TDI Publications 2015

Lackner DH, Carré A, Guzzardo PM, Banning C, Mangena R, Henley T, Oberndorfer S, Gapp BV, Nijman SMB, Brummelkamp TR, Bürckstümmer T. 2015. A generic strategy for CRISPR-Cas9-mediated gene tagging. Nat Commun, 6 (1), pp. 10237. | Citations: 57 (Scopus) | Show Abstract | Read more

Genome engineering has been greatly enhanced by the availability of Cas9 endonuclease that can be targeted to almost any genomic locus using so called guide RNAs (gRNAs). However, the introduction of foreign DNA sequences to tag an endogenous gene is still cumbersome as it requires the synthesis or cloning of homology templates. Here we present a strategy that enables the tagging of endogenous loci using one generic donor plasmid. It contains the tag of interest flanked by two gRNA recognition sites that allow excision of the tag from the plasmid. Co-transfection of cells with Cas9, a gRNA specifying the genomic locus of interest, the donor plasmid and a cassette-specific gRNA triggers the insertion of the tag by a homology-independent mechanism. The strategy is efficient and delivers clones that display a predictable integration pattern. As showcases we generated NanoLuc luciferase- and TurboGFP-tagged reporter cell lines.

Vukovic M, Guitart AV, Sepulveda C, Villacreces A, O'Duibhir E, Panagopoulou TI, Ivens A, Menendez-Gonzalez J, Iglesias JM, Allen L et al. 2015. Hif-1α and Hif-2α synergize to suppress AML development but are dispensable for disease maintenance. J Exp Med, 212 (13), pp. 2223-2234. | Citations: 20 (Web of Science Lite) | Show Abstract | Read more

Leukemogenesis occurs under hypoxic conditions within the bone marrow (BM). Knockdown of key mediators of cellular responses to hypoxia with shRNA, namely hypoxia-inducible factor-1α (HIF-1α) or HIF-2α, in human acute myeloid leukemia (AML) samples results in their apoptosis and inability to engraft, implicating HIF-1α or HIF-2α as therapeutic targets. However, genetic deletion of Hif-1α has no effect on mouse AML maintenance and may accelerate disease development. Here, we report the impact of conditional genetic deletion of Hif-2α or both Hif-1α and Hif-2α at different stages of leukemogenesis in mice. Deletion of Hif-2α accelerates development of leukemic stem cells (LSCs) and shortens AML latency initiated by Mll-AF9 and its downstream effectors Meis1 and Hoxa9. Notably, the accelerated initiation of AML caused by Hif-2α deletion is further potentiated by Hif-1α codeletion. However, established LSCs lacking Hif-2α or both Hif-1α and Hif-2α propagate AML with the same latency as wild-type LSCs. Furthermore, pharmacological inhibition of the HIF pathway or HIF-2α knockout using the lentiviral CRISPR-Cas9 system in human established leukemic cells with MLL-AF9 translocation have no impact on their functions. We therefore conclude that although Hif-1α and Hif-2α synergize to suppress the development of AML, they are not required for LSC maintenance.

Picaud S, Fedorov O, Thanasopoulou A, Leonards K, Jones K, Meier J, Olzscha H, Monteiro O, Martin S, Philpott M et al. 2015. Generation of a Selective Small Molecule Inhibitor of the CBP/p300 Bromodomain for Leukemia Therapy. Cancer Res, 75 (23), pp. 5106-5119. | Citations: 85 (Scopus) | Show Abstract | Read more

The histone acetyltransferases CBP/p300 are involved in recurrent leukemia-associated chromosomal translocations and are key regulators of cell growth. Therefore, efforts to generate inhibitors of CBP/p300 are of clinical value. We developed a specific and potent acetyl-lysine competitive protein-protein interaction inhibitor, I-CBP112, that targets the CBP/p300 bromodomains. Exposure of human and mouse leukemic cell lines to I-CBP112 resulted in substantially impaired colony formation and induced cellular differentiation without significant cytotoxicity. I-CBP112 significantly reduced the leukemia-initiating potential of MLL-AF9(+) acute myeloid leukemia cells in a dose-dependent manner in vitro and in vivo. Interestingly, I-CBP112 increased the cytotoxic activity of BET bromodomain inhibitor JQ1 as well as doxorubicin. Collectively, we report the development and preclinical evaluation of a novel, potent inhibitor targeting CBP/p300 bromodomains that impairs aberrant self-renewal of leukemic cells. The synergistic effects of I-CBP112 and current standard therapy (doxorubicin) as well as emerging treatment strategies (BET inhibition) provide new opportunities for combinatorial treatment of leukemia and potentially other cancers.

Inglés-Prieto Á, Reichhart E, Muellner MK, Nowak M, Nijman SMB, Grusch M, Janovjak H. 2015. Light-assisted small-molecule screening against protein kinases. Nat Chem Biol, 11 (12), pp. 952-954. | Citations: 18 (Scopus) | Show Abstract | Read more

High-throughput live-cell screens are intricate elements of systems biology studies and drug discovery pipelines. Here, we demonstrate an optogenetics-assisted method that avoids the need for chemical activators and reporters, reduces the number of operational steps and increases information content in a cell-based small-molecule screen against human protein kinases, including an orphan receptor tyrosine kinase. This blueprint for all-optical screening can be adapted to many drug targets and cellular processes.

Nijman SMB. 2015. Functional genomics to uncover drug mechanism of action. Nat Chem Biol, 11 (12), pp. 942-948. | Citations: 32 (Scopus) | Show Abstract | Read more

The upswing in US Food and Drug Administration and European Medicines Agency drug approvals in 2014 may have marked an end to the dry spell that has troubled the pharmaceutical industry over the past decade. Regardless, the attrition rate of drugs in late clinical phases remains high, and a lack of target validation has been highlighted as an explanation. This has led to a resurgence in appreciation of phenotypic drug screens, as these may be more likely to yield compounds with relevant modes of action. However, cell-based screening approaches do not directly reveal cellular targets, and hence target deconvolution and a detailed understanding of drug action are needed for efficient lead optimization and biomarker development. Here, recently developed functional genomics technologies that address this need are reviewed. The approaches pioneered in model organisms, particularly in yeast, and more recently adapted to mammalian systems are discussed. Finally, areas of particular interest and directions for future tool development are highlighted.

Herr P, Lundin C, Evers B, Ebner D, Bauerschmidt C, Kingham G, Palmai-Pallag T, Mortusewicz O, Frings O, Sonnhammer E, Helleday T. 2015. A genome-wide IR-induced RAD51 foci RNAi screen identifies CDC73 involved in chromatin remodeling for DNA repair. Cell Discov, 1 (1), pp. 15034. | Citations: 5 (European Pubmed Central) | Show Abstract | Read more

To identify new regulators of homologous recombination repair, we carried out a genome-wide short-interfering RNA screen combined with ionizing irradiation using RAD51 foci formation as readout. All candidates were confirmed by independent short-interfering RNAs and validated in secondary assays like recombination repair activity and RPA foci formation. Network analysis of the top modifiers identified gene clusters involved in recombination repair as well as components of the ribosome, the proteasome and the spliceosome, which are known to be required for effective DNA repair. We identified and characterized the RNA polymerase II-associated protein CDC73/Parafibromin as a new player in recombination repair and show that it is critical for genomic stability. CDC73 interacts with components of the SCF/Cullin and INO80/NuA4 chromatin-remodeling complexes to promote Histone ubiquitination. Our findings indicate that CDC73 is involved in local chromatin decondensation at sites of DNA damage to promote DNA repair. This function of CDC73 is related to but independent of its role in transcriptional elongation.

Watson AS, Riffelmacher T, Stranks A, Williams O, De Boer J, Cain K, MacFarlane M, McGouran J, Kessler B, Khandwala S et al. 2015. Autophagy limits proliferation and glycolytic metabolism in acute myeloid leukemia. Cell Death Discov, 1 (1), | Citations: 37 (Web of Science Lite) | Show Abstract | Read more

Decreased autophagy contributes to malignancies, however it is unclear how autophagy impacts on tumour growth. Acute myeloid leukemia (AML) is an ideal model to address this as (i) patient samples are easily accessible, (ii) the hematopoietic stem and progenitor population (HSPC) where transformation occurs is well characterized, and (iii) loss of the key autophagy gene Atg7 in hematopoietic stem and progenitor cells (HSPCs) leads to a lethal pre-leukemic phenotype in mice. Here we demonstrate that loss of Atg5 results in an identical HSPC phenotype as loss of Atg7, confirming a general role for autophagy in HSPC regulation. Compared to more committed/mature hematopoietic cells, healthy human and mouse HSCs displayed enhanced basal autophagic flux, limiting mitochondrial damage and reactive oxygen species in this long-lived population. Taken together, with our previous findings these data are compatible with autophagy limiting leukemic transformation. In line with this, autophagy gene losses are found within chromosomal regions that are commonly deleted in human AML. Moreover, human AML blasts showed reduced expression of autophagy genes, and displayed decreased autophagic flux with accumulation of unhealthy mitochondria indicating that deficient autophagy may be beneficial to human AML. Crucially, heterozygous loss of autophagy in an MLL-ENL model of AML led to increased proliferation in vitro, a glycolytic shift, and more aggressive leukemias in vivo. With autophagy gene losses also identified in multiple other malignancies, these findings point to low autophagy providing a general advantage for tumour growth.

Ekambaram R, Manoharan GB, Enkvist E, Ligi K, Knapp S, Uri A. 2015. PIM kinase-responsive microsecond-lifetime photoluminescent probes based on selenium-containing heteroaromatic tricycle RSC ADVANCES, 5 (117), pp. 96750-96757. | Citations: 4 (Web of Science Lite) | Show Abstract | Read more

<p>Microsecond-lifetime binding-responsive organic photoluminescent probes for PIM kinases were developed based on selenium-comprising heteroaromatic tricycle.</p>

Müller S, Chaikuad A, Gray NS, Knapp S. 2015. The ins and outs of selective kinase inhibitor development. Nat Chem Biol, 11 (11), pp. 818-821. | Citations: 88 (Scopus) | Read more

Fedorov O, Castex J, Tallant C, Owen DR, Martin S, Aldeghi M, Monteiro O, Filippakopoulos P, Picaud S, Trzupek JD et al. 2015. Selective targeting of the BRG/PB1 bromodomains impairs embryonic and trophoblast stem cell maintenance. Sci Adv, 1 (10), pp. e1500723. | Citations: 32 (Scopus) | Show Abstract | Read more

Mammalian SWI/SNF [also called Brg/Brahma-associated factors (BAFs)] are evolutionarily conserved chromatin-remodeling complexes regulating gene transcription programs during development and stem cell differentiation. BAF complexes contain an ATP (adenosine 5'-triphosphate)-driven remodeling enzyme (either BRG1 or BRM) and multiple protein interaction domains including bromodomains, an evolutionary conserved acetyl lysine-dependent protein interaction motif that recruits transcriptional regulators to acetylated chromatin. We report a potent and cell active protein interaction inhibitor, PFI-3, that selectively binds to essential BAF bromodomains. The high specificity of PFI-3 was achieved on the basis of a novel binding mode of a salicylic acid head group that led to the replacement of water molecules typically maintained in other bromodomain inhibitor complexes. We show that exposure of embryonic stem cells to PFI-3 led to deprivation of stemness and deregulated lineage specification. Furthermore, differentiation of trophoblast stem cells in the presence of PFI-3 was markedly enhanced. The data present a key function of BAF bromodomains in stem cell maintenance and differentiation, introducing a novel versatile chemical probe for studies on acetylation-dependent cellular processes controlled by BAF remodeling complexes.

Huang H, Fischer R, Secher N, Ravlo K, Soendergaard P, Norregaard R, Akhtar ZM, Kaisar M, Kessler B, Ploeg R, Jespersen B. 2015. USE OF PROTEOMICS TO IDENTIFY MOLECULAR PATHWAYS RELEVANT FOR REMOTE ISCHAEMIC CONDITIONING IN KIDNEY TRANSPLANTATION TRANSPLANT INTERNATIONAL, 28 pp. 64-64.

Kaisar M, Lo Faro L, Akhtar Z, Huang H, Leuvenink H, Kessler B, Ploeg R. 2015. IMPACT OF ORCHESTRATED DYSREGULATION OF DONOR METABOLIC PATHWAYS AFTER BRAIN DEATH WITH INCREASED CELL DEATH PROTEINS AND ROS SCAVENGER MOLECULES ON EARLY FUNCTION AFTER KIDNEY TRANSPLANTATION TRANSPLANT INTERNATIONAL, 28 pp. 620-620.

Kaisar M, Huang H, Akhtar Z, Lo Faro L, Leuvenink H, Kessler B, Ploeg R. 2015. USE OF PROTEOMIC SIGNATURES IN DONOR SERUM AND URINE TO DIFFERENTIATE BETWEEN IMMEDIATE FUNCTION AND DELAYED GRAFT FUNCTION AFTER KIDNEY TRANSPLANTATION TRANSPLANT INTERNATIONAL, 28 pp. 67-67.

Arrowsmith CH, Audia JE, Austin C, Baell J, Bennett J, Blagg J, Bountra C, Brennan PE, Brown PJ, Bunnage ME et al. 2015. The promise and peril of chemical probes (vol 11, pg 536, 2015) NATURE CHEMICAL BIOLOGY, 11 (11), pp. 887-887. | Citations: 4 (Web of Science Lite) | Read more

Castro-Giner F, Ratcliffe P, Tomlinson I. 2015. The mini-driver model of polygenic cancer evolution. Nat Rev Cancer, 15 (11), pp. 680-685. | Citations: 30 (Web of Science Lite) | Show Abstract | Read more

Much of cancer genetics research has focused on the identification of the most-important somatic mutations ('major drivers') that cause tumour growth. However, many mutations found in cancer might not be major drivers or 'passenger' mutations, but instead might have relatively weak tumour-promoting effects. Our aim is to highlight the existence of these mutations (termed 'mini drivers' herein), as multiple mini-driver mutations might substitute for a major-driver change, especially in the presence of genomic instability or high mutagen exposure. The mini-driver model has clinical implications: for example, the effects of therapeutically targeting such genes may be limited. However, the main importance of the model lies in helping to provide a complete understanding of tumorigenesis, especially as we anticipate that an increasing number of mini-driver mutations will be found by cancer genome sequencing.

