© 2018, © 2018 The Author(s). Published by Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group. Avian eggshell survives well in alkaline and neutral soils, but its potential as an archaeological resource remains largely unexplored, mainly due to difficulties in its identification. Here we exploit the release of novel bird genomes and, for the first time on eggshell, use MALDI-ToF (matrix-assisted laser desorption ionisation-time of flight) mass spectrometry in combination with peptide sequencing by LC-MS/MS. The eggshell proteome is revealed as unexpectedly complex, with 5755 proteins identified for a reference collection comprising 23 bird species. We determined 782 m/z markers useful for eggshell identification, 583 of which could be assigned to known eggshell peptide sequences. These were used to identify eggshell fragments recovered from a medieval site at Freeschool Lane, Leicester. We discuss the specificity of the peptide markers and highlight the importance of assessing the level of taxonomic identification achievable for archaeological interpretation.
Background and Aims: Regulatory macrophages play a critical role in tissue repair, and we have previously shown that anti-tumour necrosis factor [TNF] antibodies induce these macrophages in vitro and in vivo in IBD patients. The induction of regulatory macrophages can be potentiated using the combination of anti-TNF and thiopurines, consistent with the enhanced efficacy of this combination therapy described in clinical trials. As thiopurines are unfortunately associated with significant side effects, we here aimed to identify alternatives for combination therapy with anti-TNF, using the macrophage induction model as a screening tool. Methods: Mixed lymphocyte reactions were treated with anti-TNF and a library of 1600 drug compounds. Induction of CD14+CD206+ macrophages was analysed by flow cytometry. Positive hits were validated in vitro and in the T cell transfer model of colitis. Results: Among the 98 compounds potentiating the induction of regulatory macrophages by anti-TNF were six benzimidazoles, including albendazole. Albendazole treatment in the presence of anti-TNF resulted in alterations in the tubulin skeleton and signalling though AMPK, which was required for the enhanced induction. Combination therapy also increased expression levels of the immunoregulatory cytokine IL-10. In vivo, albendazole plus anti-TNF combination therapy was superior to monotherapy in a model of colitis, in terms of both induction of regulatory macrophages and improvement of clinical symptoms. Conclusions: Albendazole enhances the induction of regulatory macrophages by anti-TNF and potentiates clinical efficacy in murine colitis. Given its favourable safety profile, these data indicate that the repurposing of albendazole may be a novel option for anti-TNF combination therapy in IBD.
OBJECTIVE: In addition to the long-established link with smoking, periodontitis (PD) is a risk factor for rheumatoid arthritis (RA). This study was undertaken to elucidate the mechanism by which PD could induce antibodies to citrullinated peptides (ACPAs), by examining the antibody response to a novel citrullinated peptide of cytokeratin 13 (CK-13) identified in gingival crevicular fluid (GCF), and comparing the response to 4 other citrullinated peptides in patients with RA who were well-characterized for PD and smoking. METHODS: The citrullinomes of GCF and periodontal tissue from patients with PD were mapped by mass spectrometry. ACPAs of CK13 (cCK13), tenascin-C (cTNC5), vimentin (cVIM), α-enolase (CEP-1), and fibrinogen β (cFIBβ) were examined by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay in patients with RA (n = 287) and patients with osteoarthritis (n = 330), and cross-reactivity was assessed by inhibition assays. RESULTS: A novel citrullinated peptide cCK13-1 (444 TSNASGR-Cit-TSDV-Cit-RP458 ) identified in GCF exhibited elevated antibody responses in RA patients (24%). Anti-cCK13-1 antibody levels correlated with anti-cTNC5 antibody levels, and absorption experiments confirmed this was not due to cross-reactivity. Only anti-cCK13-1 and anti-cTNC5 were associated with antibodies to the periodontal pathogen Prevotella intermedia (P = 0.05 and P = 0.001, respectively), but not with antibodies to Porphyromonas gingivalis arginine gingipains. Levels of antibodies to CEP-1, cFIBβ, and cVIM correlated with each other, and with smoking and shared epitope risk factors in RA. CONCLUSION: This study identifies 2 groups of ACPA fine specificities associated with different RA risk factors. One is predominantly linked to smoking and shared epitope, and the other links anti-cTNC5 and cCK13-1 to infection with the periodontal pathogen P intermedia.
ATAD2 (ANCCA) is an epigenetic regulator and transcriptional cofactor, whose overexpression has been linked to the progress of various cancer types. Here, we report a DNA-encoded library screen leading to the discovery of BAY-850, a potent and isoform selective inhibitor that specifically induces ATAD2 bromodomain dimerization and prevents interactions with acetylated histones in vitro, as well as with chromatin in cells. These features qualify BAY-850 as a chemical probe to explore ATAD2 biology.
The ongoing explosion in genomics data has long since outpaced the capacity of conventional biochemical methodology to verify the large number of hypotheses that emerge from the analysis of such data. In contrast, it is still a gold-standard for early phenotypic validation towards small-molecule drug discovery to use probe molecules (or tool compounds), notwithstanding the difficulty and cost of generating them. Rational structure-based approaches to ligand discovery have long promised the efficiencies needed to close this divergence; in practice, however, this promise remains largely unfulfilled, for a host of well-rehearsed reasons and despite the huge technical advances spearheaded by the structural genomics initiatives of the noughties. Therefore the current, fourth funding phase of the Structural Genomics Consortium (SGC), building on its extensive experience in structural biology of novel targets and design of protein inhibitors, seeks to redefine what it means to do structural biology for drug discovery. We developed the concept of a Target Enabling Package (TEP) that provides, through reagents, assays and data, the missing link between genetic disease linkage and the development of usefully potent compounds. There are multiple prongs to the ambition: rigorously assessing targets' genetic disease linkages through crowdsourcing to a network of collaborating experts; establishing a systematic approach to generate the protocols and data that comprise each target's TEP; developing new, X-ray-based fragment technologies for generating high quality chemical matter quickly and cheaply; and exploiting a stringently open access model to build multidisciplinary partnerships throughout academia and industry. By learning how to scale these approaches, the SGC aims to make structures finally serve genomics, as originally intended, and demonstrate how 3D structures systematically allow new modes of druggability to be discovered for whole classes of targets.
Angewandte Chemie, 129 (49), pp. 15761-15765. | Read more2017. Discovery of a Highly Selective Cell-Active Inhibitor of the Histone Lysine Demethylases KDM2/7
Most molecular cancer therapies act on protein targets but data on the proteome status of patients and cellular models for proteome-guided pre-clinical drug sensitivity studies are only beginning to emerge. Here, we profiled the proteomes of 65 colorectal cancer (CRC) cell lines to a depth of > 10,000 proteins using mass spectrometry. Integration with proteomes of 90 CRC patients and matched transcriptomics data defined integrated CRC subtypes, highlighting cell lines representative of each tumour subtype. Modelling the responses of 52 CRC cell lines to 577 drugs as a function of proteome profiles enabled predicting drug sensitivity for cell lines and patients. Among many novel associations, MERTK was identified as a predictive marker for resistance towards MEK1/2 inhibitors and immunohistochemistry of 1,074 CRC tumours confirmed MERTK as a prognostic survival marker. We provide the proteomic and pharmacological data as a resource to the community to, for example, facilitate the design of innovative prospective clinical trials.
The BCR/ABL1 inhibitor Nilotinib is increasingly used to treat patients with chronic myeloid leukemia (CML). Although otherwise well-tolerated, Nilotinib has been associated with the occurrence of progressive arterial occlusive disease (AOD). Our objective was to determine the exact frequency of AOD and examine in vitro and in vivo effects of Nilotinib and Imatinib on endothelial cells to explain AOD-development. In contrast to Imatinib, Nilotinib was found to upregulate pro-atherogenic adhesion-proteins (ICAM-1, E-selectin, VCAM-1) on human endothelial cells. Nilotinib also suppressed endothelial cell proliferation, migration and tube-formation and bound to a distinct set of target-kinases, relevant to angiogenesis and atherosclerosis, including angiopoietin receptor-1 TEK, ABL-2, JAK1 and MAP-kinases. Nilotinib and siRNA against ABL-2 also suppressed KDR expression. In addition, Nilotinib augmented atherosclerosis in ApoE-/- mice and blocked reperfusion and angiogenesis in a hindlimb-ischemia model of arterial occlusion, whereas Imatinib showed no comparable effects. Clinically overt AOD-events were found to accumulate over time in Nilotinib-treated patients. After a median observation-time of 2.0 years, the AOD-frequency was higher in these patients (29.4%) compared to risk factor- and age-matched controls (<5%). Together, Nilotinib exerts direct pro-atherogenic and anti-angiogenic effects on vascular endothelial cells, which may contribute to development of AOD in patients with CML.
