angiogenic VEGF production in RPE cells by PCR and ELISA, and for inhibition of choroidal neovascularisation in mice and rats. RESULTS: A novel disubstituted furan inhibitor was selective for the SRPK family of kinases and reduced expression of pro-angiogenic but not antiangiogenic VEGF isoforms. This inhibitor and previously identified SRPK inhibitors significantly reduced choroidal neovascularisation in vivo. Topical administration of SRPK inhibitors dose-dependently blocked CNV with an EC50 of 9 μM. CONCLUSIONS: These results indicate that novel SRPK1 selective inhibitors could be a potentially novel topical (eye drop) therapeutic for wet AMD.
EMBO Mol Med, 5 (8), pp. 1149-1150. | Citations: 1 (Scopus) | Read more2013. Testis specific gene expression drives disease progression and Rituximab resistance in lymphoma.
Paediatric B-precursor ALL is a highly curable disease, however, treatment resistance in some patients and the long-term toxic effects of current therapies pose the need for more targeted therapeutic approaches. We addressed the cytotoxic effect of JQ1, a highly selective inhibitor against the transcriptional regulators, bromodomain and extra-terminal (BET) family of proteins, in paediatric ALL. We showed a potent in vitro cytotoxic response of a panel of primary ALL to JQ1, independent of their prognostic features but dependent on high MYC expression and coupled with transcriptional downregulation of multiple pro-survival pathways. In agreement with earlier studies, JQ1 induced cell cycle arrest. Here we show that BET inhibition also reduced c-Myc protein stability and suppressed progression of DNA replication forks in ALL cells. Consistent with c-Myc depletion and downregulation of pro-survival pathways JQ1 sensitised primary ALL samples to the classic ALL therapeutic agent dexamethasone. Finally, we demonstrated that JQ1 reduces ALL growth in ALL xenograft models, both as a single agent and in combination with dexamethasone. We conclude that targeting BET proteins should be considered as a new therapeutic strategy for the treatment of paediatric ALL and particularly those cases that exhibit suboptimal responses to standard treatment.
Pim-1 kinase, a serine/threonine protein kinase encoded by the pim proto-oncogene, is involved in several signalling pathways such as the regulation of cell cycle progression and apoptosis. Many cancer types show high expression levels of Pim kinases and particularly Pim-1 has been linked to the initiation and progression of the malignant phenotype. In several cancer tissues somatic Pim-1 mutants have been identified. These natural variants are nonsynonymous single nucleotide polymorphisms, variations of a single nucleotide occurring in the coding region and leading to amino acid substitutions. In this study we investigated the effect of amino acid substitution on the structural stability and on the activity of Pim-1 kinase. We expressed and purified some of the mutants of Pim-1 kinase that are expressed in cancer tissues and reported in the single nucleotide polymorphisms database. The point mutations in the variants significantly affect the conformation of the native state of Pim-1. All the mutants, expressed as soluble recombinant proteins, show a decreased thermal and thermodynamic stability and a lower activation energy values for kinase activity. The decreased stability accompanied by an increased flexibility suggests that Pim-1 variants may be involved in a wider network of protein interactions. All mutants bound ATP and ATP mimetic inhibitors with comparable IC50 values suggesting that the studied Pim-1 kinase mutants can be efficiently targeted with inhibitors developed for the wild type protein.
Potent and selective: The unique nature of the ATP binding pocket structure of Pim family protein kinases (PKs) was used for the development of bisubstrate inhibitors and a fluorescent probe with sub-nanomolar affinity. Conjugates of arginine-rich peptides with two ATP mimetic scaffolds were synthesized and tested as inhibitors of Pim-1. Against a panel of 124 protein kinases, a novel ARC-PIM conjugate selectively inhibited PKs of the Pim family.
The protein kinase ERK5 (MAPK7) is an emerging drug target for a variety of indications, in particular for cancer where it plays a key role mediating cell proliferation, survival, epithelial-mesenchymal transition, and angiogenesis. To date, no three-dimensional structure has been published that would allow rational design of inhibitors. To address this, we determined the X-ray crystal structure of the human ERK5 kinase domain in complex with a highly specific benzo[e]pyrimido[5,4-b]diazepine-6(11H)-one inhibitor. The structure reveals that specific residue differences in the ATP-binding site, compared to the related ERKs p38s and JNKs, allow for the development of ERK5-specific inhibitors. The selectivity of previously observed ERK5 inhibitors can also be rationalized using this structure, which provides a template for future development of inhibitors with potential for treatment of disease.
Nearly 90% of human melanomas contain inactivated wild-type p53, the underlying mechanisms for which are not fully understood. Here, we identify that cyclin B1/CDK1-phosphorylates iASPP, which leads to the inhibition of iASPP dimerization, promotion of iASPP monomer nuclear entry, and exposure of its p53 binding sites, leading to increased p53 inhibition. Nuclear iASPP is enriched in melanoma metastasis and associates with poor patient survival. Most wild-type p53-expressing melanoma cell lines coexpress high levels of phosphorylated nuclear iASPP, MDM2, and cyclin B1. Inhibition of MDM2 and iASPP phosphorylation with small molecules induced p53-dependent apoptosis and growth suppression. Concurrent p53 reactivation and BRAFV600E inhibition achieved additive suppression in vivo, presenting an alternative for melanoma therapy.