Darby RAJ, Unsworth A, Knapp S, Kerr ID, Callaghan R. 2015. Overcoming ABCG2-mediated drug resistance with imidazo-[1,2-b]-pyridazine-based Pim1 kinase inhibitors. Cancer Chemother Pharmacol, 76 (4), pp. 853-864. | Citations: 4 (Web of Science Lite) | Show Abstract | Read more

PURPOSE: Multidrug efflux pumps such as ABCG2 confer drug resistance to a number of cancer types, leading to poor prognosis and outcome. To date, the strategy of directly inhibiting multidrug efflux pumps in order to overcome drug resistance in cancer has been unsuccessful. An alternative strategy is to target proteins involved in the regulation of multidrug efflux pump activity or expression. Pim1 kinase has been demonstrated to phosphorylate ABCG2, promote its oligomerisation and contribute to its ability to confer drug resistance. METHODS: In the present manuscript, imidazo-pyridazine-based inhibitors of Pim1 were examined for their ability to overcome ABCG2-mediated drug resistance. Drug efficacy was measured as a cytotoxic response or an effect on transport by ABCG2. Protein expression patterns were assessed using western immuno-blotting. RESULTS: The two Pim1 inhibitors increased the potency of flavopiridol, mitoxantrone, topotecan and doxorubicin, specifically in ABCG2-expressing cells. This effect was associated with an increase in the cellular accumulation of [(3)H]-mitoxantrone, suggesting direct impairment of the transporter. However, prolonged pre-incubation with the studied inhibitors greatly enhanced the effect on mitoxantrone accumulation. The inhibitors caused a significant time-dependent reduction in the expression of ABCG2 in the resistant cells, an effect that would improve drug efficacy. CONCLUSION: Consequently, it appears that the Pim1 inhibitors display a dual-mode effect on ABCG2-expressing cancer cells. This may provide a powerful new strategy in overcoming drug resistance by targeting proteins that regulate expression of efflux pumps.

Arrowsmith CH, Audia JE, Austin C, Baell J, Bennett J, Blagg J, Bountra C, Brennan PE, Brown PJ, Bunnage ME et al. 2015. Corrigendum: The promise and peril of chemical probes. Nat Chem Biol, 11 (11), pp. 887. | Citations: 4 (European Pubmed Central) | Read more

Wijnhoven P, Konietzny R, Blackford AN, Travers J, Kessler BM, Nishi R, Jackson SP. 2015. USP4 Auto-Deubiquitylation Promotes Homologous Recombination. Mol Cell, 60 (3), pp. 362-373. | Citations: 28 (Web of Science Lite) | Show Abstract | Read more

Repair of DNA double-strand breaks is crucial for maintaining genome integrity and is governed by post-translational modifications such as protein ubiquitylation. Here, we establish that the deubiquitylating enzyme USP4 promotes DNA-end resection and DNA repair by homologous recombination. We also report that USP4 interacts with CtIP and the MRE11-RAD50-NBS1 (MRN) complex and is required for CtIP recruitment to DNA damage sites. Furthermore, we show that USP4 is ubiquitylated on multiple sites including those on cysteine residues and that deubiquitylation of these sites requires USP4 catalytic activity and is required for USP4 to interact with CtIP/MRN and to promote CtIP recruitment and DNA repair. Lastly, we establish that regulation of interactor binding by ubiquitylation occurs more generally among USP-family enzymes. Our findings thus identify USP4 as a novel DNA repair regulator and invoke a model in which ubiquitin adducts regulate USP enzyme interactions and functions.

Thinnes CC, Tumber A, Yapp C, Scozzafava G, Yeh T, Chan MC, Tran TA, Hsu K, Tarhonskaya H, Walport LJ et al. 2015. Betti reaction enables efficient synthesis of 8-hydroxyquinoline inhibitors of 2-oxoglutarate oxygenases. Chem Commun (Camb), 51 (84), pp. 15458-15461. | Citations: 18 (Scopus) | Show Abstract | Read more

There is interest in developing potent, selective, and cell-permeable inhibitors of human ferrous iron and 2-oxoglutarate (2OG) oxygenases for use in functional and target validation studies. The 3-component Betti reaction enables efficient one-step C-7 functionalisation of modified 8-hydroxyquinolines (8HQs) to produce cell-active inhibitors of KDM4 histone demethylases and other 2OG oxygenases; the work exemplifies how a template-based metallo-enzyme inhibitor approach can be used to give biologically active compounds.

Huber KVM, Olek KM, Müller AC, Tan CSH, Bennett KL, Colinge J, Superti-Furga G. 2015. Proteome-wide drug and metabolite interaction mapping by thermal-stability profiling. Nat Methods, 12 (11), pp. 1055-1057. | Citations: 59 (Scopus) | Show Abstract | Read more

Thermal stabilization of proteins after ligand binding provides an efficient means to assess the binding of small molecules to proteins. We show here that in combination with quantitative mass spectrometry, the approach allows for the systematic survey of protein engagement by cellular metabolites and drugs. We profiled the targets of the drugs methotrexate and (S)-crizotinib and the metabolite 2'3'-cGAMP in intact cells and identified the 2'3'-cGAMP cognate transmembrane receptor STING, involved in immune signaling.

Grebien F, Vedadi M, Getlik M, Giambruno R, Grover A, Avellino R, Skucha A, Vittori S, Kuznetsova E, Smil D et al. 2015. Erratum: Pharmacological targeting of the Wdr5-MLL interaction in C/EBPα N-terminal leukemia. Nat Chem Biol, 11 (10), pp. 815. | Read more

Singleton DC, Rouhi P, Zois CE, Haider S, Li J-L, Kessler BM, Cao Y, Harris AL. 2015. Hypoxic regulation of RIOK3 is a major mechanism for cancer cell invasion and metastasis. Oncogene, 34 (36), pp. 4713-4722. | Citations: 12 (Scopus) | Show Abstract | Read more

Hypoxia is a common feature of locally advanced breast cancers that is associated with increased metastasis and poorer survival. Stabilisation of hypoxia-inducible factor-1α (HIF1α) in tumours causes transcriptional changes in numerous genes that function at distinct stages of the metastatic cascade. We demonstrate that expression of RIOK3 (RIght Open reading frame kinase 3) was increased during hypoxic exposure in an HIF1α-dependent manner. RIOK3 was localised to distinct cytoplasmic aggregates in normoxic cells and underwent redistribution to the leading edge of the cell in hypoxia with a corresponding change in the organisation of the actin cytoskeleton. Depletion of RIOK3 expression caused MDA-MB-231 to become elongated and this morphological change was due to a loss of protraction at the trailing edge of the cell. This phenotypic change resulted in reduced cell migration in two-dimensional cultures and inhibition of cell invasion through three-dimensional extracellular matrix. Proteomic analysis identified interactions of RIOK3 with actin and several actin-binding factors including tropomyosins (TPM3 and TPM4) and tropomodulin 3. Depletion of RIOK3 in cells resulted in fewer and less organised actin filaments. Analysis of these filaments showed reduced association of TPM3, particularly during hypoxia, suggesting that RIOK3 regulates actin filament specialisation. RIOK3 depletion reduced the dissemination of MDA-MB-231 cells in both a zebrafish model of systemic metastasis and a mouse model of pulmonary metastasis. These findings demonstrate that RIOK3 is necessary for maintaining actin cytoskeletal organisation required for migration and invasion, biological processes that are necessary for hypoxia-driven metastasis.

Jallow S, Leligdowicz A, Kramer HB, Onyango C, Cotten M, Wright C, Whittle HC, McMichael A, Dong T, Kessler BM, Rowland-Jones SL. 2015. Correction. The presence of prolines in the flanking region of an immunodominant HIV-2 gag epitope influences the quality and quantity of the epitope generated. Eur J Immunol, 45 (9), pp. 2701. | Read more

Jallow S, Leligdowicz A, Kramer HB, Onyango C, Cotten M, Wright C, Whittle HC, McMichael A, Dong T, Kessler BM, Rowland-Jones SL. 2015. The presence of prolines in the flanking region of an immunodominant HIV-2 gag epitope influences the quality and quantity of the epitope generated (vol 45, pg 2232, 2015) EUROPEAN JOURNAL OF IMMUNOLOGY, 45 (9), pp. 2701-2701. | Read more

Canning P, Ruan Q, Schwerd T, Hrdinka M, Maki JL, Saleh D, Suebsuwong C, Ray S, Brennan PE, Cuny GD et al. 2015. Inflammatory Signaling by NOD-RIPK2 Is Inhibited by Clinically Relevant Type II Kinase Inhibitors. Chem Biol, 22 (9), pp. 1174-1184. | Citations: 36 (Scopus) | Show Abstract | Read more

RIPK2 mediates pro-inflammatory signaling from the bacterial sensors NOD1 and NOD2, and is an emerging therapeutic target in autoimmune and inflammatory diseases. We observed that cellular RIPK2 can be potently inhibited by type II inhibitors that displace the kinase activation segment, whereas ATP-competitive type I inhibition was only poorly effective. The most potent RIPK2 inhibitors were the US Food and Drug Administration-approved drugs ponatinib and regorafenib. Their mechanism of action was independent of NOD2 interaction and involved loss of downstream kinase activation as evidenced by lack of RIPK2 autophosphorylation. Notably, these molecules also blocked RIPK2 ubiquitination and, consequently, inflammatory nuclear factor κB signaling. In monocytes, the inhibitors selectively blocked NOD-dependent tumor necrosis factor production without affecting lipopolysaccharide-dependent pathways. We also determined the first crystal structure of RIPK2 bound to ponatinib, and identified an allosteric site for inhibitor development. These results highlight the potential for type II inhibitors to treat indications of RIPK2 activation as well as inflammation-associated cancers.

Choudhry H, Albukhari A, Morotti M, Haider S, Moralli D, Smythies J, Schödel J, Green CM, Camps C, Buffa F et al. 2015. Tumor hypoxia induces nuclear paraspeckle formation through HIF-2α dependent transcriptional activation of NEAT1 leading to cancer cell survival. Oncogene, 34 (34), pp. 4482-4490. | Citations: 94 (Scopus) | Show Abstract | Read more

Activation of cellular transcriptional responses, mediated by hypoxia-inducible factor (HIF), is common in many types of cancer, and generally confers a poor prognosis. Known to induce many hundreds of protein-coding genes, HIF has also recently been shown to be a key regulator of the non-coding transcriptional response. Here, we show that NEAT1 long non-coding RNA (lncRNA) is a direct transcriptional target of HIF in many breast cancer cell lines and in solid tumors. Unlike previously described lncRNAs, NEAT1 is regulated principally by HIF-2 rather than by HIF-1. NEAT1 is a nuclear lncRNA that is an essential structural component of paraspeckles and the hypoxic induction of NEAT1 induces paraspeckle formation in a manner that is dependent upon both NEAT1 and on HIF-2. Paraspeckles are multifunction nuclear structures that sequester transcriptionally active proteins as well as RNA transcripts that have been subjected to adenosine-to-inosine (A-to-I) editing. We show that the nuclear retention of one such transcript, F11R (also known as junctional adhesion molecule 1, JAM1), in hypoxia is dependent upon the hypoxic increase in NEAT1, thereby conferring a novel mechanism of HIF-dependent gene regulation. Induction of NEAT1 in hypoxia also leads to accelerated cellular proliferation, improved clonogenic survival and reduced apoptosis, all of which are hallmarks of increased tumorigenesis. Furthermore, in patients with breast cancer, high tumor NEAT1 expression correlates with poor survival. Taken together, these results indicate a new role for HIF transcriptional pathways in the regulation of nuclear structure and that this contributes to the pro-tumorigenic hypoxia-phenotype in breast cancer.

Rouka E, Simister PC, Janning M, Kumbrink J, Konstantinou T, Muniz JRC, Joshi D, O'Reilly N, Volkmer R, Ritter B et al. 2015. Differential Recognition Preferences of the Three Src Homology 3 (SH3) Domains from the Adaptor CD2-associated Protein (CD2AP) and Direct Association with Ras and Rab Interactor 3 (RIN3). J Biol Chem, 290 (42), pp. 25275-25292. | Citations: 11 (Scopus) | Show Abstract | Read more

CD2AP is an adaptor protein involved in membrane trafficking, with essential roles in maintaining podocyte function within the kidney glomerulus. CD2AP contains three Src homology 3 (SH3) domains that mediate multiple protein-protein interactions. However, a detailed comparison of the molecular binding preferences of each SH3 remained unexplored, as well as the discovery of novel interactors. Thus, we studied the binding properties of each SH3 domain to the known interactor Casitas B-lineage lymphoma protein (c-CBL), conducted a peptide array screen based on the recognition motif PxPxPR and identified 40 known or novel candidate binding proteins, such as RIN3, a RAB5-activating guanine nucleotide exchange factor. CD2AP SH3 domains 1 and 2 generally bound with similar characteristics and specificities, whereas the SH3-3 domain bound more weakly to most peptide ligands tested yet recognized an unusually extended sequence in ALG-2-interacting protein X (ALIX). RIN3 peptide scanning arrays revealed two CD2AP binding sites, recognized by all three SH3 domains, but SH3-3 appeared non-functional in precipitation experiments. RIN3 recruited CD2AP to RAB5a-positive early endosomes via these interaction sites. Permutation arrays and isothermal titration calorimetry data showed that the preferred binding motif is Px(P/A)xPR. Two high-resolution crystal structures (1.65 and 1.11 Å) of CD2AP SH3-1 and SH3-2 solved in complex with RIN3 epitopes 1 and 2, respectively, indicated that another extended motif is relevant in epitope 2. In conclusion, we have discovered novel interaction candidates for CD2AP and characterized subtle yet significant differences in the recognition preferences of its three SH3 domains for c-CBL, ALIX, and RIN3.