Macrodomains are conserved protein interaction modules that can be found in all domains of life including in certain viruses. Macrodomains mediate recognition of sequence motifs harboring adenosine diphosphate ribose (ADPR) modifications, thereby regulating a variety of cellular processes. Due to their role in cancer or viral pathogenesis, macrodomains have emerged as potential therapeutic targets, but the unavailability of small molecule inhibitors has hampered target validation studies so far. Here, we describe an efficient screening strategy for identification of small molecule inhibitors that displace ADPR from macrodomains. We report the discovery and characterization of a macrodomain inhibitor, GeA-69, selectively targeting macrodomain 2 (MD2) of PARP14 with low micromolar affinity. Co-crystallization of a GeA-69 analogue with PARP14 MD2 revealed an allosteric binding mechanism explaining its selectivity over other human macrodomains. We show that GeA-69 engages PARP14 MD2 in intact cells and prevents its localization to sites of DNA damage.
Mitochondria form a highly dynamic network driven by opposing scission and fusion events. DRP1 is an essential modulator of mitochondrial fission and dynamics within mammalian cells. Its fission activity is regulated by posttranslational modifications such as activating phosphorylation at serine 616. DRP1 activity has recently been implicated as being dysregulated in numerous human disorders such as cancer and neurodegenerative diseases. Here we describe the development of a cell-based screening assay to detect DRP1 activation. We utilized this to undertake focused compound library screening and identified potent modulators that affected DRP1 activity including ICG-001, which is described as WNT/β-catenin signaling inhibitor. Our findings elucidate novel details about ICG-001's mechanism of action (MOA) in mediating anti-proliferative activity. We show ICG-001 both inhibits mitochondrial fission and activates an early endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress response to induce cell death in susceptible colorectal cancer cell lines.
N-acetylcysteine (NAC) is the antidote for acetaminophen (APAP)-induced hepatotoxicity. Both intravenous (IV) and oral (PO) NAC formulations are available with equal efficacy. Adverse events from either preparation are rare. We describe a hand compartment syndrome after extravasation of NAC requiring emergent fasciotomy during phase three of treatment for suspected APAP toxicity. Extravasation injuries leading to compartment syndrome are rare. It is unclear whether IV NAC induced a direct tissue-toxic insult, or functioned as a space-occupying lesion to cause a compartment syndrome. Compartment syndrome from extravasation of NAC is possible. In cases where IV access is difficult, PO NAC is an alternative.
Cells adapt to environmental changes, including fluctuations in oxygen levels, through the induction of specific gene expression programs. To identify genes regulated by hypoxia at the transcriptional level, we pulse-labeled HUVEC cells with 4-thiouridine and sequenced nascent transcripts. Then, we searched genome-wide binding profiles from the ENCODE project for factors that correlated with changes in transcription and identified binding of several components of the Sin3A co-repressor complex, including SIN3A, SAP30 and HDAC1/2, proximal to genes repressed by hypoxia. SIN3A interference revealed that it participates in the downregulation of 75% of the hypoxia-repressed genes in endothelial cells. Unexpectedly, it also blunted the induction of 47% of the upregulated genes, suggesting a role for this corepressor in gene induction. In agreement, ChIP-seq experiments showed that SIN3A preferentially localizes to the promoter region of actively transcribed genes and that SIN3A signal was enriched in hypoxia-repressed genes, prior exposure to the stimulus. Importantly, SINA3 occupancy was not altered by hypoxia in spite of changes in H3K27ac signal. In summary, our results reveal a prominent role for SIN3A in the transcriptional response to hypoxia and suggest a model where modulation of the associated histone deacetylase activity, rather than its recruitment, determines the transcriptional output.
Ubiquitination controls the stability of most cellular proteins, and its deregulation contributes to human diseases including cancer. Deubiquitinases remove ubiquitin from proteins, and their inhibition can induce the degradation of selected proteins, potentially including otherwise 'undruggable' targets. For example, the inhibition of ubiquitin-specific protease 7 (USP7) results in the degradation of the oncogenic E3 ligase MDM2, and leads to re-activation of the tumour suppressor p53 in various cancers. Here we report that two compounds, FT671 and FT827, inhibit USP7 with high affinity and specificity in vitro and within human cells. Co-crystal structures reveal that both compounds target a dynamic pocket near the catalytic centre of the auto-inhibited apo form of USP7, which differs from other USP deubiquitinases. Consistent with USP7 target engagement in cells, FT671 destabilizes USP7 substrates including MDM2, increases levels of p53, and results in the transcription of p53 target genes, induction of the tumour suppressor p21, and inhibition of tumour growth in mice.
Histone lysine demethylases (KDMs) are of critical importance in the epigenetic regulation of gene expression, yet there are few selective, cell-permeable inhibitors or suitable tool compounds for these enzymes. We describe the discovery of a new class of inhibitor that is highly potent towards the histone lysine demethylases KDM2A/7A. A modular synthetic approach was used to explore the chemical space and accelerate the investigation of key structure-activity relationships, leading to the development of a small molecule with around 75-fold selectivity towards KDM2A/7A versus other KDMs, as well as cellular activity at low micromolar concentrations.
The methionine 1 (M1)-specific deubiquitinase (DUB) OTULIN acts as a negative regulator of nuclear factor κB signaling and immune homeostasis. By replacing Gly76 in distal ubiquitin (Ub) by dehydroalanine we designed the diubiquitin (diUb) activity-based probe UbG76Dha-Ub (OTULIN activity-based probe [ABP]) that couples to the catalytic site of OTULIN and thereby captures OTULIN in its active conformation. The OTULIN ABP displays high selectivity for OTULIN and does not label other M1-cleaving DUBs, including CYLD. The only detectable cross-reactivities were the labeling of USP5 (Isopeptidase T) and an ATP-dependent assembly of polyOTULIN ABP chains via Ub-activating E1 enzymes. Both cross-reactivities were abolished by the removal of the C-terminal Gly in the ABP's proximal Ub, yielding the specific OTULIN probe UbG76Dha-UbΔG76 (OTULIN ABPΔG76). Pull-downs demonstrate that substrate-bound OTULIN associates with the linear ubiquitin chain assembly complex (LUBAC). Thus, we present a highly selective ABP for OTULIN that will facilitate studying the cellular function of this essential DUB.
We explored the role of the Krebs cycle enzyme fumarate hydratase (FH) in glucose-stimulated insulin secretion (GSIS). Mice lacking Fh1 in pancreatic β cells (Fh1βKO mice) appear normal for 6-8 weeks but then develop progressive glucose intolerance and diabetes. Glucose tolerance is rescued by expression of mitochondrial or cytosolic FH but not by deletion of Hif1α or Nrf2. Progressive hyperglycemia in Fh1βKO mice led to dysregulated metabolism in β cells, a decrease in glucose-induced ATP production, electrical activity, cytoplasmic [Ca2+]i elevation, and GSIS. Fh1 loss resulted in elevated intracellular fumarate, promoting succination of critical cysteines in GAPDH, GMPR, and PARK 7/DJ-1 and cytoplasmic acidification. Intracellular fumarate levels were increased in islets exposed to high glucose and in islets from human donors with type 2 diabetes (T2D). The impaired GSIS in islets from diabetic Fh1βKO mice was ameliorated after culture under normoglycemic conditions. These studies highlight the role of FH and dysregulated mitochondrial metabolism in T2D.
HIV-1 traffics through dendritic cells (DCs) en route to establishing a productive infection in T lymphocytes but fails to induce an innate immune response. Within DC endosomes, HIV-1 somehow evades detection by the pattern-recognition receptor (PRR) Toll-like receptor 8 (TLR8). Using a phosphoproteomic approach, we identified a robust and diverse signaling cascade triggered by HIV-1 upon entry into human DCs. A secondary siRNA screen of the identified signaling factors revealed several new mediators of HIV-1 trans-infection of CD4+ T cells in DCs, including the dynein motor protein Snapin. Inhibition of Snapin enhanced localization of HIV-1 with TLR8+ early endosomes, triggered a pro-inflammatory response, and inhibited trans-infection of CD4+ T cells. Snapin inhibited TLR8 signaling in the absence of HIV-1 and is a general regulator of endosomal maturation. Thus, we identify a new mechanism of innate immune sensing by TLR8 in DCs, which is exploited by HIV-1 to promote transmission.