Dual-specificity tyrosine-(Y)-phosphorylation-regulated kinases (DYRKs) play key roles in brain development, regulation of splicing, and apoptosis, and are potential drug targets for neurodegenerative diseases and cancer. We present crystal structures of one representative member of each DYRK subfamily: DYRK1A with an ATP-mimetic inhibitor and consensus peptide, and DYRK2 including NAPA and DH (DYRK homology) box regions. The current activation model suggests that DYRKs are Ser/Thr kinases that only autophosphorylate the second tyrosine of the activation loop YxY motif during protein translation. The structures explain the roles of this tyrosine and of the DH box in DYRK activation and provide a structural model for DYRK substrate recognition. Phosphorylation of a library of naturally occurring peptides identified substrate motifs that lack proline in the P+1 position, suggesting that DYRK1A is not a strictly proline-directed kinase. Our data also show that DYRK1A wild-type and Y321F mutant retain tyrosine autophosphorylation activity.
Bromo and extra terminal (BET) proteins (BRD2, BRD3, BRD4, and BRDT) are transcriptional regulators required for efficient expression of several growth promoting and antiapoptotic genes as well as for cell-cycle progression. BET proteins are recruited on transcriptionally active chromatin via their two N-terminal bromodomains (BRD), a protein interaction module that specifically recognizes acetylated lysine residues in histones H3 and H4. Inhibition of the BET-histone interaction results in transcriptional downregulation of a number of oncogenes, providing a novel pharmacologic strategy for the treatment of cancer. Here, we present a potent and highly selective dihydroquinazoline-2-one inhibitor, PFI-1, which efficiently blocks the interaction of BET BRDs with acetylated histone tails. Cocrystal structures showed that PFI-1 acts as an acetyl-lysine (Kac) mimetic inhibitor efficiently occupying the Kac binding site in BRD4 and BRD2. PFI-1 has antiproliferative effects on leukemic cell lines and efficiently abrogates their clonogenic growth. Exposure of sensitive cell lines with PFI-1 results in G1 cell-cycle arrest, downregulation of MYC expression, as well as induction of apoptosis and induces differentiation of primary leukemic blasts. Intriguingly, cells exposed to PFI-1 showed significant downregulation of Aurora B kinase, thus attenuating phosphorylation of the Aurora substrate H3S10, providing an alternative strategy for the specific inhibition of this well-established oncology target.
The landscape of human phosphorylation networks has not been systematically explored, representing vast, unchartered territories within cellular signaling networks. Although a large number of in vivo phosphorylated residues have been identified by mass spectrometry (MS)-based approaches, assigning the upstream kinases to these residues requires biochemical analysis of kinase-substrate relationships (KSRs). Here, we developed a new strategy, called CEASAR, based on functional protein microarrays and bioinformatics to experimentally identify substrates for 289 unique kinases, resulting in 3656 high-quality KSRs. We then generated consensus phosphorylation motifs for each of the kinases and integrated this information, along with information about in vivo phosphorylation sites determined by MS, to construct a high-resolution map of phosphorylation networks that connects 230 kinases to 2591 in vivo phosphorylation sites in 652 substrates. The value of this data set is demonstrated through the discovery of a new role for PKA downstream of Btk (Bruton's tyrosine kinase) during B-cell receptor signaling. Overall, these studies provide global insights into kinase-mediated signaling pathways and promise to advance our understanding of cellular signaling processes in humans.
CLINICAL CANCER RESEARCH, 19 (7), pp. 1748-1759. | Citations: 150 (Web of Science Lite) | Read more2013. Inhibition of BET Bromodomain Targets Genetically Diverse Glioblastoma
The bromodomain protein module, which binds to acetylated lysine, is emerging as an important epigenetic therapeutic target. We report the structure-guided optimization of 3,5-dimethylisoxazole derivatives to develop potent inhibitors of the BET (bromodomain and extra terminal domain) bromodomain family with good ligand efficiency. X-ray crystal structures of the most potent compounds reveal key interactions required for high affinity at BRD4(1). Cellular studies demonstrate that the phenol and acetate derivatives of the lead compounds showed strong antiproliferative effects on MV4;11 acute myeloid leukemia cells, as shown for other BET bromodomain inhibitors and genetic BRD4 knockdown, whereas the reported compounds showed no general cytotoxicity in other cancer cell lines tested.
The Second Annual Symposium of the Global Cancer Genomics Consortium (GCGC) was held at the Tata Memorial Center in Mumbai, India, from November 19 to 20, 2012. Founded in late 2010, the GCGC aims to provide a platform for highly productive, collaborative efforts on next-generation cancer research through bridging the latest scientific and technology developments with clinical oncology challenges. This year's presenters brought together highly innovative interdisciplinary views and strategies to meet major challenges in cancer research. The symposium featured 3 major themes: OMICS approaches toward the identification of cancer molecular drivers, single-cell analysis in cancer, and clinical and translational genomics. Each theme was represented in presentations of new findings, with an obvious implication in cross-disciplinary components of OMICs and an overwhelming participation by students. In summary, the GCGC symposium provided a discussion and congregation of the latest advances in basic and translational cancer research and offered the participants with a highly cooperative network environment for future collaboration. © The Author(s) 2013.