Simpson PD, Eipper BA, Katz MJ, Gandara L, Wappner P, Fischer R, Hodson EJ, Ratcliffe PJ, Masson N. 2015. Striking Oxygen Sensitivity of the Peptidylglycine α-Amidating Monooxygenase (PAM) in Neuroendocrine Cells. J Biol Chem, 290 (41), pp. 24891-24901. | Citations: 11 (Web of Science Lite) | Show Abstract | Read more

Interactions between biological pathways and molecular oxygen require robust mechanisms for detecting and responding to changes in cellular oxygen availability, to support oxygen homeostasis. Peptidylglycine α-amidating monooxygenase (PAM) catalyzes a two-step reaction resulting in the C-terminal amidation of peptides, a process important for their stability and biological activity. Here we show that in human, mouse, and insect cells, peptide amidation is exquisitely sensitive to hypoxia. Different amidation events on chromogranin A, and on peptides processed from proopiomelanocortin, manifest similar striking sensitivity to hypoxia in a range of neuroendocrine cells, being progressively inhibited from mild (7% O2) to severe (1% O2) hypoxia. In developing Drosophila melanogaster larvae, FMRF amidation in thoracic ventral (Tv) neurons is strikingly suppressed by hypoxia. Our findings have thus defined a novel monooxygenase-based oxygen sensing mechanism that has the capacity to signal changes in oxygen availability to peptidergic pathways.

Salama R, Masson N, Simpson P, Sciesielski LK, Sun M, Tian Y-M, Ratcliffe PJ, Mole DR. 2015. Heterogeneous Effects of Direct Hypoxia Pathway Activation in Kidney Cancer. PLoS One, 10 (8), pp. e0134645. | Citations: 22 (Web of Science Lite) | Show Abstract | Read more

General activation of hypoxia-inducible factor (HIF) pathways is classically associated with adverse prognosis in cancer and has been proposed to contribute to oncogenic drive. In clear cell renal carcinoma (CCRC) HIF pathways are upregulated by inactivation of the von-Hippel-Lindau tumor suppressor. However HIF-1α and HIF-2α have contrasting effects on experimental tumor progression. To better understand this paradox we examined pan-genomic patterns of HIF DNA binding and associated gene expression in response to manipulation of HIF-1α and HIF-2α and related the findings to CCRC prognosis. Our findings reveal distinct pan-genomic organization of canonical and non-canonical HIF isoform-specific DNA binding at thousands of sites. Overall associations were observed between HIF-1α-specific binding, and genes associated with favorable prognosis and between HIF-2α-specific binding and adverse prognosis. However within each isoform-specific set, individual gene associations were heterogeneous in sign and magnitude, suggesting that activation of each HIF-α isoform contributes a highly complex mix of pro- and anti-tumorigenic effects.

Hammitzsch A, Tallant C, Fedorov O, O'Mahony A, Brennan PE, Hay DA, Martinez FO, Al-Mossawi MH, de Wit J, Vecellio M et al. 2015. CBP30, a selective CBP/p300 bromodomain inhibitor, suppresses human Th17 responses. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A, 112 (34), pp. 10768-10773. | Citations: 74 (Web of Science Lite) | Show Abstract | Read more

Th17 responses are critical to a variety of human autoimmune diseases, and therapeutic targeting with monoclonal antibodies against IL-17 and IL-23 has shown considerable promise. Here, we report data to support selective bromodomain blockade of the transcriptional coactivators CBP (CREB binding protein) and p300 as an alternative approach to inhibit human Th17 responses. We show that CBP30 has marked molecular specificity for the bromodomains of CBP and p300, compared with 43 other bromodomains. In unbiased cellular testing on a diverse panel of cultured primary human cells, CBP30 reduced immune cell production of IL-17A and other proinflammatory cytokines. CBP30 also inhibited IL-17A secretion by Th17 cells from healthy donors and patients with ankylosing spondylitis and psoriatic arthritis. Transcriptional profiling of human T cells after CBP30 treatment showed a much more restricted effect on gene expression than that observed with the pan-BET (bromo and extraterminal domain protein family) bromodomain inhibitor JQ1. This selective targeting of the CBP/p300 bromodomain by CBP30 will potentially lead to fewer side effects than with the broadly acting epigenetic inhibitors currently in clinical trials.

Grebien F, Vedadi M, Getlik M, Giambruno R, Grover A, Avellino R, Skucha A, Vittori S, Kuznetsova E, Smil D et al. 2015. Pharmacological targeting of the Wdr5-MLL interaction in C/EBPα N-terminal leukemia. Nat Chem Biol, 11 (8), pp. 571-578. | Citations: 70 (Scopus) | Show Abstract | Read more

The CEBPA gene is mutated in 9% of patients with acute myeloid leukemia (AML). Selective expression of a short (30-kDa) CCAAT-enhancer binding protein-α (C/EBPα) translational isoform, termed p30, represents the most common type of CEBPA mutation in AML. The molecular mechanisms underlying p30-mediated transformation remain incompletely understood. We show that C/EBPα p30, but not the normal p42 isoform, preferentially interacts with Wdr5, a key component of SET/MLL (SET-domain/mixed-lineage leukemia) histone-methyltransferase complexes. Accordingly, p30-bound genomic regions were enriched for MLL-dependent H3K4me3 marks. The p30-dependent increase in self-renewal and inhibition of myeloid differentiation required Wdr5, as downregulation of the latter inhibited proliferation and restored differentiation in p30-dependent AML models. OICR-9429 is a new small-molecule antagonist of the Wdr5-MLL interaction. This compound selectively inhibited proliferation and induced differentiation in p30-expressing human AML cells. Our data reveal the mechanism of p30-dependent transformation and establish the essential p30 cofactor Wdr5 as a therapeutic target in CEBPA-mutant AML.

Chaikuad A, Knapp S, von Delft F. 2015. Defined PEG smears as an alternative approach to enhance the search for crystallization conditions and crystal-quality improvement in reduced screens. Acta Crystallogr D Biol Crystallogr, 71 (Pt 8), pp. 1627-1639. | Citations: 12 (Scopus) | Show Abstract | Read more

The quest for an optimal limited set of effective crystallization conditions remains a challenge in macromolecular crystallography, an issue that is complicated by the large number of chemicals which have been deemed to be suitable for promoting crystal growth. The lack of rational approaches towards the selection of successful chemical space and representative combinations has led to significant overlapping conditions, which are currently present in a multitude of commercially available crystallization screens. Here, an alternative approach to the sampling of widely used PEG precipitants is suggested through the use of PEG smears, which are mixtures of different PEGs with a requirement of either neutral or cooperatively positive effects of each component on crystal growth. Four newly defined smears were classified by molecular-weight groups and enabled the preservation of specific properties related to different polymer sizes. These smears not only allowed a wide coverage of properties of these polymers, but also reduced PEG variables, enabling greater sampling of other parameters such as buffers and additives. The efficiency of the smear-based screens was evaluated on more than 220 diverse recombinant human proteins, which overall revealed a good initial crystallization success rate of nearly 50%. In addition, in several cases successful crystallizations were only obtained using PEG smears, while various commercial screens failed to yield crystals. The defined smears therefore offer an alternative approach towards PEG sampling, which will benefit the design of crystallization screens sampling a wide chemical space of this key precipitant.

Hodson EJ, Nicholls LG, Turner PJ, Robbins PA, Pugh CW, Buckler K, Ratcliffe PJ, Bishop T. 2015. Contrasting roles of HIF-1 and 2 in ventilatory acclimatisation to hypoxia AMERICAN JOURNAL OF HEMATOLOGY, 90 (8), pp. E164-E164.

Gato-Cañas M, Martinez de Morentin X, Blanco-Luquin I, Fernandez-Irigoyen J, Zudaire I, Liechtenstein T, Arasanz H, Lozano T, Casares N, Chaikuad A et al. 2015. A core of kinase-regulated interactomes defines the neoplastic MDSC lineage. Oncotarget, 6 (29), pp. 27160-27175. | Citations: 15 (Scopus) | Show Abstract | Read more

Myeloid-derived suppressor cells (MDSCs) differentiate from bone marrow precursors, expand in cancer-bearing hosts and accelerate tumor progression. MDSCs have become attractive therapeutic targets, as their elimination strongly enhances anti-neoplastic treatments. Here, immature myeloid dendritic cells (DCs), MDSCs modeling tumor-infiltrating subsets or modeling non-cancerous (NC)-MDSCs were compared by in-depth quantitative proteomics. We found that neoplastic MDSCs differentially expressed a core of kinases which controlled lineage-specific (PI3K-AKT and SRC kinases) and cancer-induced (ERK and PKC kinases) protein interaction networks (interactomes). These kinases contributed to some extent to myeloid differentiation. However, only AKT and ERK specifically drove MDSC differentiation from myeloid precursors. Interfering with AKT and ERK with selective small molecule inhibitors or shRNAs selectively hampered MDSC differentiation and viability. Thus, we provide compelling evidence that MDSCs constitute a distinct myeloid lineage distinguished by a "kinase signature" and well-defined interactomes. Our results define new opportunities for the development of anti-cancer treatments targeting these tumor-promoting immune cells.

Zauri M, Berridge G, Thézénas M-L, Pugh KM, Goldin R, Kessler BM, Kriaucionis S. 2015. CDA directs metabolism of epigenetic nucleosides revealing a therapeutic window in cancer. Nature, 524 (7563), pp. 114-118. | Citations: 27 (Scopus) | Show Abstract | Read more

Cells require nucleotides to support DNA replication and repair damaged DNA. In addition to de novo synthesis, cells recycle nucleotides from the DNA of dying cells or from cellular material ingested through the diet. Salvaged nucleosides come with the complication that they can contain epigenetic modifications. Because epigenetic inheritance of DNA methylation mainly relies on copying of the modification pattern from parental strands, random incorporation of pre-modified bases during replication could have profound implications for epigenome fidelity and yield adverse cellular phenotypes. Although the salvage mechanism of 5-methyl-2'deoxycytidine (5mdC) has been investigated before, it remains unknown how cells deal with the recently identified oxidized forms of 5mdC: 5-hydroxymethyl-2'deoxycytidine (5hmdC), 5-formy-2'deoxycytidine (5fdC) and 5-carboxyl-2'deoxycytidine (5cadC). Here we show that enzymes of the nucleotide salvage pathway display substrate selectivity, effectively protecting newly synthesized DNA from the incorporation of epigenetically modified forms of cytosine. Thus, cell lines and animals can tolerate high doses of these modified cytidines without any deleterious effects on physiology. Notably, by screening cancer cell lines for growth defects after exposure to 5hmdC, we unexpectedly identify a subset of cell lines in which 5hmdC or 5fdC administration leads to cell lethality. Using genomic approaches, we show that the susceptible cell lines overexpress cytidine deaminase (CDA). CDA converts 5hmdC and 5fdC into variants of uridine that are incorporated into DNA, resulting in accumulation of DNA damage, and ultimately, cell death. Our observations extend current knowledge of the nucleotide salvage pathway by revealing the metabolism of oxidized epigenetic bases, and suggest a new therapeutic option for cancers, such as pancreatic cancer, that have CDA overexpression and are resistant to treatment with other cytidine analogues.

Arrowsmith CH, Audia JE, Austin C, Baell J, Bennett J, Blagg J, Bountra C, Brennan PE, Brown PJ, Bunnage ME et al. 2015. The promise and peril of chemical probes. Nat Chem Biol, 11 (8), pp. 536-541. | Citations: 276 (Scopus) | Show Abstract | Read more

© 2015 Nature America, Inc. All rights reserved. Chemical probes are powerful reagents with increasing impacts on biomedical research. However, probes of poor quality or that are used incorrectly generate misleading results. To help address these shortcomings, we will create a community-driven wiki resource to improve quality and convey current best practice.

Huston A, Arrowsmith CH, Knapp S, Schapira M. 2015. Probing the epigenome. Nat Chem Biol, 11 (8), pp. 542-545. | Citations: 24 (Web of Science Lite) | Show Abstract | Read more

© 2015 Nature America, Inc. All rights reserved. Epigenetic chemical probes are having a strong impact in biological discovery and target validation. Systematic coverage of emerging epigenetic target classes with these potent, selective, cell-active chemical tools will profoundly influence understanding of the human biology and pathology of chromatintemplated mechanisms.

Valli A, Harris AL, Kessler BM. 2015. Hypoxia metabolism in ageing. Aging (Albany NY), 7 (7), pp. 465-466. | Citations: 5 (Web of Science Lite) | Read more

Alexander LT, Möbitz H, Drueckes P, Savitsky P, Fedorov O, Elkins JM, Deane CM, Cowan-Jacob SW, Knapp S. 2015. Type II Inhibitors Targeting CDK2. ACS Chem Biol, 10 (9), pp. 2116-2125. | Citations: 24 (Scopus) | Show Abstract | Read more

Kinases can switch between active and inactive conformations of the ATP/Mg(2+) binding motif DFG, which has been explored for the development of type I or type II inhibitors. However, factors modulating DFG conformations remain poorly understood. We chose CDK2 as a model system to study the DFG in-out transition on a target that was thought to have an inaccessible DFG-out conformation. We used site-directed mutagenesis of key residues identified in structural comparisons in conjunction with biochemical and biophysical characterization of the generated mutants. As a result, we identified key residues that facilitate the DFG-out movement, facilitating binding of type II inhibitors. However, surprisingly, we also found that wild type CDK2 is able to bind type II inhibitors. Using protein crystallography structural analysis of the CDK2 complex with an aminopyrimidine-phenyl urea inhibitor (K03861) revealed a canonical type II binding mode and the first available type II inhibitor CDK2 cocrystal structure. We found that the identified type II inhibitors compete with binding of activating cyclins. In addition, analysis of the binding kinetics of the identified inhibitors revealed slow off-rates. The study highlights the importance of residues that may be distant to the ATP binding pocket in modulating the energetics of the DFG-out transition and hence inhibitor binding. The presented data also provide the foundation for a new class of slow off-rate cyclin-competitive CDK2 inhibitors targeting the inactive DFG-out state of this important kinase target.