Inhibition of the human 2-oxoglutarate (2OG) dependent hypoxia inducible factor (HIF) prolyl hydroxylases (human PHD1-3) causes upregulation of HIF, thus promoting erythropoiesis and is therefore of therapeutic interest. We describe cellular, biophysical, and biochemical studies comparing four PHD inhibitors currently in clinical trials for anaemia treatment, that describe their mechanisms of action, potency against isolated enzymes and in cells, and selectivities versus representatives of other human 2OG oxygenase subfamilies. The 'clinical' PHD inhibitors are potent inhibitors of PHD catalyzed hydroxylation of the HIF-α oxygen dependent degradation domains (ODDs), and selective against most, but not all, representatives of other human 2OG dependent dioxygenase subfamilies. Crystallographic and NMR studies provide insights into the different active site binding modes of the inhibitors. Cell-based results reveal the inhibitors have similar effects on the upregulation of HIF target genes, but differ in the kinetics of their effects and in extent of inhibition of hydroxylation of the N- and C-terminal ODDs; the latter differences correlate with the biophysical observations.
Arginine methylation of histones is one mechanism of epigenetic regulation in eukaryotic cells. Methylarginines can also be found in non-histone proteins involved in various different processes in a cell. An enzyme family of nine protein arginine methyltransferases catalyses the addition of methyl groups on arginines of histone and non-histone proteins, resulting in either mono- or dimethylated-arginine residues. The reversibility of histone modifications is an essential feature of epigenetic regulation to respond to changes in environmental factors, signalling events, or metabolic alterations. Prominent histone modifications like lysine acetylation and lysine methylation are reversible. Enzyme family pairs have been identified, with each pair of lysine acetyltransferases/deacetylases and lysine methyltransferases/demethylases operating complementarily to generate or erase lysine modifications. Several analyses also indicate a reversible nature of arginine methylation, but the enzymes facilitating direct removal of methyl moieties from arginine residues in proteins have been discussed controversially. Differing reports have been seen for initially characterized putative candidates, like peptidyl arginine deiminase 4 or Jumonji-domain containing protein 6. Here, we review the most recent cellular, biochemical, and mass spectrometry work on arginine methylation and its reversible nature with a special focus on putative arginine demethylases, including the enzyme superfamily of Fe(II) and 2-oxoglutarate-dependent oxygenases.
Binding free energy calculations that make use of alchemical pathways are becoming increasingly feasible thanks to advances in hardware and algorithms. Although relative binding free energy (RBFE) calculations are starting to find widespread use, absolute binding free energy (ABFE) calculations are still being explored mainly in academic settings due to the high computational requirements and still uncertain predictive value. However, in some drug design scenarios, RBFE calculations are not applicable and ABFE calculations could provide an alternative. Computationally cheaper end-point calculations in implicit solvent, such as molecular mechanics Poisson-Boltzmann surface area (MMPBSA) calculations, could too be used if one is primarily interested in a relative ranking of affinities. Here, we compare MMPBSA calculations to previously performed absolute alchemical free energy calculations in their ability to correlate with experimental binding free energies for three sets of bromodomain-inhibitor pairs. Different MMPBSA approaches have been considered, including a standard single-trajectory protocol, a protocol that includes a binding entropy estimate, and protocols that take into account the ligand hydration shell. Despite the improvements observed with the latter two MMPBSA approaches, ABFE calculations were found to be overall superior in obtaining correlation with experimental affinities for the test cases considered. A difference in weighted average Pearson ([Formula: see text]) and Spearman ([Formula: see text]) correlations of 0.25 and 0.31 was observed when using a standard single-trajectory MMPBSA setup ([Formula: see text] = 0.64 and [Formula: see text] = 0.66 for ABFE; [Formula: see text] = 0.39 and [Formula: see text] = 0.35 for MMPBSA). The best performing MMPBSA protocols returned weighted average Pearson and Spearman correlations that were about 0.1 inferior to ABFE calculations: [Formula: see text] = 0.55 and [Formula: see text] = 0.56 when including an entropy estimate, and [Formula: see text] = 0.53 and [Formula: see text] = 0.55 when including explicit water molecules. Overall, the study suggests that ABFE calculations are indeed the more accurate approach, yet there is also value in MMPBSA calculations considering the lower compute requirements, and if agreement to experimental affinities in absolute terms is not of interest. Moreover, for the specific protein-ligand systems considered in this study, we find that including an explicit ligand hydration shell or a binding entropy estimate in the MMPBSA calculations resulted in significant performance improvements at a negligible computational cost.
Fully activated innate immune cells are required for effective responses to infection, but their prompt deactivation and removal are essential for limiting tissue damage. Here, we have identified a critical role for the prolyl hydroxylase enzyme Phd2 in maintaining the balance between appropriate, predominantly neutrophil-mediated pathogen clearance and resolution of the innate immune response. We demonstrate that myeloid-specific loss of Phd2 resulted in an exaggerated inflammatory response to Streptococcus pneumonia, with increases in neutrophil motility, functional capacity, and survival. These enhanced neutrophil responses were dependent upon increases in glycolytic flux and glycogen stores. Systemic administration of a HIF-prolyl hydroxylase inhibitor replicated the Phd2-deficient phenotype of delayed inflammation resolution. Together, these data identify Phd2 as the dominant HIF-hydroxylase in neutrophils under normoxic conditions and link intrinsic regulation of glycolysis and glycogen stores to the resolution of neutrophil-mediated inflammatory responses. These results demonstrate the therapeutic potential of targeting metabolic pathways in the treatment of inflammatory disease.
The Toxicology Investigators Consortium (ToxIC) Case Registry was established by the American College of Medical Toxicology in 2010. The Registry contains data from participating sites with the agreement that all bedside medical toxicology consultations will be entered. Currently, 83% of accredited medical toxicology fellowship programs in the USA participate. The Registry continues to grow each year, and as of 31 December 2016, a new milestone was reached, with more than 50,000 cases reported since its inception. The objective of this seventh annual report is to summarize the Registry's 2016 data and activity with its additional 8529 cases. Cases were identified for inclusion in this report by a query of the ToxIC database for any case entered from 1 January to 31 December 2016. Detailed data was collected from these cases and aggregated to provide information which includes the following: demographics (age, gender, race, ethnicity, HIV status), reason for medical toxicology evaluation (intentional pharmaceutical exposure, envenomation, withdrawal from a substance), agent and agent class, clinical signs and symptoms (vital sign abnormalities, organ system dysfunction), treatments and antidotes administered, fatality and life support withdrawal data. Fifty percent of cases involved females, and adults aged 19-65 were the most commonly reported. There were 86 patients (1.0%) with HIV-positive status known. Non-opioid analgesics were the most commonly reported agent class, with acetaminophen the most common agent reported. There were 126 fatalities reported in 2016 (1.5% of cases). Major trends in demographics and exposure characteristics remained similar overall with past years' reports. While treatment interventions were commonly required, fatalities were rare.
Histone acetyltransferases of the MYST family are recruited to chromatin by BRPF scaffolding proteins. We explored functional consequences and the therapeutic potential of inhibitors targeting acetyl-lysine dependent protein interaction domains (bromodomains) present in BRPF1-3 in bone maintenance. We report three potent and selective inhibitors: one (PFI-4) with high selectivity for the BRPF1B isoform and two pan-BRPF bromodomain inhibitors (OF-1, NI-57). The developed inhibitors displaced BRPF bromodomains from chromatin and did not inhibit cell growth and proliferation. Intriguingly, the inhibitors impaired RANKL-induced differentiation of primary murine bone marrow cells and human primary monocytes into bone resorbing osteoclasts by specifically repressing transcriptional programs required for osteoclastogenesis. The data suggest a key role of BRPF in regulating gene expression during osteoclastogenesis, and the excellent druggability of these bromodomains may lead to new treatment strategies for patients suffering from bone loss or osteolytic malignant bone lesions.
Fluorine ligand-based NMR spectroscopy is now an established method for performing binding screening against a macromolecular target. Typically, the transverse relaxation rate of the fluorine signals is monitored in the absence and presence of the target. However, useful structural information can sometimes be obtained from the analysis of the fluorine isotropic chemical shift. This is particularly relevant for molecules that are racemates and/or display multiple conformers. The large difference in fluorine isotropic chemical shift between free and bound state deriving mainly from the breaking and/or making of intramolecular and/or intermolecular hydrogen bonds allows the detection of very weak affinity ligands. According to our experimental results, racemates should always be included in the generation of the fluorinated fragment libraries. The selection or the availability of only one of the enantiomers for the fluorinated screening library could result in missing relevant chemical scaffold motifs.