Chemical inhibition of proteins involved in chromatin-mediated signaling is an emerging strategy to control chromatin compaction with the aim to reprogram expression networks to alter disease states. Protein methyltransferases constitute one of the protein families that participate in epigenetic control of gene expression, and represent a novel therapeutic target class. Recruitment of the protein lysine methyltransferase DOT1L at aberrant loci is a frequent mechanism driving acute lymphoid and myeloid leukemias, particularly in infants, and pharmacological inhibition of DOT1L extends survival in a mouse model of mixed lineage leukemia. A better understanding of the structural chemistry of DOT1L inhibition would accelerate the development of improved compounds. Here, we report that the addition of a single halogen atom at a critical position in the cofactor product S-adenosylhomocysteine (SAH, an inhibitor of SAM-dependent methyltransferases) results in an 8-fold increase in potency against DOT1L, and reduced activities against other protein and non-protein methyltransferases. We solved the crystal structure of DOT1L in complex with Bromo-deaza-SAH and rationalized the observed effects. This discovery reveals a simple strategy to engineer selectivity and potency towards DOT1L into the adenosine scaffold of the cofactor shared by all methyltransferases, and can be exploited towards the development of clinical candidates against mixed lineage leukemia.
Cullin-RING ligases are multisubunit E3 ubiquitin ligases that recruit substrate-specific adaptors to catalyze protein ubiquitylation. Cul3-based Cullin-RING ligases are uniquely associated with BTB adaptors that incorporate homodimerization, Cul3 assembly, and substrate recognition into a single multidomain protein, of which the best known are BTB-BACK-Kelch domain proteins, including KEAP1. Cul3 assembly requires a BTB protein "3-box" motif, analogous to the F-box and SOCS box motifs of other Cullin-based E3s. To define the molecular basis for this assembly and the overall architecture of the E3, we determined the crystal structures of the BTB-BACK domains of KLHL11 both alone and in complex with Cul3, along with the Kelch domain structures of KLHL2 (Mayven), KLHL7, KLHL12, and KBTBD5. We show that Cul3 interaction is dependent on a unique N-terminal extension sequence that packs against the 3-box in a hydrophobic groove centrally located between the BTB and BACK domains. Deletion of this N-terminal region results in a 30-fold loss in affinity. The presented data offer a model for the quaternary assembly of this E3 class that supports the bivalent capture of Nrf2 and reveals potential new sites for E3 inhibitor design.
DYRK kinases are involved in alternative pre-mRNA splicing as well as in neuropathological states such as Alzheimer's disease and Down syndrome. In this study, we present the design, synthesis, and biological evaluation of indirubins as DYRK inhibitors with enhanced selectivity. Modifications of the bis-indole included polar or acidic functionalities at positions 5' and 6' and a bromine or a trifluoromethyl group at position 7, affording analogues that possess high activity and pronounced specificity. Compound 6i carrying a 5'-carboxylate moiety demonstrated the best inhibitory profile. A novel inverse binding mode, which forms the basis for the improved selectivity, was suggested by molecular modeling and confirmed by determining the crystal structure of DYRK2 in complex with 6i. Structure-activity relationships were further established, including a thermodynamic analysis of binding site water molecules, offering a structural explanation for the selective DYRK inhibition.
Nat Chem Biol, 9 (1), pp. 3-6. | Citations: 79 (Scopus) | Read more2013. A public-private partnership to unlock the untargeted kinome.
Simple 1-substituted 5- and 6-isoxazolyl-benzimidazoles have been shown to be potent inhibitors of the BET bromodomains with selectivity over the related bromodomain of CBP. The reported inhibitors were prepared from simple starting materials in two steps followed by separation of the regioisomers or regioselectively in three steps.
The MO25 scaffolding protein operates as critical regulator of a number of STE20 family protein kinases (e.g. MST and SPAK isoforms) as well as pseudokinases (e.g. STRAD isoforms that play a critical role in activating the LKB1 tumour suppressor). To better understand how MO25 interacts and stimulates the activity of STE20 protein kinases, we determined the crystal structure of MST3 catalytic domain (residues 19-289) in complex with full length MO25β. The structure reveals an intricate web of interactions between MST3 and MO25β that function to stabilise the kinase domain in a closed, active, conformation even in the absence of ATP or an ATP-mimetic inhibitor. The binding mode of MO25β is reminiscent of the mechanism by which MO25α interacts with the pseudokinase STRADα. In particular we identified interface residues Tyr223 of MO25β and Glu58 and Ile71 of MST3 that when mutated prevent activation of MST3 by MO25β. These data provide molecular understanding of the mechanism by which MO25 isoforms regulates the activity of STE20 family protein kinases.
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