Chan MC, Atasoylu O, Hodson E, Tumber A, Leung IKH, Chowdhury R, Gómez-Pérez V, Demetriades M, Rydzik AM, Holt-Martyn J et al. 2015. Potent and Selective Triazole-Based Inhibitors of the Hypoxia-Inducible Factor Prolyl-Hydroxylases with Activity in the Murine Brain. PLoS One, 10 (7), pp. e0132004. | Citations: 21 (Scopus) | Show Abstract | Read more

As part of the cellular adaptation to limiting oxygen availability in animals, the expression of a large set of genes is activated by the upregulation of the hypoxia-inducible transcription factors (HIFs). Therapeutic activation of the natural human hypoxic response can be achieved by the inhibition of the hypoxia sensors for the HIF system, i.e. the HIF prolyl-hydroxylases (PHDs). Here, we report studies on tricyclic triazole-containing compounds as potent and selective PHD inhibitors which compete with the 2-oxoglutarate co-substrate. One compound (IOX4) induces HIFα in cells and in wildtype mice with marked induction in the brain tissue, revealing that it is useful for studies aimed at validating the upregulation of HIF for treatment of cerebral diseases including stroke.

Harrington L, Alexander LT, Knapp S, Bayley H. 2015. Inside Cover: Pim Kinase Inhibitors Evaluated with a Single-Molecule Engineered Nanopore Sensor (Angew. Chem. Int. Ed. 28/2015) Angewandte Chemie International Edition, 54 (28), pp. 8002-8002. | Read more

Nickol AH, Frise MC, Cheng H-Y, McGahey A, McFadyen BM, Harris-Wright T, Bart NK, Curtis MK, Khandwala S, O'Neill DP et al. 2015. A cross-sectional study of the prevalence and associations of iron deficiency in a cohort of patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. BMJ Open, 5 (7), pp. e007911. | Citations: 17 (Scopus) | Show Abstract | Read more

OBJECTIVES: Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is a major cause of morbidity and mortality. Iron deficiency, with or without anaemia, is associated with other chronic conditions, such as congestive heart failure, where it predicts a worse outcome. However, the prevalence of iron deficiency in COPD is unknown. This observational study aimed to determine the prevalence of iron deficiency in COPD and associations with differences in clinical phenotype. SETTING: University hospital outpatient clinic. PARTICIPANTS: 113 adult patients (65% male) with COPD diagnosed according to GOLD criteria (forced expiratory volume in 1 s (FEV1): forced vital capacity (FVC) ratio <0·70 and FEV1 <80% predicted); with age-matched and sex-matched control group consisting of 57 healthy individuals. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Prevalence of iron deficiency, defined as: any one or more of (1) soluble transferrin receptor >28.1 nmol/L; (2) transferrin saturation <16% and (3) ferritin <12 µg/L. Severity of hypoxaemia, including resting peripheral arterial oxygen saturation (SpO2) and nocturnal oximetry; C reactive protein (CRP); FEV1; self-reported exacerbation rate and Shuttle Walk Test performance. RESULTS: Iron deficiency was more common in patients with COPD (18%) compared with controls (5%). In the COPD cohort, CRP was higher in patients with iron deficiency (median 10.5 vs 4.0 mg/L, p<0.001), who were also more hypoxaemic than their iron-replete counterparts (median resting SpO2 92% vs 95%, p<0.001), but haemoglobin concentration did not differ. Patients with iron deficiency had more self-reported exacerbations and a trend towards worse exercise tolerance. CONCLUSIONS: Non-anaemic iron deficiency is common in COPD and appears to be driven by inflammation. Iron deficiency associates with hypoxaemia, an excess of exacerbations and, possibly, worse exercise tolerance, all markers of poor prognosis. Given that it has been shown to be beneficial in other chronic diseases, intravenous iron therapy should be explored as a novel therapeutic option in COPD.

Harrington L, Alexander LT, Knapp S, Bayley H. 2015. Pim Kinase Inhibitors Evaluated with a Single-Molecule Engineered Nanopore Sensor Angewandte Chemie - International Edition, 54 (28), pp. 8154-8159. | Citations: 2 (Scopus) | Show Abstract | Read more

© 2015 WILEY-VCH Verlag GmbH & Co. KGaA, Weinheim. Protein kinases are critical therapeutic targets. Pim kinases are implicated in several leukaemias and cancers. Here, we exploit a protein nanopore sensor for Pim kinases that bears a pseudosubstrate peptide attached by an enhanced engineering approach. Analyte binding to the sensor peptide is measured through observation of the modulation of ionic current through a single nanopore. We observed synergistic binding of MgATP and kinase to the sensor, which was used to develop a superior method to evaluate Pim kinase inhibitors featuring label-free determination of inhibition constants. The procedure circumvents many sources of bias or false-positives inherent in current assays. For example, we identified a potent inhibitor missed by differential scanning fluorimetry. The approach is also amenable to implementation on high throughput chips.

Hay DA, Rogers CM, Fedorov O, Tallant C, Martin S, Monteiro OP, Mueller S, Knapp S, Schofield CJ, Brennan PE. 2015. Design and synthesis of potent and selective inhibitors of BRD7 and BRD9 bromodomains MEDCHEMCOMM, 6 (7), pp. 1381-1386. | Citations: 34 (Scopus) | Show Abstract | Read more

<p>We describe potent and selective inhibitors of the BRD7 and BRD9 bromodomains intended for use as chemical probes to elucidate the biological roles of BRD7 and BRD9 in cells.</p>

Jallow S, Leligdowicz A, Kramer HB, Onyango C, Cotten M, Wright C, Whittle HC, McMichael A, Dong T, Kessler BM, Rowland-Jones SL. 2015. The presence of prolines in the flanking region of an immunodominant HIV-2 gag epitope influences the quality and quantity of the epitope generated. Eur J Immunol, 45 (8), pp. 2232-2242. | Citations: 4 (Web of Science Lite) | Show Abstract | Read more

Both the recognition of HIV-infected cells and the immunogenicity of candidate CTL vaccines depend on the presentation of a peptide epitope at the cell surface, which in turn depends on intracellular antigen processing. Differential antigen processing maybe responsible for the differences in both the quality and the quantity of epitopes produced, influencing the immunodominance hierarchy of viral epitopes. Previously, we showed that the magnitude of the HIV-2 gag-specific T-cell response is inversely correlated with plasma viral load, particularly when responses are directed against an epitope, 165 DRFYKSLRA173 , within the highly conserved Major Homology Region of gag-p26. We also showed that the presence of three proline residues, at positions 119, 159 and 178 of gag-p26, was significantly correlated with low viral load. Since this proline motif was also associated with stronger gag-specific CTL responses, we investigated the impact of these prolines on proteasomal processing of the protective 165 DRFYKSLRA173 epitope. Our data demonstrate that the 165 DRFYKSLRA173 epitope is most efficiently processed from precursors that contain two flanking proline residues, found naturally in low viral-load patients. Superior antigen processing and enhanced presentation may account for the link between infection with HIV-2 encoding the "PPP-gag" sequence and both strong gag-specific CTL responses as well as lower viral load.

Shanks E, Ketteler R, Ebner D. 2015. Academic drug discovery within the United Kingdom: a reassessment. Nat Rev Drug Discov, 14 (7), pp. 510. | Citations: 10 (Web of Science Lite) | Read more

Harrington L, Alexander LT, Knapp S, Bayley H. 2015. Pim Kinase Inhibitors Evaluated with a Single-Molecule Engineered Nanopore Sensor. Angew Chem Int Ed Engl, 54 (28), pp. 8154-8159. | Citations: 9 (Web of Science Lite) | Show Abstract | Read more

Protein kinases are critical therapeutic targets. Pim kinases are implicated in several leukaemias and cancers. Here, we exploit a protein nanopore sensor for Pim kinases that bears a pseudosubstrate peptide attached by an enhanced engineering approach. Analyte binding to the sensor peptide is measured through observation of the modulation of ionic current through a single nanopore. We observed synergistic binding of MgATP and kinase to the sensor, which was used to develop a superior method to evaluate Pim kinase inhibitors featuring label-free determination of inhibition constants. The procedure circumvents many sources of bias or false-positives inherent in current assays. For example, we identified a potent inhibitor missed by differential scanning fluorimetry. The approach is also amenable to implementation on high throughput chips.

Plank M, Fischer R, Geoghegan V, Charles PD, Konietzny R, Acuto O, Pears C, Schofield CJ, Kessler BM. 2015. Expanding the yeast protein arginine methylome. Proteomics, 15 (18), pp. 3232-3243. | Citations: 13 (Scopus) | Show Abstract | Read more

Protein arginine methylation is a PTM involved in various cellular processes in eukaryotes. Recent discoveries led to a vast expansion of known sites in higher organisms, indicating that this modification is more widely spread across the proteome than previously assumed. An increased knowledge of sites in lower eukaryotes may facilitate the elucidation of its functions. In this study, we present the discovery of arginine mono-methylation sites in Saccharomyces cerevisiae by a combination of immunoaffinity enrichment and MS/MS. As detection of methylation is prone to yield false positives, we demonstrate the need for stringent measures to avoid elevated false discovery rates. To this end, we employed MethylSILAC in combination with a multistep data analysis strategy. We report 41 unambiguous methylation sites on 13 proteins. Our results indicate that, while substantially less abundant, arginine methylation follows similar patterns as in higher eukaryotes in terms of sequence context and functions of methylated proteins. The majority of sites occur on RNA-binding proteins participating in processes from transcription and splicing to translation and RNA degradation. Additionally, our data suggest a bias for localization of arginine methylation in unstructured regions of proteins, which frequently involves Arg-Gly-Gly motifs or Asn-rich contexts.

Bishop T, Ratcliffe PJ. 2015. HIF hydroxylase pathways in cardiovascular physiology and medicine. Circ Res, 117 (1), pp. 65-79. | Citations: 49 (Web of Science Lite) | Show Abstract | Read more

Hypoxia inducible factors (HIFs) are α/β heterodimeric transcription factors that direct multiple cellular and systemic responses in response to changes in oxygen availability. The oxygen sensitive signal is generated by a series of iron and 2-oxoglutarate-dependent dioxygenases that catalyze post-translational hydroxylation of specific prolyl and asparaginyl residues in HIFα subunits and thereby promote their destruction and inactivation in the presence of oxygen. In hypoxia, these processes are suppressed allowing HIF to activate a massive transcriptional cascade. Elucidation of these pathways has opened several new fields of cardiovascular research. Here, we review the role of HIF hydroxylase pathways in cardiac development and in cardiovascular control. We also consider the current status, opportunities, and challenges of therapeutic modulation of HIF hydroxylases in the therapy of cardiovascular disease.

Taylor JC, Martin HC, Lise S, Broxholme J, Cazier J-B, Rimmer A, Kanapin A, Lunter G, Fiddy S, Allan C et al. 2015. Factors influencing success of clinical genome sequencing across a broad spectrum of disorders. Nat Genet, 47 (7), pp. 717-726. | Citations: 122 (Scopus) | Show Abstract | Read more

To assess factors influencing the success of whole-genome sequencing for mainstream clinical diagnosis, we sequenced 217 individuals from 156 independent cases or families across a broad spectrum of disorders in whom previous screening had identified no pathogenic variants. We quantified the number of candidate variants identified using different strategies for variant calling, filtering, annotation and prioritization. We found that jointly calling variants across samples, filtering against both local and external databases, deploying multiple annotation tools and using familial transmission above biological plausibility contributed to accuracy. Overall, we identified disease-causing variants in 21% of cases, with the proportion increasing to 34% (23/68) for mendelian disorders and 57% (8/14) in family trios. We also discovered 32 potentially clinically actionable variants in 18 genes unrelated to the referral disorder, although only 4 were ultimately considered reportable. Our results demonstrate the value of genome sequencing for routine clinical diagnosis but also highlight many outstanding challenges.

Clark PGK, Vieira LCC, Tallant C, Fedorov O, Singleton DC, Rogers CM, Monteiro OP, Bennett JM, Baronio R, Müller S et al. 2015. LP99: Discovery and Synthesis of the First Selective BRD7/9 Bromodomain Inhibitor. Angew Chem Int Ed Engl, 54 (21), pp. 6217-6221. | Citations: 67 (Web of Science Lite) | Show Abstract | Read more

The bromodomain-containing proteins BRD9 and BRD7 are part of the human SWI/SNF chromatin-remodeling complexes BAF and PBAF. To date, no selective inhibitor for BRD7/9 has been reported despite its potential value as a biological tool or as a lead for future therapeutics. The quinolone-fused lactam LP99 is now reported as the first potent and selective inhibitor of the BRD7 and BRD9 bromodomains. Development of LP99 from a fragment hit was expedited through balancing structure-based inhibitor design and biophysical characterization against tractable chemical synthesis: Complexity-building nitro-Mannich/lactamization cascade processes allowed for early structure-activity relationship studies whereas an enantioselective organocatalytic nitro-Mannich reaction enabled the synthesis of the lead scaffold in enantioenriched form and on scale. This epigenetic probe was shown to inhibit the association of BRD7 and BRD9 to acetylated histones in vitro and in cells. Moreover, LP99 was used to demonstrate that BRD7/9 plays a role in regulating pro-inflammatory cytokine secretion.