The bromodomain and plant homeodomain finger-containing (BRPF) family are scaffolding proteins important for the recruitment of histone acetyltransferases of the MYST family to chromatin. Here, we describe NI-57 (16) as new pan-BRPF chemical probe of the bromodomain (BRD) of the BRPFs. Inhibitor 16 preferentially bound the BRD of BRPF1 and BRPF2 over BRPF3, whereas binding to BRD9 was weaker. Compound 16 has excellent selectivity over nonclass IV BRD proteins. Target engagement of BRPF1B and BRPF2 with 16 was demonstrated in nanoBRET and FRAP assays. The binding of 16 to BRPF1B was rationalized through an X-ray cocrystal structure determination, which showed a flipped binding orientation when compared to previous structures. We report studies that show 16 has functional activity in cellular assays by modulation of the phenotype at low micromolar concentrations in both cancer and inflammatory models. Pharmacokinetic data for 16 was generated in mouse with single dose administration showing favorable oral bioavailability.
Aurora kinases play an essential role in mitosis and cell cycle regulation. In recent years Aurora kinases have proved popular cancer targets and many inhibitors have been developed. The majority of these clinical candidates are multi-targeted, rendering them inappropriate as tools for studying Aurora kinase mediated signaling. Here we report discovery of a highly selective inhibitor of Aurora kinases A, B and C, with potent cellular activity and minimal off-target activity (PLK4). The X-ray co-crystal structure of Aurora A in complex with compound 2 is reported, and provides insights into the structural determinants of ligand binding and selectivity.
The oral cavity is home to unique resident microbial communities whose interactions with host immunity are less frequently studied than those of the intestinal microbiome. We examined the stimulatory capacity and the interactions of two oral bacteria, Porphyromonas gingivalis (P. gingivalis) and Fusobacterium nucleatum (F. nucleatum), on Dendritic Cell (DC) activation, comparing them to the effects of the well-studied intestinal microbe Escherichia coli (E. coli). Unlike F. nucleatum and E. coli, P. gingivalis failed to activate DCs, and in fact silenced DC responses induced by F. nucleatum or E. coli. We identified a variant strain of P. gingivalis (W50) that lacked this immunomodulatory activity. Using biochemical approaches and whole genome sequencing to compare the two substrains, we found a point mutation in the hagA gene. This protein is though to be involved in the alteration of the PorSS/gingipain pathway, which regulates protein secretion into the extracellular environment. A proteomic comparison of the secreted products of the two substrains revealed enzymatic differences corresponding to this phenotype. We found that P. gingivalis secretes gingipain(s) that inactivate several key proinflammatory mediators made by DCs and/or T cells, but spare Interleukin-1 (IL-1) and GM-CSF, which can cause capillary leaks that serve as a source of the heme that P. gingivalis requires for its survival, and GM-CSF, which can cause epithelial-cell growth. Taken together, our results suggest that P. gingivalis has evolved potent mechanisms to modulate its virulence factors and dampen the innate immune response by selectively inactivating most proinflammatory cytokines.
Protein kinases are highly tractable targets for drug discovery. However, the biological function and therapeutic potential of the majority of the 500+ human protein kinases remains unknown. We have developed physical and virtual collections of small molecule inhibitors, which we call chemogenomic sets, that are designed to inhibit the catalytic function of almost half the human protein kinases. In this manuscript we share our progress towards generation of a comprehensive kinase chemogenomic set (KCGS), release kinome profiling data of a large inhibitor set (Published Kinase Inhibitor Set 2 (PKIS2)), and outline a process through which the community can openly collaborate to create a KCGS that probes the full complement of human protein kinases.
OBJECTIVE: The prevalence of diabetes mellitus and associated complications is steadily increasing. As a resource for studying systemic consequences of chronic insulin insufficiency and hyperglycemia, we established a comprehensive biobank of long-term diabetic INSC94Y transgenic pigs, a model of mutant INS gene-induced diabetes of youth (MIDY), and of wild-type (WT) littermates. METHODS: Female MIDY pigs (n = 4) were maintained with suboptimal insulin treatment for 2 years, together with female WT littermates (n = 5). Plasma insulin, C-peptide and glucagon levels were regularly determined using specific immunoassays. In addition, clinical chemical, targeted metabolomics, and lipidomics analyses were performed. At age 2 years, all pigs were euthanized, necropsied, and a broad spectrum of tissues was taken by systematic uniform random sampling procedures. Total beta cell volume was determined by stereological methods. A pilot proteome analysis of pancreas, liver, and kidney cortex was performed by label free proteomics. RESULTS: MIDY pigs had elevated fasting plasma glucose and fructosamine concentrations, C-peptide levels that decreased with age and were undetectable at 2 years, and an 82% reduced total beta cell volume compared to WT. Plasma glucagon and beta hydroxybutyrate levels of MIDY pigs were chronically elevated, reflecting hallmarks of poorly controlled diabetes in humans. In total, ∼1900 samples of different body fluids (blood, serum, plasma, urine, cerebrospinal fluid, and synovial fluid) as well as ∼17,000 samples from ∼50 different tissues and organs were preserved to facilitate a plethora of morphological and molecular analyses. Principal component analyses of plasma targeted metabolomics and lipidomics data and of proteome profiles from pancreas, liver, and kidney cortex clearly separated MIDY and WT samples. CONCLUSIONS: The broad spectrum of well-defined biosamples in the Munich MIDY Pig Biobank that will be available to the scientific community provides a unique resource for systematic studies of organ crosstalk in diabetes in a multi-organ, multi-omics dimension.
Myogenic differentiation proceeds through a highly coordinated cascade of gene activation that necessitates epigenomic changes in chromatin structure. Using a screen of small molecule epigenetic probes we identified three compounds which inhibited myogenic differentiation in C2C12 myoblasts; (+)-JQ1, PFI-1, and Bromosporine. These molecules target Bromodomain and Extra Terminal domain (BET) proteins, which are epigenetic readers of acetylated histone lysine tail residues. BETi-mediated anti-myogenic effects were also observed in a model of MYOD1-mediated myogenic conversion of human fibroblasts, and in primary mouse and human myoblasts. All three BET proteins BRD2, BRD3 and BRD4 exhibited distinct and dynamic patterns of protein expression over the course of differentiation without concomitant changes in mRNA levels, suggesting that BET proteins are regulated at the post-transcriptional level. Specific BET protein knockdown by RNA interference revealed that BRD4 was required for myogenic differentiation, whereas BRD3 down-regulation resulted in enhanced myogenic differentiation. ChIP experiments revealed a preferential binding of BRD4 to the Myog promoter during C2C12 myoblast differentiation, co-incident with increased levels of H3K27 acetylation. These results have identified an essential role for BET proteins in the regulation of skeletal myogenesis, and assign distinct functions to BRD3 and BRD4.
Un-physiological activation of hypoxia inducible factor (HIF) is an early event in most renal cell cancers (RCC) following inactivation of the von Hippel-Lindau tumor suppressor. Despite intense study, how this impinges on cancer development is incompletely understood. To test for the impact of genetic signals on this pathway, we aligned human RCC-susceptibility polymorphisms with genome-wide assays of HIF-binding and observed highly significant overlap. Allele-specific assays of HIF binding, chromatin conformation and gene expression together with eQTL analyses in human tumors were applied to mechanistic analysis of one such overlapping site at chromosome 12p12.1. This defined a novel stage-specific mechanism in which the risk polymorphism, rs12814794, directly creates a new HIF-binding site that mediates HIF-1α isoform specific upregulation of its target BHLHE41. The alignment of multiple sites in the HIF cis-acting apparatus with RCC-susceptibility polymorphisms strongly supports a causal model in which minor variation in this pathway exerts significant effects on RCC development.
NEK family kinases are serine/threonine kinases that have been functionally implicated in the regulation of the disjunction of the centrosome, the assembly of the mitotic spindle, the function of the primary cilium and the DNA damage response. NEK1 shows pleiotropic functions and has been found to be mutated in cancer cells, ciliopathies such as the polycystic kidney disease, as well as in the genetic diseases short-rib thoracic dysplasia, Mohr-syndrome and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. NEK1 is essential for the ionizing radiation DNA damage response and priming of the ATR kinase and of Rad54 through phosphorylation. Here we report on the structure of the kinase domain of human NEK1 in its apo- and ATP-mimetic inhibitor bound forms. The inhibitor bound structure may allow the design of NEK specific chemo-sensitizing agents to act in conjunction with chemo- or radiation therapy of cancer cells. Furthermore, we characterized the dynamic protein interactome of NEK1 after DNA damage challenge with cisplatin. Our data suggest that NEK1 and its interaction partners trigger the DNA damage pathways responsible for correcting DNA crosslinks.
Treatment of leishmaniasis involves the use of antimonials, miltefosine, amphotericin B or pentamidine. However, the side effects of these drugs and the reports of drug-resistant parasites demonstrate the need for new treatments that are safer and more efficacious. Histone deacetylase inhibitors are a new class of compounds with potential to treat leishmaniasis. Herein, we evaluated the effects of KH-TFMDI, a novel histone deacetylase inhibitor, on Leishmania amazonensis promastigotes and intracellular amastigotes. The IC50 values of this compound for promastigotes and intracellular amastigotes were 1.976 and 1.148 μM, respectively, after 72 h of treatment. Microscopic analyses revealed that promastigotes became elongated and thinner in response to KH-TFMDI, indicating changes in cytoskeleton organization. Immunofluorescence microscopy, western blotting and flow cytometry using an anti-acetylated tubulin antibody revealed an increase in the expression of acetylated tubulin. Furthermore, transmission electron microscopy revealed several ultrastructural changes, such as (a) mitochondrial swelling, followed by the formation of many vesicles inside the matrix; (b) presence of lipid bodies randomly distributed through the cytoplasm; (c) abnormal chromatin condensation; and (d) formation of blebs on the plasma membrane. Physiological studies for mitochondrial function, flow cytometry with propidium iodide and TUNEL assay confirmed the alterations in the mitochondrial metabolism, cell cycle, and DNA fragmentation, respectively, which could result to cell death by mechanisms related to apoptosis-like. All these together indicate that histone deacetylases are promising targets for the development of new drugs to treat Leishmania, and KH-TFMDI is a promising drug candidate that should be tested in vivo.
Baculoviruses encode a variety of auxiliary proteins that are not essential for viral replication but provide them with a selective advantage in nature. P10 is a 10-kDa auxiliary protein produced in the very late phase of gene transcription by Autographa californica multiple nucleopolyhedrovirus (AcMNPV). The P10 protein forms cytoskeleton-like structures in the host cell that associate with microtubules varying from filamentous forms in the cytoplasm to aggregated perinuclear tubules that form a cage-like structure around the nucleus. These P10 structures may have a role in the release of occlusion bodies (OBs) and thus mediate the horizontal transmission of the virus between insect hosts. Here, using mass spectrometric analysis, it is demonstrated that the C terminus of P10 is phosphorylated during virus infection of cells in culture. Analysis of P10 mutants encoded by recombinant baculoviruses in which putative phosphorylation residues were mutated to alanine showed that serine 93 is a site of phosphorylation. Confocal microscopy examination of the serine 93 mutant structures revealed aberrant formation of the perinuclear tubules. Thus, the phosphorylation of serine 93 may induce the aggregation of filaments to form tubules. Together, these data suggest that the phosphorylation of serine 93 affects the structural conformation of P10.IMPORTANCE The baculovirus P10 protein has been researched intensively since it was first observed in 1969, but its role during viral infection remains unclear. It is conserved in the alphabaculoviruses and expressed at high levels during virus infection. Producing large amounts of a protein is wasteful for the virus unless it is advantageous for the survival of its progeny, and therefore, P10 presents an enigma. As P10 polymerizes to form organized cytoskeletal structures that colocalize with host cell microtubules, the structural relationship of the protein with the host cell may present a key to help understand the function and importance of this protein. This study addresses the importance of the structural changes in P10 during infection and how they may be governed by phosphorylation. The P10 structures affected by phosphorylation are closely associated with the viral progeny and thus may potentially be responsible for its dissemination and survival.
PGAM5 is a mitochondrial membrane protein that functions as an atypical Ser/Thr phosphatase and is a regulator of oxidative stress response, necroptosis, and autophagy. Here we present several crystal structures of PGAM5 including the activating N-terminal regulatory sequences, providing a model for structural plasticity, dimerization of the catalytic domain, and the assembly into an enzymatically active dodecameric form. Oligomeric states observed in structures were supported by hydrogen exchange mass spectrometry, size-exclusion chromatography, and analytical ultracentrifugation experiments in solution. We report that the catalytically important N-terminal WDPNWD motif acts as a structural integrator assembling PGAM5 into a dodecamer, allosterically activating the phosphatase by promoting an ordering of the catalytic loop. Additionally the observed active site plasticity enabled visualization of essential conformational rearrangements of catalytic elements. The comprehensive biophysical characterization offers detailed structural models of this key mitochondrial phosphatase that has been associated with the development of diverse diseases.
Clinical challenges exist in reducing prostate cancer (PCa) disparities. The RNA splicing landscape of PCa across racial populations has not been fully explored as a potential molecular mechanism contributing to race-related tumour aggressiveness. Here, we identify novel genome-wide, race-specific RNA splicing events as critical drivers of PCa aggressiveness and therapeutic resistance in African American (AA) men. AA-enriched splice variants of PIK3CD, FGFR3, TSC2 and RASGRP2 contribute to greater oncogenic potential compared with corresponding European American (EA)-expressing variants. Ectopic overexpression of the newly cloned AA-enriched variant, PIK3CD-S, in EA PCa cell lines enhances AKT/mTOR signalling and increases proliferative and invasive capacity in vitro and confers resistance to selective PI3Kδ inhibitor, CAL-101 (idelalisib), in mouse xenograft models. High PIK3CD-S expression in PCa specimens associates with poor survival. These results highlight the potential of RNA splice variants to serve as novel biomarkers and molecular targets for developmental therapeutics in aggressive PCa.
BACKGROUND: Atherosclerotic plaque rupture is the culprit event which underpins most acute vascular syndromes such as acute myocardial infarction. Novel biomarkers of plaque rupture could improve biological understanding and clinical management of patients presenting with possible acute vascular syndromes but such biomarker(s) remain elusive. Investigation of biomarkers in the context of de novo plaque rupture in humans is confounded by the inability to attribute the plaque rupture as the source of biomarker release, as plaque ruptures are typically associated with prompt down-stream events of myocardial necrosis and systemic inflammation. METHODS: We developed a novel approach to identify potential biomarkers of plaque rupture by integrating plaque imaging, using optical coherence tomography, with both plaque and plasma proteomic analysis in a human model of angioplasty-induced plaque disruption. RESULTS: We compared two pairs of coronary plaque debris, captured by a FilterWire Device, and their corresponding control samples and found matrix metalloproteinase 9 (MMP9) to be significantly enriched in plaque. Plaque contents, as defined by optical coherence tomography, affect the systemic changes of MMP9. Disruption of lipid-rich plaque led to prompt elevation of plasma MMP9, whereas disruption of non-lipid-rich plaque resulted in delayed elevation of plasma MMP9. Systemic MMP9 elevation is independent of the associated myocardial necrosis and systemic inflammation (measured by Troponin I and C-reactive protein, respectively). This information guided the selection of a subset of subjects of for further label free proteomics analysis by liquid chromatography tandem mass spectrometry (LC-MS/MS). We discovered five novel, plaque-enriched proteins (lipopolysaccharide binding protein, Annexin A5, eukaryotic translocation initiation factor, syntaxin 11, cytochrome B5 reductase 3) to be significantly elevated in systemic circulation at 5 min after plaque disruption. CONCLUSION: This novel approach for biomarker discovery in human coronary artery plaque disruption can identify new biomarkers related to human coronary artery plaque composition and disruption.
Adverse side effects of cancer agents are of great concern in the context of childhood tumors where they can reduce the quality of life in young patients and cause life-long adverse effects. Synergistic drug combinations can lessen potential toxic side effects through lower dosing and simultaneously help to overcome drug resistance. Neuroblastoma is the most common cancer in infancy and extremely heterogeneous in clinical presentation and features. Applying a systematic pairwise drug combination screen we observed a highly potent synergy in neuroblastoma cells between the EGFR kinase inhibitor lapatinib and the anticancer compound YM155 that is preserved across several neuroblastoma variants. Mechanistically, the synergy was based on a lapatinib induced inhibition of the multidrug-resistance efflux transporter ABCB1, which is frequently expressed in resistant neuroblastoma cells, which allowed prolonged and elevated cytotoxicity of YM155. In addition, the drug combination (i.e. lapatinib plus YM155) decreased neuroblastoma tumor size in an in vivo model.
Global changes in chromatin accessibility may drive cancer progression by reprogramming transcription factor (TF) binding. In addition, histone acetylation readers such as bromodomain-containing protein 4 (BRD4) have been shown to associate with these TFs and contribute to aggressive cancers including prostate cancer (PC). Here, we show that chromatin accessibility defines castration-resistant prostate cancer (CRPC). We show that the deregulation of androgen receptor (AR) expression is a driver of chromatin relaxation and that AR/androgen-regulated bromodomain-containing proteins (BRDs) mediate this effect. We also report that BRDs are overexpressed in CRPCs and that ATAD2 and BRD2 have prognostic value. Finally, we developed gene stratification signature (BROMO-10) for bromodomain response and PC prognostication, to inform current and future trials with drugs targeting these processes. Our findings provide a compelling rational for combination therapy targeting bromodomains in selected patients in which BRD-mediated TF binding is enhanced or modified as cancer progresses.