Clark PGK, Vieira LCC, Tallant C, Fedorov O, Singleton DC, Rogers CM, Monteiro OP, Bennett JM, Baronio R, Müller S et al. 2015. LP99: Discovery and Synthesis of the First Selective BRD7/9 Bromodomain Inhibitor. Angew Chem Weinheim Bergstr Ger, 127 (21), pp. 6315-6319. | Citations: 7 (European Pubmed Central) | Show Abstract | Read more

The bromodomain-containing proteins BRD9 and BRD7 are part of the human SWI/SNF chromatin-remodeling complexes BAF and PBAF. To date, no selective inhibitor for BRD7/9 has been reported despite its potential value as a biological tool or as a lead for future therapeutics. The quinolone-fused lactam LP99 is now reported as the first potent and selective inhibitor of the BRD7 and BRD9 bromodomains. Development of LP99 from a fragment hit was expedited through balancing structure-based inhibitor design and biophysical characterization against tractable chemical synthesis: Complexity-building nitro-Mannich/lactamization cascade processes allowed for early structure-activity relationship studies whereas an enantioselective organocatalytic nitro-Mannich reaction enabled the synthesis of the lead scaffold in enantioenriched form and on scale. This epigenetic probe was shown to inhibit the association of BRD7 and BRD9 to acetylated histones in vitro and in cells. Moreover, LP99 was used to demonstrate that BRD7/9 plays a role in regulating pro-inflammatory cytokine secretion.

Kerzendorfer C, Konopka T, Nijman SMB. 2015. A thesaurus of genetic variation for interrogation of repetitive genomic regions. Nucleic Acids Res, 43 (10), pp. e68. | Citations: 1 (European Pubmed Central) | Show Abstract | Read more

Detecting genetic variation is one of the main applications of high-throughput sequencing, but is still challenging wherever aligning short reads poses ambiguities. Current state-of-the-art variant calling approaches avoid such regions, arguing that it is necessary to sacrifice detection sensitivity to limit false discovery. We developed a method that links candidate variant positions within repetitive genomic regions into clusters. The technique relies on a resource, a thesaurus of genetic variation, that enumerates genomic regions with similar sequence. The resource is computationally intensive to generate, but once compiled can be applied efficiently to annotate and prioritize variants in repetitive regions. We show that thesaurus annotation can reduce the rate of false variant calls due to mappability by up to three orders of magnitude. We apply the technique to whole genome datasets and establish that called variants in low mappability regions annotated using the thesaurus can be experimentally validated. We then extend the analysis to a large panel of exomes to show that the annotation technique opens possibilities to study variation in hereto hidden and under-studied parts of the genome.

Fauster A, Rebsamen M, Huber KVM, Bigenzahn JW, Stukalov A, Lardeau C-H, Scorzoni S, Bruckner M, Gridling M, Parapatics K et al. 2015. A cellular screen identifies ponatinib and pazopanib as inhibitors of necroptosis. Cell Death Dis, 6 (5), pp. e1767. | Citations: 54 (Scopus) | Show Abstract | Read more

Necroptosis is a form of regulated necrotic cell death mediated by receptor-interacting serine/threonine-protein kinase 1 (RIPK1) and RIPK3. Necroptotic cell death contributes to the pathophysiology of several disorders involving tissue damage, including myocardial infarction, stroke and ischemia-reperfusion injury. However, no inhibitors of necroptosis are currently in clinical use. Here we performed a phenotypic screen for small-molecule inhibitors of tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-α)-induced necroptosis in Fas-associated protein with death domain (FADD)-deficient Jurkat cells using a representative panel of Food and Drug Administration (FDA)-approved drugs. We identified two anti-cancer agents, ponatinib and pazopanib, as submicromolar inhibitors of necroptosis. Both compounds inhibited necroptotic cell death induced by various cell death receptor ligands in human cells, while not protecting from apoptosis. Ponatinib and pazopanib abrogated phosphorylation of mixed lineage kinase domain-like protein (MLKL) upon TNF-α-induced necroptosis, indicating that both agents target a component upstream of MLKL. An unbiased chemical proteomic approach determined the cellular target spectrum of ponatinib, revealing key members of the necroptosis signaling pathway. We validated RIPK1, RIPK3 and transforming growth factor-β-activated kinase 1 (TAK1) as novel, direct targets of ponatinib by using competitive binding, cellular thermal shift and recombinant kinase assays. Ponatinib inhibited both RIPK1 and RIPK3, while pazopanib preferentially targeted RIPK1. The identification of the FDA-approved drugs ponatinib and pazopanib as cellular inhibitors of necroptosis highlights them as potentially interesting for the treatment of pathologies caused or aggravated by necroptotic cell death.

Dulneva A, Lee S, Oliver PL, Di Gleria K, Kessler BM, Davies KE, Becker EBE. 2015. The mutant Moonwalker TRPC3 channel links calcium signaling to lipid metabolism in the developing cerebellum. Hum Mol Genet, 24 (14), pp. 4114-4125. | Citations: 10 (Web of Science Lite) | Show Abstract | Read more

The Moonwalker (Mwk) mouse is a model of dominantly inherited cerebellar ataxia caused by a gain-of-function mutation in the transient receptor potential (TRP) channel TRPC3. Here, we report impairments in dendritic growth and synapse formation early on during Purkinje cell development in the Mwk cerebellum that are accompanied by alterations in calcium signaling. To elucidate the molecular effector pathways that regulate Purkinje cell dendritic arborization downstream of mutant TRPC3, we employed transcriptomic analysis of developing Purkinje cells isolated by laser-capture microdissection. We identified significant gene and protein expression changes in molecules involved in lipid metabolism. Consistently, lipid homeostasis in the Mwk cerebellum was found to be disturbed, and treatment of organotypic cerebellar slices with ceramide significantly improved dendritic outgrowth of Mwk Purkinje cells. These findings provide the first mechanistic insights into the TRPC3-dependent mechanisms, by which activated calcium signaling is coupled to lipid metabolism and the regulation of Purkinje cell development in the Mwk cerebellum.

Iglesias-Gato D, Chuan Y-C, Jiang N, Svensson C, Bao J, Shang Z, Paul I, Egevad L, Kessler BM, Wikström P et al. 2015. Erratum: OTUB1 de-ubiquitinating enzyme promotes prostate cancer cell invasion in vitro and tumorigenesis in vivo. Mol Cancer, 14 (1), pp. 88. | Citations: 2 (Web of Science Lite) | Read more

Martin E, Knapp S, Engh RA, Moebitz H, Varin T, Roux B, Meiler J, Berdini V, Baumann A, Vieth M. 2015. Perspective on computational and structural aspects of kinase discovery from IPK2014. Biochim Biophys Acta, 1854 (10 Pt B), pp. 1595-1604. | Citations: 2 (Web of Science Lite) | Show Abstract | Read more

Recent advances in understanding the activity and selectivity of kinase inhibitors and their relationships to protein structure are presented. Conformational selection in kinases is studied from empirical, data-driven and simulation approaches. Ligand binding and its affinity are, in many cases, determined by the predetermined active and inactive conformation of kinases. Binding affinity and selectivity predictions highlight the current state of the art and advances in computational chemistry as it applies to kinase inhibitor discovery. Kinome wide inhibitor profiling and cell panel profiling lead to a better understanding of selectivity and allow for target validation and patient tailoring hypotheses. This article is part of a Special Issue entitled: Inhibitors of Protein Kinases.

Fischer R, Kessler BM. 2015. Gel-aided sample preparation (GASP)--a simplified method for gel-assisted proteomic sample generation from protein extracts and intact cells. Proteomics, 15 (7), pp. 1224-1229. | Citations: 36 (Scopus) | Show Abstract | Read more

We describe a "gel-assisted" proteomic sample preparation method for MS analysis. Solubilized protein extracts or intact cells are copolymerized with acrylamide, facilitating denaturation, reduction, quantitative cysteine alkylation, and matrix formation. Gel-aided sample preparation has been optimized to be highly flexible, scalable, and to allow reproducible sample generation from 50 cells to milligrams of protein extracts. This methodology is fast, sensitive, easy-to-use on a wide range of sample types, and accessible to nonspecialists.

Horne GA, Stewart HJS, Dickson J, Knapp S, Ramsahoye B, Chevassut T. 2015. Nanog requires BRD4 to maintain murine embryonic stem cell pluripotency and is suppressed by bromodomain inhibitor JQ1 together with Lefty1. Stem Cells Dev, 24 (7), pp. 879-891. | Citations: 26 (Web of Science Lite) | Show Abstract | Read more

Embryonic stem cells (ESCs) are maintained in an undifferentiated state through expression of the core transcriptional factors Nanog, Oct4, and Sox2. However, the epigenetic regulation of pluripotency is poorly understood. Differentiation of ESCs is accompanied by a global reduction of panacetylation of histones H3 and H4 suggesting that histone acetylation plays an important role in maintenance of ESC pluripotency. Acetylated lysine residues on histones are read by members of the bromodomain family that includes BET (bromodomain and extraterminal domain) proteins for which highly potent and selective inhibitors have been developed. In this study we demonstrate that the pan-BET bromodomain inhibitor JQ1 induces rapid spontaneous differentiation of murine ESCs by inducing marked transcriptional downregulation of Nanog as well as the stemness markers Lefty1 and Lefty2, but not Myc, often used as a marker of BET inhibitor activity in cancer. We show that the effects of JQ1 are recapitulated by knockdown of the BET family member BRD4 implicating this protein in Nanog regulation. These data are also supported by chromatin immunoprecipitation experiments which confirm BRD4 binding at the Nanog promoter that is known to require acetylation by the histone acetyltransferase MOF for transcriptional activity. In further support of our findings, we show that JQ1 antagonizes the stem cell-promoting effects of the histone deacetylase inhibitors sodium butyrate and valproic acid. Our data suggest that BRD4 is critical for the maintenance of ESC pluripotency and that this occurs primarily through the maintenance of Nanog expression.

Babak MV, Meier SM, Huber KVM, Reynisson J, Legin AA, Jakupec MA, Roller A, Stukalov A, Gridling M, Bennett KL et al. 2015. Target profiling of an antimetastatic RAPTA agent by chemical proteomics: relevance to the mode of action. Chem Sci, 6 (4), pp. 2449-2456. | Citations: 61 (Scopus) | Show Abstract | Read more

The clinical development of anticancer metallodrugs is often hindered by the elusive nature of their molecular targets. To identify the molecular targets of an antimetastatic ruthenium organometallic complex based on 1,3,5-triaza-7-phosphaadamantane (RAPTA), we employed a chemical proteomic approach. The approach combines the design of an affinity probe featuring the pharmacophore with mass-spectrometry-based analysis of interacting proteins found in cancer cell lysates. The comparison of data sets obtained for cell lysates from cancer cells before and after treatment with a competitive binder suggests that RAPTA interacts with a number of cancer-related proteins, which may be responsible for the antiangiogenic and antimetastatic activity of RAPTA complexes. Notably, the proteins identified include the cytokines midkine, pleiotrophin and fibroblast growth factor-binding protein 3. We also detected guanine nucleotide-binding protein-like 3 and FAM32A, which is in line with the hypothesis that the antiproliferative activity of RAPTA compounds is due to induction of a G2/M arrest and histone proteins identified earlier as potential targets.

Kovackova S, Chang L, Bekerman E, Neveu G, Barouch-Bentov R, Chaikuad A, Heroven C, Šála M, De Jonghe S, Knapp S et al. 2015. Selective Inhibitors of Cyclin G Associated Kinase (GAK) as Anti-Hepatitis C Agents. J Med Chem, 58 (8), pp. 3393-3410. | Citations: 19 (Scopus) | Show Abstract | Read more

Cyclin G associated kinase (GAK) emerged as a promising drug target for the treatment of viral infections. However, no potent and selective GAK inhibitors have been reported in the literature to date. This paper describes the discovery of isothiazolo[5,4-b]pyridines as selective GAK inhibitors, with the most potent congeners displaying low nanomolar binding affinity for GAK. Cocrystallization experiments revealed that these compounds behaved as classic type I ATP-competitive kinase inhibitors. In addition, we have demonstrated that these compounds exhibit a potent activity against hepatitis C virus (HCV) by inhibiting two temporally distinct steps in the HCV life cycle (i.e., viral entry and assembly). Hence, these GAK inhibitors represent chemical probes to study GAK function in different disease areas where GAK has been implicated (including viral infection, cancer, and Parkinson's disease).

Rebsamen M, Pochini L, Stasyk T, de Araújo MEG, Galluccio M, Kandasamy RK, Snijder B, Fauster A, Rudashevskaya EL, Bruckner M et al. 2015. SLC38A9 is a component of the lysosomal amino acid sensing machinery that controls mTORC1. Nature, 519 (7544), pp. 477-481. | Citations: 232 (Scopus) | Show Abstract | Read more

Cell growth and proliferation are tightly linked to nutrient availability. The mechanistic target of rapamycin complex 1 (mTORC1) integrates the presence of growth factors, energy levels, glucose and amino acids to modulate metabolic status and cellular responses. mTORC1 is activated at the surface of lysosomes by the RAG GTPases and the Ragulator complex through a not fully understood mechanism monitoring amino acid availability in the lysosomal lumen and involving the vacuolar H(+)-ATPase. Here we describe the uncharacterized human member 9 of the solute carrier family 38 (SLC38A9) as a lysosomal membrane-resident protein competent in amino acid transport. Extensive functional proteomic analysis established SLC38A9 as an integral part of the Ragulator-RAG GTPases machinery. Gain of SLC38A9 function rendered cells resistant to amino acid withdrawal, whereas loss of SLC38A9 expression impaired amino-acid-induced mTORC1 activation. Thus SLC38A9 is a physical and functional component of the amino acid sensing machinery that controls the activation of mTOR.