Small-molecule drugs may complement antibody-based therapies in an immune-oncology setting, yet systematic methods for the identification and characterization of the immunomodulatory properties of these entities are lacking. We surveyed the immumomodulatory potential of 1,402 small chemical molecules, as defined by their ability to alter the cell-cell interactions among peripheral mononuclear leukocytes ex vivo, using automated microscopy and population-wide single-cell image analysis. Unexpectedly, ∼10% of the agents tested affected these cell-cell interactions differentially. The results accurately recapitulated known immunomodulatory drug classes and revealed several clinically approved drugs that unexpectedly harbor the ability to modulate the immune system, which could potentially contribute to their physiological mechanism of action. For instance, the kinase inhibitor crizotinib promoted T cell interactions with monocytes, as well as with cancer cells, through inhibition of the receptor tyrosine kinase MSTR1 and subsequent upregulation of the expression of major histocompatibility complex molecules. The approach offers an attractive platform for the personalized identification and characterization of immunomodulatory therapeutics.
The retinoblastoma tumor suppressor protein pRb is a master regulator of cellular proliferation, principally through interaction with E2F and regulation of E2F target genes. Here, we describe the H1.2 linker histone as a major pRb interaction partner. We establish that H1.2 and pRb are found in a chromatin-bound complex on diverse E2F target genes. Interrogating the global influence of H1.2 on the genome-wide distribution of pRb indicated that the E2F target genes affected by H1.2 are functionally linked to cell-cycle control, consistent with the ability of H1.2 to hinder cell proliferation and the elevated levels of chromatin-bound H1-pRb complex, which occur in growth-arrested cells. Our results define a network of E2F target genes as susceptible to the regulatory influence of H1.2, where H1.2 augments global association of pRb with chromatin, enhances transcriptional repression by pRb, and facilitates pRb-dependent cell-cycle arrest.
Diabetologia, 60 (6), pp. 1152-1156. | Citations: 5 (Web of Science Lite) | Read more2017. INS-eGFP transgenic pigs: a novel reporter system for studying maturation, growth and vascularisation of neonatal islet-like cell clusters.
Tears of the human supraspinatus tendon are common and often cause painful and debilitating loss of function. Progressive failure of the tendon leading to structural abnormality and tearing is accompanied by numerous cellular and extra-cellular matrix (ECM) changes in the tendon tissue. This proteomics study aimed to compare torn and aged rotator cuff tissue to young and healthy tissue, and provide the first ECM inventory of human supraspinatus tendon generated using label-free quantitative LC-MS/MS. Employing two digestion protocols (trypsin and elastase), we analysed grain-sized tendon supraspinatus biopsies from older patients with torn tendons and from healthy, young controls. Our findings confirm measurable degradation of collagen fibrils and associated proteins in old and torn tendons, suggesting a significant loss of tissue organisation. A particularly marked reduction of cartilage oligomeric matrix protein (COMP) raises the possibility of using changes in levels of this glycoprotein as a marker of abnormal tissue, as previously suggested in horse models. Surprisingly, and despite using an elastase digestion for validation, elastin was not detected, suggesting that it is not highly abundant in human supraspinatus tendon as previously thought. Finally, we identified marked changes to the elastic fibre, fibrillin-rich niche and the pericellular matrix. Further investigation of these regions may yield other potential biomarkers and help to explain detrimental cellular processes associated with tendon ageing and tendinopathy.
Cancer is associated with alterations in epigenetic mechanisms such as histone modifications and methylation of DNA, and inhibitors targeting epigenetic mechanisms represent a novel class of anti-cancer drugs. Neuroendocrine tumors (NETs) of the pancreas (PNETs) and bronchus (BNETs), which may have 5-year survivals of <50% and as low as 5%, respectively, represent targets for such drugs, as >40% of PNETs and ~35% of BNETs have mutations of the multiple endocrine neoplasia type 1 (MEN1) gene, which encodes menin that modifies histones by interacting with histone methyltransferases. We assessed 9 inhibitors of epigenetic pathways, for their effects on proliferation, by CellTiter Blue assay, and apoptosis, by CaspaseGlo assay, using 1 PNET and 2 BNET cell lines. Two inhibitors, referred to as (+)-JQ1 (JQ1) and PFI-1, targeting the bromo and extra terminal (BET) protein family which bind acetylated histone residues, were most effective in decreasing proliferation (by 40-85%, P<0.001) and increasing apoptosis (by 2-3.6 fold, P<0.001) in all 3 NET cell lines. The anti-proliferative effects of JQ1 and PFI-1 remained present for at least 48 hours after removal of the compound. JQ1, but not PFI-1, had cell cycle effects, assessed by propidium iodide staining and flow cytometry, resulting in increased and decreased proportions of NET cells in G1, and S and G2 phases, respectively. RNA Sequencing analysis revealed that these JQ1 effects were associated with increased histone 2B expression, and likely mediated through altered activity of bromodomain-containing (Brd) proteins. Assessment of JQ1 in vivo, using a pancreatic beta cell-specific conditional Men1 knockout mouse model that develops PNETs, revealed that JQ1 significantly reduced proliferation (by ~50%, P<0.0005), assessed by bromodeoxyuridine incorporation, and increased apoptosis (by ~3 fold, P<0.0005), assessed by terminal deoxynucleotidyl transferase dUTP nick end labelling, of PNETs. Thus, our studies demonstrate that BET protein inhibitors may provide new treatments for NETs.
Chemical probes are required for preclinical target validation to interrogate novel biological targets and pathways. Selective inhibitors of the CREB binding protein (CREBBP)/EP300 bromodomains are required to facilitate the elucidation of biology associated with these important epigenetic targets. Medicinal chemistry optimization that paid particular attention to physiochemical properties delivered chemical probes with desirable potency, selectivity, and permeability attributes. An important feature of the optimization process was the successful application of rational structure-based drug design to address bromodomain selectivity issues (particularly against the structurally related BRD4 protein).
We describe the construction of a DNA-encoded chemical library comprising 148 135 members, generated through the self-assembly of two sub-libraries, containing 265 and 559 members, respectively. The library was designed to contain building blocks potentially capable of forming covalent interactions with target proteins. Selections performed with JNK1, a kinase containing a conserved cysteine residue close to the ATP binding site, revealed the preferential enrichment of a 2-phenoxynicotinic acid moiety (building block A82) and a 4-(3,4-difluorophenyl)-4-oxobut-2-enoic acid moiety (building block B272). When the two compounds were joined by a short PEG linker, the resulting bidentate binder (A82-L-B272) was able to covalently modify JNK1 in the presence of a large molar excess of glutathione (0.5 mm), used to simulate intracellular reducing conditions. By contrast, derivatives of the individual building blocks were not able to covalently modify JNK1 in the same experimental conditions. The A82-L-B272 ligand was selective over related kinases (BTK and GAK), which also contain targetable cysteine residues in the vicinity of the active site.
Fragile X syndrome (FXS) is the most common cause of heritable intellectual disability and autism and affects ~1 in 4000 males and 1 in 8000 females. The discovery of effective treatments for FXS has been hampered by the lack of effective animal models and phenotypic readouts for drug screening. FXS ensues from the epigenetic silencing or loss-of-function mutation of the fragile X mental retardation 1 (FMR1) gene, which encodes an RNA binding protein that associates with and represses the translation of target mRNAs. We previously found that the activation of LIM kinase 1 (LIMK1) downstream of augmented synthesis of bone morphogenetic protein (BMP) type 2 receptor (BMPR2) promotes aberrant synaptic development in mouse and Drosophila models of FXS and that these molecular and cellular markers were correlated in patients with FXS. We report that larval locomotion is augmented in a Drosophila FXS model. Genetic or pharmacological intervention on the BMPR2-LIMK pathway ameliorated the synaptic abnormality and locomotion phenotypes of FXS larvae, as well as hyperactivity in an FXS mouse model. Our study demonstrates that (i) the BMPR2-LIMK pathway is a promising therapeutic target for FXS and (ii) the locomotion phenotype of FXS larvae is a quantitative functional readout for the neuromorphological phenotype associated with FXS and is amenable to the screening novel FXS therapeutics.
Elife, 6 | Citations: 5 (European Pubmed Central) | Read more2017. Correction: PCGF6-PRC1 suppresses premature differentiation of mouse embryonic stem cells by regulating germ cell-related genes.