Ternette N, Block PD, Sánchez-Bernabéu Á, Borthwick N, Pappalardo E, Abdul-Jawad S, Ondondo B, Charles PD, Dorrell L, Kessler BM, Hanke T. 2015. Early Kinetics of the HLA Class I-Associated Peptidome of MVA.HIVconsv-Infected Cells. J Virol, 89 (11), pp. 5760-5771. | Citations: 13 (Scopus) | Show Abstract | Read more

UNLABELLED: Cytotoxic T cells substantially contribute to the control of intracellular pathogens such as human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1). Here, we evaluated the immunopeptidome of Jurkat cells infected with the vaccine candidate MVA.HIVconsv, which delivers HIV-1 conserved antigenic regions by using modified vaccinia virus Ankara (MVA). We employed liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry (LC-MS/MS) to identify 6,358 unique peptides associated with the class I human leukocyte antigen (HLA), of which 98 peptides were derived from the MVA vector and 7 were derived from the HIVconsv immunogen. Human vaccine recipients responded to the peptide sequences identified by LC-MS/MS. Peptides derived from the conserved HIV-1 regions were readily detected as early as 1.5 h after MVA.HIVconsv infection. Four of the seven conserved peptides were monitored between 0 and 3.5 h of infection by using quantitative mass spectrometry (Q-MS), and their abundance in HLA class I associations reflected levels of the whole HIVconsv protein in the cell. While immunopeptides delivered by the incoming MVA vector proteins could be detected, all early HIVconsv-derived immunopeptides were likely synthesized de novo. MVA.HIVconsv infection generally altered the composition of HLA class I-associated human (self) peptides, but these changes corresponded only partially to changes in the whole cell host protein abundance. IMPORTANCE: The vast changes in cellular antigen presentation after infection of cells with a vectored vaccine, as shown here for MVA.HIVconsv, highlight the complexity of factors that need to be considered for efficient antigen delivery and presentation. Identification and quantitation of HLA class I-associated peptides by Q-MS will not only find broad application in T-cell epitope discovery but also inform vaccine design and allow evaluation of efficient epitope presentation using different delivery strategies.

Markkanen E, Fischer R, Ledentcova M, Kessler BM, Dianov GL. 2015. Cells deficient in base-excision repair reveal cancer hallmarks originating from adjustments to genetic instability. Nucleic Acids Res, 43 (7), pp. 3667-3679. | Citations: 16 (Scopus) | Show Abstract | Read more

Genetic instability, provoked by exogenous mutagens, is well linked to initiation of cancer. However, even in unstressed cells, DNA undergoes a plethora of spontaneous alterations provoked by its inherent chemical instability and the intracellular milieu. Base excision repair (BER) is the major cellular pathway responsible for repair of these lesions, and as deficiency in BER activity results in DNA damage it has been proposed that it may trigger the development of sporadic cancers. Nevertheless, experimental evidence for this model remains inconsistent and elusive. Here, we performed a proteomic analysis of BER deficient human cells using stable isotope labelling with amino acids in cell culture (SILAC), and demonstrate that BER deficiency, which induces genetic instability, results in dramatic changes in gene expression, resembling changes found in many cancers. We observed profound alterations in tissue homeostasis, serine biosynthesis, and one-carbon- and amino acid metabolism, all of which have been identified as cancer cell 'hallmarks'. For the first time, this study describes gene expression changes characteristic for cells deficient in repair of endogenous DNA lesions by BER. These expression changes resemble those observed in cancer cells, suggesting that genetically unstable BER deficient cells may be a source of pre-cancerous cells.

Welker F, Collins MJ, Thomas JA, Wadsley M, Brace S, Cappellini E, Turvey ST, Reguero M, Gelfo JN, Kramarz A et al. 2015. Ancient proteins resolve the evolutionary history of Darwin's South American ungulates. Nature, 522 (7554), pp. 81-84. | Citations: 91 (Scopus) | Show Abstract | Read more

No large group of recently extinct placental mammals remains as evolutionarily cryptic as the approximately 280 genera grouped as 'South American native ungulates'. To Charles Darwin, who first collected their remains, they included perhaps the 'strangest animal[s] ever discovered'. Today, much like 180 years ago, it is no clearer whether they had one origin or several, arose before or after the Cretaceous/Palaeogene transition 66.2 million years ago, or are more likely to belong with the elephants and sirenians of superorder Afrotheria than with the euungulates (cattle, horses, and allies) of superorder Laurasiatheria. Morphology-based analyses have proved unconvincing because convergences are pervasive among unrelated ungulate-like placentals. Approaches using ancient DNA have also been unsuccessful, probably because of rapid DNA degradation in semitropical and temperate deposits. Here we apply proteomic analysis to screen bone samples of the Late Quaternary South American native ungulate taxa Toxodon (Notoungulata) and Macrauchenia (Litopterna) for phylogenetically informative protein sequences. For each ungulate, we obtain approximately 90% direct sequence coverage of type I collagen α1- and α2-chains, representing approximately 900 of 1,140 amino-acid residues for each subunit. A phylogeny is estimated from an alignment of these fossil sequences with collagen (I) gene transcripts from available mammalian genomes or mass spectrometrically derived sequence data obtained for this study. The resulting consensus tree agrees well with recent higher-level mammalian phylogenies. Toxodon and Macrauchenia form a monophyletic group whose sister taxon is not Afrotheria or any of its constituent clades as recently claimed, but instead crown Perissodactyla (horses, tapirs, and rhinoceroses). These results are consistent with the origin of at least some South American native ungulates from 'condylarths', a paraphyletic assembly of archaic placentals. With ongoing improvements in instrumentation and analytical procedures, proteomics may produce a revolution in systematics such as that achieved by genomics, but with the possibility of reaching much further back in time.

Dong YY, Pike ACW, Mackenzie A, McClenaghan C, Aryal P, Dong L, Quigley A, Grieben M, Goubin S, Mukhopadhyay S et al. 2015. K2P channel gating mechanisms revealed by structures of TREK-2 and a complex with Prozac. Science, 347 (6227), pp. 1256-1259. | Citations: 95 (Scopus) | Show Abstract | Read more

TREK-2 (KCNK10/K2P10), a two-pore domain potassium (K2P) channel, is gated by multiple stimuli such as stretch, fatty acids, and pH and by several drugs. However, the mechanisms that control channel gating are unclear. Here we present crystal structures of the human TREK-2 channel (up to 3.4 angstrom resolution) in two conformations and in complex with norfluoxetine, the active metabolite of fluoxetine (Prozac) and a state-dependent blocker of TREK channels. Norfluoxetine binds within intramembrane fenestrations found in only one of these two conformations. Channel activation by arachidonic acid and mechanical stretch involves conversion between these states through movement of the pore-lining helices. These results provide an explanation for TREK channel mechanosensitivity, regulation by diverse stimuli, and possible off-target effects of the serotonin reuptake inhibitor Prozac.

Bursomanno S, McGouran JF, Kessler BM, Hickson ID, Liu Y. 2015. Regulation of SUMO2 target proteins by the proteasome in human cells exposed to replication stress. J Proteome Res, 14 (4), pp. 1687-1699. | Citations: 6 (Web of Science Lite) | Show Abstract | Read more

In human cells, SUMO2 is predominantly conjugated to target proteins in response to cellular stress. Previous studies suggested that proteins conjugated to SUMO2, but not to SUMO1, could be regulated by the ubiquitin-mediated proteasome system. Hence, we set out to understand the role of the proteasome in determining the fate of proteins conjugated to SUMO2 when cells are treated with DNA replication stress conditions. We conducted a quantitative proteomic analysis in a U2OS cell line stably expressing SUMO2(Q87R) tagged with StrepHA in the presence or absence of epoxomicin (EPOX), a proteasome inhibitor. We identified subgroups of putative SUMO2 targets that were either degraded or stabilized by EPOX upon SUMO2 conjugation in response to replication stress. Interestingly, the subgroup of proteins degraded upon SUMO2 conjugation was enriched in proteins playing roles in DNA damage repair and replication, while the proteins stabilized upon SUMOylation were mainly involved in chromatin maintenance. In addition, we identified 43 SUMOylation sites in target proteins, of which 17 are located in the proximity of phosphorylated residues. Considering that DNA replication stress is a major source of genome instability, which is suggested to drive tumorigenesis and possibly aging, our data will facilitate future functional studies in the fields of DNA metabolism and cancer biology.

Falke H, Chaikuad A, Becker A, Loaëc N, Lozach O, Abu Jhaisha S, Becker W, Jones PG, Preu L, Baumann K et al. 2015. 10-iodo-11H-indolo[3,2-c]quinoline-6-carboxylic acids are selective inhibitors of DYRK1A. J Med Chem, 58 (7), pp. 3131-3143. | Citations: 30 (Web of Science Lite) | Show Abstract | Read more

The protein kinase DYRK1A has been suggested to act as one of the intracellular regulators contributing to neurological alterations found in individuals with Down syndrome. For an assessment of the role of DYRK1A, selective synthetic inhibitors are valuable pharmacological tools. However, the DYRK1A inhibitors described in the literature so far either are not sufficiently selective or have not been tested against closely related kinases from the DYRK and the CLK protein kinase families. The aim of this study was the identification of DYRK1A inhibitors exhibiting selectivity versus the structurally and functionally closely related DYRK and CLK isoforms. Structure modification of the screening hit 11H-indolo[3,2-c]quinoline-6-carboxylic acid revealed structure-activity relationships for kinase inhibition and enabled the design of 10-iodo-substituted derivatives as very potent DYRK1A inhibitors with considerable selectivity against CLKs. X-ray structure determination of three 11H-indolo[3,2-c]quinoline-6-carboxylic acids cocrystallized with DYRK1A confirmed the predicted binding mode within the ATP binding site.

Edwards AM, Arrowsmith CH, Bountra C, Bunnage ME, Feldmann M, Knight JC, Patel DD, Prinos P, Taylor MD, Sundström M, SGC Open Source Target-Discovery Partnership. 2015. Preclinical target validation using patient-derived cells. Nat Rev Drug Discov, 14 (3), pp. 149-150. | Citations: 28 (Web of Science Lite) | Show Abstract | Read more

The Structural Genomics Consortium (SGC) and its clinical, industry and disease-foundation partners are launching open-source preclinical translational medicine studies.

Kovac M, Navas C, Horswell S, Salm M, Bardella C, Rowan A, Stares M, Castro-Giner F, Fisher R, de Bruin EC et al. 2015. Recurrent chromosomal gains and heterogeneous driver mutations characterise papillary renal cancer evolution. Nat Commun, 6 (1), pp. 6336. | Citations: 57 (Scopus) | Show Abstract | Read more

Papillary renal cell carcinoma (pRCC) is an important subtype of kidney cancer with a problematic pathological classification and highly variable clinical behaviour. Here we sequence the genomes or exomes of 31 pRCCs, and in four tumours, multi-region sequencing is undertaken. We identify BAP1, SETD2, ARID2 and Nrf2 pathway genes (KEAP1, NHE2L2 and CUL3) as probable drivers, together with at least eight other possible drivers. However, only ~10% of tumours harbour detectable pathogenic changes in any one driver gene, and where present, the mutations are often predicted to be present within cancer sub-clones. We specifically detect parallel evolution of multiple SETD2 mutations within different sub-regions of the same tumour. By contrast, large copy number gains of chromosomes 7, 12, 16 and 17 are usually early, monoclonal changes in pRCC evolution. The predominance of large copy number variants as the major drivers for pRCC highlights an unusual mode of tumorigenesis that may challenge precision medicine approaches.

Tiwana GS, Prevo R, Buffa FM, Yu S, Ebner DV, Howarth A, Folkes LK, Budwal B, Chu K-Y, Durrant L et al. 2015. Identification of vitamin B1 metabolism as a tumor-specific radiosensitizing pathway using a high-throughput colony formation screen. Oncotarget, 6 (8), pp. 5978-5989. | Citations: 13 (Scopus) | Show Abstract | Read more

Colony formation is the gold standard assay for determining reproductive cell death after radiation treatment, since effects on proliferation often do not reflect survival. We have developed a high-throughput radiosensitivity screening method based on clonogenicity and screened a siRNA library against kinases. Thiamine pyrophosphokinase-1 (TPK1), a key component of Vitamin B1/thiamine metabolism, was identified as a target for radiosensitization. TPK1 knockdown caused significant radiosensitization in cancer but not normal tissue cell lines. Other means of blocking this pathway, knockdown of thiamine transporter-1 (THTR1) or treatment with the thiamine analogue pyrithiamine hydrobromide (PyrH) caused significant tumor specific radiosensitization. There was persistent DNA damage in cells irradiated after TPK1 and THTR1 knockdown or PyrH treatment. Thus this screen allowed the identification of thiamine metabolism as a novel radiosensitization target that affects DNA repair. Short-term modulation of thiamine metabolism could be a clinically exploitable strategy to achieve tumor specific radiosensitization.

Drouin L, McGrath S, Vidler LR, Chaikuad A, Monteiro O, Tallant C, Philpott M, Rogers C, Fedorov O, Liu M et al. 2015. Structure enabled design of BAZ2-ICR, a chemical probe targeting the bromodomains of BAZ2A and BAZ2B. J Med Chem, 58 (5), pp. 2553-2559. | Citations: 54 (Scopus) | Show Abstract | Read more

The bromodomain containing proteins BAZ2A/B play essential roles in chromatin remodeling and regulation of noncoding RNAs. We present the structure based discovery of a potent, selective, and cell active inhibitor 13 (BAZ2-ICR) of the BAZ2A/B bromodomains through rapid optimization of a weakly potent starting point. A key feature of the presented inhibitors is an intramolecular aromatic stacking interaction that efficiently occupies the shallow bromodomain pockets. 13 represents an excellent chemical probe for functional studies of the BAZ2 bromodomains in vitro and in vivo.

Muellner MK, Mair B, Ibrahim Y, Kerzendorfer C, Lechtermann H, Trefzer C, Klepsch F, Müller AC, Leitner E, Macho-Maschler S et al. 2015. Targeting a cell state common to triple-negative breast cancers. Mol Syst Biol, 11 (1), pp. 789. | Citations: 15 (Scopus) | Show Abstract | Read more

Some mutations in cancer cells can be exploited for therapeutic intervention. However, for many cancer subtypes, including triple-negative breast cancer (TNBC), no frequently recurring aberrations could be identified to make such an approach clinically feasible. Characterized by a highly heterogeneous mutational landscape with few common features, many TNBCs cluster together based on their 'basal-like' transcriptional profiles. We therefore hypothesized that targeting TNBC cells on a systems level by exploiting the transcriptional cell state might be a viable strategy to find novel therapies for this highly aggressive disease. We performed a large-scale chemical genetic screen and identified a group of compounds related to the drug PKC412 (midostaurin). PKC412 induced apoptosis in a subset of TNBC cells enriched for the basal-like subtype and inhibited tumor growth in vivo. We employed a multi-omics approach and computational modeling to address the mechanism of action and identified spleen tyrosine kinase (SYK) as a novel and unexpected target in TNBC. Quantitative phosphoproteomics revealed that SYK inhibition abrogates signaling to STAT3, explaining the selectivity for basal-like breast cancer cells. This non-oncogene addiction suggests that chemical SYK inhibition may be beneficial for a specific subset of TNBC patients and demonstrates that targeting cell states could be a viable strategy to discover novel treatment strategies.

Valli A, Rodriguez M, Moutsianas L, Fischer R, Fedele V, Huang H-L, Van Stiphout R, Jones D, Mccarthy M, Vinaxia M et al. 2015. Hypoxia induces a lipogenic cancer cell phenotype via HIF1α-dependent and -independent pathways. Oncotarget, 6 (4), pp. 1920-1941. | Citations: 22 (Web of Science Lite) | Show Abstract | Read more

The biochemistry of cancer cells diverges significantly from normal cells as a result of a comprehensive reprogramming of metabolic pathways. A major factor influencing cancer metabolism is hypoxia, which is mediated by HIF1α and HIF2α. HIF1α represents one of the principal regulators of metabolism and energetic balance in cancer cells through its regulation of glycolysis, glycogen synthesis, Krebs cycle and the pentose phosphate shunt. However, less is known about the role of HIF1α in modulating lipid metabolism. Lipids serve cancer cells to provide molecules acting as oncogenic signals, energetic reserve, precursors for new membrane synthesis and to balance redox biological reactions. To study the role of HIF1α in these processes, we used HCT116 colorectal cancer cells expressing endogenous HIF1α and cells in which the hif1α gene was deleted to characterize HIF1α-dependent and independent effects on hypoxia regulated lipid metabolites. Untargeted metabolomics integrated with proteomics revealed that hypoxia induced many changes in lipids metabolites. Enzymatic steps in fatty acid synthesis and the Kennedy pathway were modified in a HIF1α-dependent fashion. Palmitate, stearate, PLD3 and PAFC16 were regulated in a HIF-independent manner. Our results demonstrate the impact of hypoxia on lipid metabolites, of which a distinct subset is regulated by HIF1α.

Tomlinson PR, Zheng Y, Fischer R, Heidasch R, Gardiner C, Evetts S, Hu M, Wade-Martins R, Turner MR, Morris J et al. 2015. Identification of distinct circulating exosomes in Parkinson's disease. Ann Clin Transl Neurol, 2 (4), pp. 353-361. | Citations: 45 (Scopus) | Show Abstract | Read more

OBJECTIVE: Whether circulating microvesicles convey bioactive signals in neurodegenerative diseases remains currently unknown. In this study, we investigated the biochemical composition and biological function of exosomes isolated from sera of patients with Parkinson's disease (PD). METHODS: Proteomic analysis was performed on microvesicle preparations from grouped samples of patients with genetic and sporadic forms of PD, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, and healthy subjects. Nanoparticle-tracking analysis was used to assess the number and size of exosomes between patient groups. To interrogate their biological effect, microvesicles were added to primary rat cortical neurons subjected to either nutrient deprivation or sodium arsenite. RESULTS: Among 1033 proteins identified, 23 exosome-associated proteins were differentially abundant in PD, including the regulator of exosome biogenesis syntenin 1. These protein changes were detected despite similar exosome numbers across groups suggesting that they may reflect exosome subpopulations with distinct functions. Accordingly, we showed in models of neuronal stress that Parkinson's-derived microvesicles have a protective effect. INTERPRETATION: Collectively, these data suggest for the first time that immunophenotyping of circulating exosome subpopulations in PD may lead to a better understanding of the systemic response to neurodegeneration and the development of novel therapeutics.

Iglesias-Gato D, Chuan Y-C, Jiang N, Svensson C, Bao J, Paul I, Egevad L, Kessler BM, Wikström P, Niu Y, Flores-Morales A. 2015. OTUB1 de-ubiquitinating enzyme promotes prostate cancer cell invasion in vitro and tumorigenesis in vivo. Mol Cancer, 14 (1), pp. 8. | Citations: 19 (Scopus) | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Ubiquitination is a highly dynamic and reversible process with a central role in cell homeostasis. Deregulation of several deubiquitinating enzymes has been linked to tumor development but their specific role in prostate cancer progression remains unexplored. METHODS: RNAi screening was used to investigate the role of the ovarian tumor proteases (OTU) family of deubiquitinating enzymes on the proliferation and invasion capacity of prostate cancer cells. RhoA activity was measured in relation with OTUB1 effects on prostate cancer cell invasion. Tumor xenograft mouse model with stable OTUB1 knockdown was used to investigate OTUB1 influence in tumor growth. RESULTS: Our RNAi screening identified OTUB1 as an important regulator of prostate cancer cell invasion through the modulation of RhoA activation. The effect of OTUB1 on RhoA activation is important for androgen-induced repression of p53 expression in prostate cancer cells. In localized prostate cancer tumors OTUB1 was found overexpressed as compared to normal prostatic epithelial cells. Prostate cancer xenografts expressing reduced levels of OTUB1 exhibit reduced tumor growth and reduced metastatic dissemination in vivo. CONCLUSIONS: OTUB1 mediates prostate cancer cell invasion through RhoA activation and promotes tumorigenesis in vivo. Our results suggest that drugs targeting the catalytic activity of OTUB1 could potentially be used as therapeutics for metastatic prostate cancer.

Lugli EB, Correia RESM, Fischer R, Lundberg K, Bracke KR, Montgomery AB, Kessler BM, Brusselle GG, Venables PJ. 2015. Expression of citrulline and homocitrulline residues in the lungs of non-smokers and smokers: implications for autoimmunity in rheumatoid arthritis. Arthritis Res Ther, 17 (1), pp. 9. | Citations: 44 (Scopus) | Show Abstract | Read more

INTRODUCTION: Smoking is a well-established risk factor for rheumatoid arthritis (RA), and it has been proposed that smoking-induced citrullination renders autoantigens immunogenic. To investigate this mechanism, we examined human lung tissue from 40 subjects with defined smoking status, with or without chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), and control tissues from other organs for citrullinated proteins and the deiminating enzymes peptidylarginine deiminase type-2 (PAD2) and -4 (PAD4). METHODS: Lung tissue samples, dissected from lobectomy specimens from 10 never smokers, 10 smokers without airflow limitation, 13 COPD smokers and eight COPD ex-smokers, and control tissue samples (spleen, skeletal muscle, liver, ovary, lymph node, kidney and heart), were analysed for citrullinated proteins, PAD2 and PAD4 by immunoblotting. Citrulline and homocitrulline residues in enolase and vimentin were analysed by partial purification by gel electrophoresis followed by mass spectrometry in 12 of the lung samples and one from each control tissues. Band intensities were scored semi-quantitatively and analysed by two-tailed Mann-Whitney T-test. RESULTS: Within the lung tissue samples, citrullinated proteins, PAD2 and PAD4 were found in all samples, with an increase in citrullination in COPD (P = 0.039), but minimal difference between smokers and non-smokers (P = 0.77). Citrullination was also detected at lower levels in the tissues from other organs, principally in lymph node, kidney and skeletal muscle. Mass spectrometry of the lung samples showed that vimentin was citrullinated at positions 71, 304, 346, 410 and 450 in non-smokers and smokers both with and without COPD. A homocitrulline at position 104 was found in four out of six COPD samples and one out of six non-COPD. Citrulline-450 was also found in three of the control tissues. There were no citrulline or homocitrulline residues demonstrated in α-enolase. CONCLUSIONS: We have shown evidence of citrullination of vimentin, a major autoantigen in RA, in both non-smokers and smokers. The increase in citrullinated proteins in COPD suggests that citrullination in the lungs of smokers is mainly due to inflammation. The ubiquity of citrullination of vimentin in the lungs and other tissues suggests that the relationship between smoking and autoimmunity in RA may be more complex than previously thought.

Martin E, Knapp S, Engh RA, Moebitz H, Varin T, Roux B, Meiler J, Berdini V, Baumann A, Vieth M. 2015. Perspective on computational and structural aspects of kinase discovery from IPK2014 Biochimica et Biophysica Acta - Proteins and Proteomics, 1854 (10), pp. 1595-1604. | Citations: 3 (Scopus) | Show Abstract | Read more

© 2015 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved. Recent advances in understanding the activity and selectivity of kinase inhibitors and their relationships to protein structure are presented. Conformational selection in kinases is studied from empirical, data-driven and simulation approaches. Ligand binding and its affinity are, in many cases, determined by the predetermined active and inactive conformation of kinases. Binding affinity and selectivity predictions highlight the current state of the art and advances in computational chemistry as it applies to kinase inhibitor discovery. Kinome wide inhibitor profiling and cell panel profiling lead to a better understanding of selectivity and allow for target validation and patient tailoring hypotheses. This article is part of a Special Issue entitled: Inhibitors of Protein Kinases.

Kestav K, Lavogina D, Raidaru G, Chaikuad A, Knapp S, Uri A. 2015. Bisubstrate inhibitor approach for targeting mitotic kinase Haspin. Bioconjug Chem, 26 (2), pp. 225-234. | Citations: 6 (Web of Science Lite) | Show Abstract | Read more

During the past decade, the basophilic atypical kinase Haspin has emerged as a key player in mitosis responsible for phosphorylation of Thr3 residue of histone H3. Here, we report the construction of conjugates comprising an aromatic fragment targeted to the ATP-site of Haspin and a peptide mimicking the N-terminus of histone H3. The combination of effective solid phase synthesis procedures and a high throughput binding/displacement assay with fluorescence anisotropy readout afforded the development of inhibitors with remarkable subnanomolar affinity toward Haspin. The selectivity profiles of novel conjugates were established by affinity studies with a model basophilic kinase (catalytic subunit of cAMP-dependent protein kinase) and by a commercial 1-point inhibition assay with 43 protein kinases.

Homan KT, Larimore KM, Elkins JM, Szklarz M, Knapp S, Tesmer JJG. 2015. Identification and structure-function analysis of subfamily selective G protein-coupled receptor kinase inhibitors. ACS Chem Biol, 10 (1), pp. 310-319. | Citations: 29 (Web of Science Lite) | Show Abstract | Read more

Selective inhibitors of individual subfamilies of G protein-coupled receptor kinases (GRKs) would serve as useful chemical probes as well as leads for therapeutic applications ranging from heart failure to Parkinson's disease. To identify such inhibitors, differential scanning fluorimetry was used to screen a collection of known protein kinase inhibitors that could increase the melting points of the two most ubiquitously expressed GRKs: GRK2 and GRK5. Enzymatic assays on 14 of the most stabilizing hits revealed that three exhibit nanomolar potency of inhibition for individual GRKs, some of which exhibiting orders of magnitude selectivity. Most of the identified compounds can be clustered into two chemical classes: indazole/dihydropyrimidine-containing compounds that are selective for GRK2 and pyrrolopyrimidine-containing compounds that potently inhibit GRK1 and GRK5 but with more modest selectivity. The two most potent inhibitors representing each class, GSK180736A and GSK2163632A, were cocrystallized with GRK2 and GRK1, and their atomic structures were determined to 2.6 and 1.85 Å spacings, respectively. GSK180736A, developed as a Rho-associated, coiled-coil-containing protein kinase inhibitor, binds to GRK2 in a manner analogous to that of paroxetine, whereas GSK2163632A, developed as an insulin-like growth factor 1 receptor inhibitor, occupies a novel region of the GRK active site cleft that could likely be exploited to achieve more selectivity. However, neither compound inhibits GRKs more potently than their initial targets. This data provides the foundation for future efforts to rationally design even more potent and selective GRK inhibitors.

Altun M, Walter TS, Kramer HB, Herr P, Iphöfer A, Boström J, David Y, Komsany A, Ternette N, Navon A et al. 2015. The human otubain2-ubiquitin structure provides insights into the cleavage specificity of poly-ubiquitin-linkages. PLoS One, 10 (1), pp. e0115344. | Citations: 11 (Web of Science Lite) | Show Abstract | Read more

Ovarian tumor domain containing proteases cleave ubiquitin (Ub) and ubiquitin-like polypeptides from proteins. Here we report the crystal structure of human otubain 2 (OTUB2) in complex with a ubiquitin-based covalent inhibitor, Ub-Br2. The ubiquitin binding mode is oriented differently to how viral otubains (vOTUs) bind ubiquitin/ISG15, and more similar to yeast and mammalian OTUs. In contrast to OTUB1 which has exclusive specificity towards Lys48 poly-ubiquitin chains, OTUB2 cleaves different poly-Ub linked chains. N-terminal tail swapping experiments between OTUB1 and OTUB2 revealed how the N-terminal structural motifs in OTUB1 contribute to modulating enzyme activity and Ub-chain selectivity, a trait not observed in OTUB2, supporting the notion that OTUB2 may affect a different spectrum of substrates in Ub-dependent pathways.