Bromodomains (BD) are readers of lysine acetylation marks present in numerous proteins associated with chromatin. Here we describe a dual inhibitor of the bromodomain and PHD finger (BRPF) family member BRPF2 and the TATA box binding protein-associated factors TAF1 and TAF1L. These proteins are found in large chromatin complexes and play important roles in transcription regulation. The substituted benzoisoquinolinedione series was identified by high-throughput screening, and subsequent structure-activity relationship optimization allowed generation of low nanomolar BRPF2 BD inhibitors with strong selectivity against BRPF1 and BRPF3 BDs. In addition, a strong inhibition of TAF1/TAF1L BD2 was measured for most derivatives. The best compound of the series was BAY-299, which is a very potent, dual inhibitor with an IC50 of 67 nM for BRPF2 BD, 8 nM for TAF1 BD2, and 106 nM for TAF1L BD2. Importantly, no activity was measured for BRD4 BDs. Furthermore, cellular activity was evidenced using a BRPF2- or TAF1-histone H3.3 or H4 interaction assay.
The JmjC histone demethylases (KDMs) are linked to tumour cell proliferation and are current cancer targets; however, very few highly selective inhibitors for these are available. Here we report cyclic peptide inhibitors of the KDM4A-C with selectivity over other KDMs/2OG oxygenases, including closely related KDM4D/E isoforms. Crystal structures and biochemical analyses of one of the inhibitors (CP2) with KDM4A reveals that CP2 binds differently to, but competes with, histone substrates in the active site. Substitution of the active site binding arginine of CP2 to N-ɛ-trimethyl-lysine or methylated arginine results in cyclic peptide substrates, indicating that KDM4s may act on non-histone substrates. Targeted modifications to CP2 based on crystallographic and mass spectrometry analyses results in variants with greater proteolytic robustness. Peptide dosing in cells manifests KDM4A target stabilization. Although further development is required to optimize cellular activity, the results reveal the feasibility of highly selective non-metal chelating, substrate-competitive inhibitors of the JmjC KDMs.
The tumor suppressor p53 is widely dysregulated in cancer and represents an attractive target for immunotherapy. Because of its intracellular localization, p53 is inaccessible to classical therapeutic monoclonal antibodies, an increasingly successful class of anticancer drugs. However, peptides derived from intracellular antigens are presented on the cell surface in the context of MHC I and can be bound by T-cell receptors (TCR). Here, we report the development of a novel antibody, T1-116C, that acts as a TCR mimic to recognize an HLA-A*0201-presented wild-type p53 T-cell epitope, p5365-73(RMPEAAPPV). The antibody recognizes a wide range of cancers, does not bind normal peripheral blood mononuclear cells, and can activate immune effector functions to kill cancer cells in vitroIn vivo, the antibody targets p5365-73 peptide-expressing breast cancer xenografts, significantly inhibiting tumor growth. This represents a promising new agent for future cancer immunotherapy. Cancer Res; 77(10); 2699-711. ©2017 AACR.
The MRE11/RAD50/NBS1 (MRN) complex mediates DNA repair pathways, including double-strand breaks induced by radiotherapy. Meiotic recombination 11 homolog (MRE11) is downregulated by histone deacetylase inhibition (HDACi), resulting in reduced levels of DNA repair in bladder cancer cells and radiosensitization. In this study, we show that the mechanism of this downregulation is posttranslational and identify a C-terminally truncated MRE11, which is formed after HDAC inhibition as full-length MRE11 is downregulated. Truncated MRE11 was stabilized by proteasome inhibition, exhibited a decreased half-life after treatment with panobinostat, and therefore represents a newly identified intermediate induced and degraded in response to HDAC inhibition. The E3 ligase cellular inhibitor of apoptosis protein 2 (cIAP2) was upregulated in response to HDAC inhibition and was validated as a new MRE11 binding partner whose upregulation had similar effects to HDAC inhibition. cIAP2 overexpression resulted in downregulation and altered ubiquitination patterns of MRE11 and mediated radiosensitization in response to HDAC inhibition. These results highlight cIAP2 as a player in the DNA damage response as a posttranscriptional regulator of MRE11 and identify cIAP2 as a potential target for biomarker discovery or chemoradiation strategies in bladder cancer. Cancer Res; 77(11); 3027-39. ©2017 AACR.
The ring finger protein PCGF6 (polycomb group ring finger 6) interacts with RING1A/B and E2F6 associated factors to form a non-canonical PRC1 (polycomb repressive complex 1) known as PCGF6-PRC1. Here, we demonstrate that PCGF6-PRC1 plays a role in repressing a subset of PRC1 target genes by recruiting RING1B and mediating downstream mono-ubiquitination of histone H2A. PCGF6-PRC1 bound loci are highly enriched for promoters of germ cell-related genes in mouse embryonic stem cells (ESCs). Conditional ablation of Pcgf6 in ESCs leads to robust de-repression of such germ cell-related genes, in turn affecting cell growth and viability. We also find a role for PCGF6 in pre- and peri-implantation mouse embryonic development. We further show that a heterodimer of the transcription factors MAX and MGA recruits PCGF6 to target loci. PCGF6 thus links sequence specific target recognition by the MAX/MGA complex to PRC1-dependent transcriptional silencing of germ cell-specific genes in pluripotent stem cells.
Investigation into the regulation of the erythropoietin gene by oxygen led to the discovery of a process of direct oxygen sensing that transduces many cellular and systemic responses to hypoxia. The oxygen-sensitive signal is generated through the catalytic action of a series of 2-oxoglutarate-dependent oxygenases that regulate the transcription factor hypoxia-inducible factor (HIF) by the post-translational hydroxylation of specific amino acid residues. Here we review the implications of the unforeseen complexity of the HIF transcriptional cascade for the physiology and pathophysiology of hypoxia, and consider the origins of post-translational hydroxylation as a signaling process.
The "Hypoxia Nantes 2016" organized its second conference dedicated to the field of hypoxia research. This conference focused on "the role of hypoxia under physiological conditions as well as in cancer" and took place in Nantes, France, in October 6-7, 2016. The main objective of this conference was to bring together a large group of scientists from different spheres of hypoxia. Recent advances were presented and discussed around different topics: genomics, physiology, musculoskeletal, stem cells, microenvironment and cancer, and oxidative stress. This review summarizes the major highlights of the meeting.
Circulating endothelial colony forming cells (ECFCs) contribute to vascular repair where they are a target for therapy. Since ECFC proliferative potential is increased in cord versus peripheral blood and to define regulatory factors controlling this proliferation, we compared the miRNA profiles of cord blood and peripheral blood ECFC-derived cells. Of the top 25 differentially regulated miRNAs selected, 22 were more highly expressed in peripheral blood ECFC-derived cells. After validating candidate miRNAs by q-RT-PCR, we selected miR-193a-3p for further investigation. The miR-193a-3p mimic reduced cord blood ECFC-derived cell proliferation, migration and vascular tubule formation, while the miR-193a-3p inhibitor significantly enhanced these parameters in peripheral blood ECFC-derived cells. Using in silico miRNA target database analyses combined with proteome arrays and luciferase reporter assays of miR-193a-3p mimic treated cord blood ECFC-derived cells, we identified 2 novel miR-193a-3p targets, the high mobility group box-1 (HMGB1) and the hypoxia upregulated-1 (HYOU1) gene products. HMGB1 silencing in cord blood ECFC-derived cells confirmed its role in regulating vascular function. Thus, we show, for the first time, that miR-193a-3p negatively regulates human ECFC vasculo/angiogenesis and propose that antagonising miR-193a-3p in less proliferative and less angiogenic ECFC-derived cells will enhance their vasculo/angiogenic function.
Methylation of lysine residues on histone tail is a dynamic epigenetic modification that plays a key role in chromatin structure and gene regulation. Members of the KDM5 (also known as JARID1) sub-family are 2-oxoglutarate (2-OG) and Fe2+-dependent oxygenases acting as histone 3 lysine 4 trimethyl (H3K4me3) demethylases, regulating proliferation, stem cell self-renewal, and differentiation. Here we present the characterization of KDOAM-25, an inhibitor of KDM5 enzymes. KDOAM-25 shows biochemical half maximal inhibitory concentration values of <100 nM for KDM5A-D in vitro, high selectivity toward other 2-OG oxygenases sub-families, and no off-target activity on a panel of 55 receptors and enzymes. In human cell assay systems, KDOAM-25 has a half maximal effective concentration of ∼50 μM and good selectivity toward other demethylases. KDM5B is overexpressed in multiple myeloma and negatively correlated with the overall survival. Multiple myeloma MM1S cells treated with KDOAM-25 show increased global H3K4 methylation at transcriptional start sites and impaired proliferation.