Wilbek TS, Skovgaard T, Sorrell FJ, Knapp S, Berthelsen J, Strømgaard K. 2015. Identification and characterization of a small-molecule inhibitor of death-associated protein kinase 1. Chembiochem, 16 (1), pp. 59-63. | Citations: 8 (Web of Science Lite) | Read more

Livermore S, Pan J, Yeger H, Ratcliffe P, Bishop T, Cutz E. 2015. Augmented 5-HT Secretion in Pulmonary Neuroepithelial Bodies from PHD1 Null Mice. Adv Exp Med Biol, 860 pp. 309-313. | Citations: 3 (Web of Science Lite) | Show Abstract | Read more

Sustained exposure to low oxygen concentration leads to profound changes in gene expression to restore oxygen homeostasis. Hypoxia-inducible factors (HIFs) comprise a group of transcription factors which accumulate under hypoxia and contribute to the complex changes in gene expression. Under normoxic conditions HIFs are degraded by prolyl-hydroxylases (PHD), however during hypoxia this degradation is inhibited causing HIF accumulation and subsequent changes in gene expression. Pulmonary neuroepithelial bodies (NEB) are innervated serotonin (5-HT)-producing cells distributed throughout the airway epithelium. These putative O(2) sensors are hypothesized to contribute to the ventilatory response to hypoxia. NEB dysfunction has been implicated in several paediatric lung diseases including neuroendocrine cell hyperplasia of infancy and sudden infant death syndrome, both characterized by a marked NEB hyperplasia with unknown functional significance. We have previously reported striking NEB hyperplasia in PHD1(-/-) mice making these mice a potential model to study the role of NEBs in paediatric lung diseases. Here we report in vitro studies on 5-HT release from NEB using this model.

Toi M, Pillai MR, Gupta S, Badwe R, Carmo-Fonseca M, Costa L, Chow LWC, Knapp S, Kumar R. 2015. The global cancer genomics consortium’s symposium: New era of molecular medicine and epigenetic cancer medicine - Cross section of genomics and epigenetics Genes and Cancer, 6 (1-2), pp. 1-8. | Show Abstract

© 2015, Impact Journals LLC. All rights reserved. The Global Cancer Genomics Consortium (GCGC) colleagues continue to function together as an interactive multidisciplinary team of cancer biologists and oncologists with interests in genomics and building a bidirectional bridge between cancer clinics and laboratories while taking advantage of shared resources among its member scientists. The GCGC includes member scientists from six institutions in Lisbon, United Kingdom, Japan, India and United States, and was formed in December 2010 for a period of five years. Driven by valuable lessons learned from the previous symposiums, the fourth GCGC Symposium focused on a cross section of genomic and epigenetic cancer medicine and it’s for this reason we chose the conference theme - New Era of Molecular Medicine and Epigenetic Cancer Medicine: Cross Section of Genomics and Epigenetics. This year’s symposium was co-organized by the Organization for Oncology and Translational Research (OOTR) at the Shiran Hall, Kyoto University, Kyoto, Japan, from November 14 and 15, 2014. The symposium attracted around 80 participants from 14 countries, and counted with 23 invited platform speakers. Scientific sessions included eight platform sessions and one poster session, and three plenary lectures. The symposium focused on cancer stem cells and self-renewal, cancer transcriptome, tumor heterogeneity, tumor biology, breast cancer genomics, targeted therapeutics and personalized medicine. The issues of cancer stem cells and tumor heterogeneity were echoed in most of the scientific presentations. The meeting concluded with an oral presentation by the best poster awardee and closing remarks by meeting co-chairs.

Antonopoulos AS, Margaritis M, Coutinho P, Shirodaria C, Psarros C, Herdman L, Sanna F, De Silva R, Petrou M, Sayeed R et al. 2015. Adiponectin as a link between type 2 diabetes and vascular NADPH oxidase activity in the human arterial wall: the regulatory role of perivascular adipose tissue. Diabetes, 64 (6), pp. 2207-2219. | Citations: 73 (Web of Science Lite) | Show Abstract | Read more

Oxidative stress plays a critical role in the vascular complications of type 2 diabetes. We examined the effect of type 2 diabetes on NADPH oxidase in human vessels and explored the mechanisms of this interaction. Segments of internal mammary arteries (IMAs) with their perivascular adipose tissue (PVAT) and thoracic adipose tissue were obtained from 386 patients undergoing coronary bypass surgery (127 with type 2 diabetes). Type 2 diabetes was strongly correlated with hypoadiponectinemia and increased vascular NADPH oxidase-derived superoxide anions (O2˙(-)). The genetic variability of the ADIPOQ gene and circulating adiponectin (but not interleukin-6) were independent predictors of NADPH oxidase-derived O2˙(-). However, adiponectin expression in PVAT was positively correlated with vascular NADPH oxidase-derived O2˙(-). Recombinant adiponectin directly inhibited NADPH oxidase in human arteries ex vivo by preventing the activation/membrane translocation of Rac1 and downregulating p22(phox) through a phosphoinositide 3-kinase/Akt-mediated mechanism. In ex vivo coincubation models of IMA/PVAT, the activation of arterial NADPH oxidase triggered a peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor-γ-mediated upregulation of the adiponectin gene in the neighboring PVAT via the release of vascular oxidation products. We demonstrate for the first time in humans that reduced adiponectin levels in individuals with type 2 diabetes stimulates vascular NADPH oxidase, while PVAT "senses" the increased NADPH oxidase activity in the underlying vessel and responds by upregulating adiponectin gene expression. This PVAT-vessel interaction is identified as a novel therapeutic target for the prevention of vascular complications of type 2 diabetes.

Tallant C, Valentini E, Fedorov O, Overvoorde L, Ferguson FM, Filippakopoulos P, Svergun DI, Knapp S, Ciulli A. 2015. Molecular basis of histone tail recognition by human TIP5 PHD finger and bromodomain of the chromatin remodeling complex NoRC. Structure, 23 (1), pp. 80-92. | Citations: 25 (Web of Science Lite) | Show Abstract | Read more

Binding of the chromatin remodeling complex NoRC to RNA complementary to the rDNA promoter mediates transcriptional repression. TIP5, the largest subunit of NoRC, is involved in recruitment to rDNA by interactions with promoter-bound TTF-I, pRNA, and acetylation of H4K16. TIP5 domains that recognize posttranslational modifications on histones are essential for recruitment of NoRC to chromatin, but how these reader modules recognize site-specific histone tails has remained elusive. Here, we report crystal structures of PHD zinc finger and bromodomains from human TIP5 and BAZ2B in free form and bound to H3 and/or H4 histones. PHD finger functions as an independent structural module in recognizing unmodified H3 histone tails, and the bromodomain prefers H3 and H4 acetylation marks followed by a key basic residue, KacXXR. Further low-resolution analyses of PHD-bromodomain modules provide molecular insights into their trans histone tail recognition, required for nucleosome recruitment and transcriptional repression of the NoRC complex.

Choudhry H, Albukhari A, Morotti M, Haider S, Moralli D, Smythies J, Schödel J, Green CM, Camps C, Buffa F et al. 2015. Tumor hypoxia induces nuclear paraspeckle formation through HIF-2α dependent transcriptional activation of NEAT1 leading to cancer cell survival. Oncogene, 34 (34), pp. 4546. | Citations: 49 (Web of Science Lite) | Show Abstract | Read more

Correction to: Oncogene (2015) 34, 4482–4490; doi:10.1038/onc.2014.378; published online 24 November 2014. Following the online publication of this article, the authors have noticed a misspelt surname: S Hider should read S Haider. There is also an addition to the acknowledgements to read ‘This study makes use of data generated by the Molecular Taxonomy of Breast Cancer International Consortium, which was funded by Cancer Research UK and the British Columbia Cancer Agency Branch’. The corrected article appears in this issue. The authors would like to apologise for any inconvenience this may cause.

Michailidou Z, Morton NM, Moreno Navarrete JM, West CC, Stewart KJ, Fernández-Real JM, Schofield CJ, Seckl JR, Ratcliffe PJ. 2015. Adipocyte pseudohypoxia suppresses lipolysis and facilitates benign adipose tissue expansion. Diabetes, 64 (3), pp. 733-745. | Citations: 17 (Web of Science Lite) | Show Abstract | Read more

Prolyl hydroxylase enzymes (PHDs) sense cellular oxygen upstream of hypoxia-inducible factor (HIF) signaling, leading to HIF degradation in normoxic conditions. In this study, we demonstrate that adipose PHD2 inhibition plays a key role in the suppression of adipocyte lipolysis. Adipose Phd2 gene ablation in mice enhanced adiposity, with a parallel increase in adipose vascularization associated with reduced circulating nonesterified fatty acid levels and normal glucose homeostasis. Phd2 gene-depleted adipocytes exhibited lower basal lipolysis in normoxia and reduced β-adrenergic-stimulated lipolysis in both normoxia and hypoxia. A selective PHD inhibitor suppressed lipolysis in murine and human adipocytes in vitro and in vivo in mice. PHD2 genetic ablation and pharmacological inhibition attenuated protein levels of the key lipolytic effectors hormone-sensitive lipase and adipose triglyceride lipase (ATGL), suggesting a link between adipocyte oxygen sensing and fatty acid release. PHD2 mRNA levels correlated positively with mRNA levels of AB-hydrolase domain containing-5, an activator of ATGL, and negatively with mRNA levels of lipid droplet proteins, perilipin, and TIP47 in human subcutaneous adipose tissue. Therapeutic pseudohypoxia caused by PHD2 inhibition in adipocytes blunts lipolysis and promotes benign adipose tissue expansion and may have therapeutic applications in obesity or lipodystrophy.

Fece de la Cruz F, Gapp BV, Nijman SMB. 2015. Synthetic lethal vulnerabilities of cancer. Annu Rev Pharmacol Toxicol, 55 (1), pp. 513-531. | Citations: 26 (Scopus) | Show Abstract | Read more

The great majority of targeted anticancer drugs inhibit mutated oncogenes that display increased activity. Yet many tumors do not contain such actionable aberrations, such as those harboring loss-of-function mutations. The notion of targeting synthetic lethal vulnerabilities in cancer cells has provided an alternative approach to exploiting more of the genetic and epigenetic changes acquired during tumorigenesis. Here, we review synthetic lethality as a therapeutic concept that exploits the inherent differences between normal cells and cancer cells. Furthermore, we provide an overview of the screening approaches that can be used to identify synthetic lethal interactions in human cells and present several recently identified interactions that may be pharmacologically exploited. Finally, we indicate some of the challenges of translating synthetic lethal interactions into the clinic and how these may be overcome.

Licciardello MP, Müllner MK, Dürnberger G, Kerzendorfer C, Boidol B, Trefzer C, Sdelci S, Berg T, Penz T, Schuster M et al. 2015. NOTCH1 activation in breast cancer confers sensitivity to inhibition of SUMOylation. Oncogene, 34 (29), pp. 3780-3790. | Citations: 16 (Scopus) | Show Abstract | Read more

Breast cancer is genetically heterogeneous, and recent studies have underlined a prominent contribution of epigenetics to the development of this disease. To uncover new synthetic lethalities with known breast cancer oncogenes, we screened an epigenome-focused short hairpin RNA library on a panel of engineered breast epithelial cell lines. Here we report a selective interaction between the NOTCH1 signaling pathway and the SUMOylation cascade. Knockdown of the E2-conjugating enzyme UBC9 (UBE2I) as well as inhibition of the E1-activating complex SAE1/UBA2 using ginkgolic acid impairs the growth of NOTCH1-activated breast epithelial cells. We show that upon inhibition of SUMOylation NOTCH1-activated cells proceed slower through the cell cycle and ultimately enter apoptosis. Mechanistically, activation of NOTCH1 signaling depletes the pool of unconjugated small ubiquitin-like modifier 1 (SUMO1) and SUMO2/3 leading to increased sensitivity to perturbation of the SUMOylation cascade. Depletion of unconjugated SUMO correlates with sensitivity to inhibition of SUMOylation also in patient-derived breast cancer cell lines with constitutive NOTCH pathway activation. Our investigation suggests that SUMOylation cascade inhibitors should be further explored as targeted treatment for NOTCH-driven breast cancer.

Maniam S, Coutts AS, Stratford MR, McGouran J, Kessler B, La Thangue NB. 2015. Cofactor Strap regulates oxidative phosphorylation and mitochondrial p53 activity through ATP synthase. Cell Death Differ, 22 (1), pp. 156-163. | Citations: 7 (Web of Science Lite) | Show Abstract | Read more

Metabolic reprogramming is a hallmark of cancer cells. Strap (stress-responsive activator of p300) is a novel TPR motif OB-fold protein that contributes to p53 transcriptional activation. We show here that, in addition to its established transcriptional role, Strap is localised at mitochondria where one of its key interaction partners is ATP synthase. Significantly, the interaction between Strap and ATP synthase downregulates mitochondrial ATP production. Under glucose-limiting conditions, cancer cells are sensitised by mitochondrial Strap to apoptosis, which is rescued by supplementing cells with an extracellular source of ATP. Furthermore, Strap augments the apoptotic effects of mitochondrial p53. These findings define Strap as a dual regulator of cellular reprogramming: first as a nuclear transcription cofactor and second in the direct regulation of mitochondrial respiration.

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