Ribosomal protein (RP) gene mutations, mostly associated with inherited or acquired bone marrow failure, are believed to drive disease by slowing the rate of protein synthesis. Here de novo missense mutations in the RPS23 gene, which codes for uS12, are reported in two unrelated individuals with microcephaly, hearing loss, and overlapping dysmorphic features. One individual additionally presents with intellectual disability and autism spectrum disorder. The amino acid substitutions lie in two highly conserved loop regions of uS12 with known roles in maintaining the accuracy of mRNA codon translation. Primary cells revealed one substitution severely impaired OGFOD1-dependent hydroxylation of a neighboring proline residue resulting in 40S ribosomal subunits that were blocked from polysome formation. The other disrupted a predicted pi-pi stacking interaction between two phenylalanine residues leading to a destabilized uS12 that was poorly tolerated in 40S subunit biogenesis. Despite no evidence of a reduction in the rate of mRNA translation, these uS12 variants impaired the accuracy of mRNA translation and rendered cells highly sensitive to oxidative stress. These discoveries describe a ribosomopathy linked to uS12 and reveal mechanistic distinctions between RP gene mutations driving hematopoietic disease and those resulting in developmental disorders.
BACKGROUND: Histone lysine demethylases (KDMs) are of interest as drug targets due to their regulatory roles in chromatin organization and their tight associations with diseases including cancer and mental disorders. The first KDM inhibitors for KDM1 have entered clinical trials, and efforts are ongoing to develop potent, selective and cell-active 'probe' molecules for this target class. Robust cellular assays to assess the specific engagement of KDM inhibitors in cells as well as their cellular selectivity are a prerequisite for the development of high-quality inhibitors. Here we describe the use of a high-content cellular immunofluorescence assay as a method for demonstrating target engagement in cells. RESULTS: A panel of assays for the Jumonji C subfamily of KDMs was developed to encompass all major branches of the JmjC phylogenetic tree. These assays compare compound activity against wild-type KDM proteins to a catalytically inactive version of the KDM, in which residues involved in the active-site iron coordination are mutated to inactivate the enzyme activity. These mutants are critical for assessing the specific effect of KDM inhibitors and for revealing indirect effects on histone methylation status. The reported assays make use of ectopically expressed demethylases, and we demonstrate their use to profile several recently identified classes of KDM inhibitors and their structurally matched inactive controls. The generated data correlate well with assay results assessing endogenous KDM inhibition and confirm the selectivity observed in biochemical assays with isolated enzymes. We find that both cellular permeability and competition with 2-oxoglutarate affect the translation of biochemical activity to cellular inhibition. CONCLUSIONS: High-content-based immunofluorescence assays have been established for eight KDM members of the 2-oxoglutarate-dependent oxygenases covering all major branches of the JmjC-KDM phylogenetic tree. The usage of both full-length, wild-type and catalytically inactive mutant ectopically expressed protein, as well as structure-matched inactive control compounds, allowed for detection of nonspecific effects causing changes in histone methylation as a result of compound toxicity. The developed assays offer a histone lysine demethylase family-wide tool for assessing KDM inhibitors for cell activity and on-target efficacy. In addition, the presented data may inform further studies to assess the cell-based activity of histone lysine methylation inhibitors.
AIMS: To analyse the effectiveness of debridement and implant retention (DAIR) in patients with hip periprosthetic joint infection (PJI) and the relationship to patient characteristics. The outcome was evaluated in hips with confirmed PJI and a follow-up of not less than two years. PATIENTS AND METHODS: Patients in whom DAIR was performed were identified from our hip arthroplasty register (between 2004 and 2013). Adherence to criteria for DAIR was assessed according to a previously published algorithm. RESULTS: DAIR was performed as part of a curative procedure in 46 hips in 42 patients. The mean age was 73.2 years (44.6 to 87.7), including 20 women and 22 men. In 34 hips in 32 patients (73.9%), PJI was confirmed. In 12 hips, the criteria for PJI were not fulfilled and antibiotics stopped. In 41 (89.1%) of all hips and in 32 (94.1%) of the confirmed PJIs, all criteria for DAIR were fulfilled. In patients with exogenous PJI, DAIR was performed not more than three days after referral. In haematogenous infections, the duration of symptoms did not exceed 21 days. In 28 hips, a single debridement and in six hips two surgical debridements were required. In 28 (87.5%) of 32 patients, the total treatment duration was three months. Failure was noted in three hips (9%). Long-term follow-up results (mean 4.0 years, 1.4 to 10) were available in 30 of 34 (88.2%) confirmed PJIs. The overall successful outcome rate was 91% in 34 hips, and 90% in 30 hips with long-term follow-up results. CONCLUSION: Prompt surgical treatment with DAIR, following strict diagnostic and therapeutic criteria, in patients with suspected periprosthetic joint infection, can lead to high rates of success in eradicating the infection. Cite this article: Bone Joint J 2017;99-B:330-6.
The PIM family of serine/threonine kinases have become an attractive target for anti-cancer drug development, particularly for certain hematological malignancies. Here, we describe the discovery of a series of inhibitors of the PIM kinase family using a high throughput screening strategy. Through a combination of molecular modeling and optimization studies, the intrinsic potencies and molecular properties of this series of compounds was significantly improved. An excellent pan-PIM isoform inhibition profile was observed across the series, while optimized examples show good selectivity over other kinases. Two PIM-expressing leukemic cancer cell lines, MV4-11 and K562, were employed to evaluate the in vitro anti-proliferative effects of selected inhibitors. Encouraging activities were observed for many examples, with the best example (44) giving an IC50 of 0.75μM against the K562 cell line. These data provide a promising starting point for further development of this series as a new cancer therapy through PIM kinase inhibition.
The "deep" proteome has been accessible by mass spectrometry for some time. However, the number of proteins identified in cells of the same type has plateaued at ∼8000-10 000 without ID transfer from reference proteomes/data. Moreover, limited sequence coverage hampers the discrimination of protein isoforms when using trypsin as standard protease. Multienzyme approaches appear to improve sequence coverage and subsequent isoform discrimination. Here we expanded proteome and protein sequence coverage in MCF-7 breast cancer cells to an as yet unmatched depth by employing a workflow that addresses current limitations in deep proteome analysis in multiple stages: We used (i) gel-aided sample preparation (GASP) and combined trypsin/elastase digests to increase peptide orthogonality, (ii) concatenated high-pH prefractionation, and (iii) CHarge Ordered Parallel Ion aNalysis (CHOPIN), available on an Orbitrap Fusion (Lumos) mass spectrometer, to achieve 57% median protein sequence coverage in 13 728 protein groups (8949 Unigene IDs) in a single cell line. CHOPIN allows the use of both detectors in the Orbitrap on predefined precursor types that optimizes parallel ion processing, leading to the identification of a total of 179 549 unique peptides covering the deep proteome in unprecedented detail.
Serine/arginine-protein kinase 1 (SRPK1) regulates alternative splicing of VEGF-A to pro-angiogenic isoforms and SRPK1 inhibition can restore the balance of pro/antiangiogenic isoforms to normal physiological levels. The lack of potency and selectivity of available compounds has limited development of SRPK1 inhibitors, with the control of alternative splicing by splicing factor-specific kinases yet to be translated. We present here compounds that occupy a binding pocket created by the unique helical insert of SRPK1, and trigger a backbone flip in the hinge region, that results in potent (<10 nM) and selective inhibition of SRPK1 kinase activity. Treatment with these inhibitors inhibited SRPK1 activity and phosphorylation of serine/arginine splicing factor 1 (SRSF1), resulting in alternative splicing of VEGF-A from pro-angiogenic to antiangiogenic isoforms. This property resulted in potent inhibition of blood vessel growth in models of choroidal angiogenesis in vivo. This work identifies tool compounds for splice isoform selective targeting of pro-angiogenic VEGF, which may lead to new therapeutic strategies for a diversity of diseases where dysfunctional splicing drives disease development.
Pathological alterations in cell functions are frequently accompanied by metabolic reprogramming including modifications in amino acid metabolism. Amino acid detection is thus integral to the diagnosis of many hereditary metabolic diseases. The development of malignant diseases as metabolic disorders comes along with a complex dysregulation of genetic and epigenetic factors affecting metabolic enzymes. Cancer cells might transiently or permanently become auxotrophic for non-essential or semi-essential amino acids such as asparagine or arginine. Also, transformed cells are often more susceptible to local shortage of essential amino acids such as methionine than normal tissues. This offers new points of attacking unique metabolic features in cancer cells. To better understand these processes, highly sensitive methods for amino acid detection and quantification are required. Our review summarizes the main methodologies for amino acid detection with a particular focus on applications in biomedicine and cancer, provides a historical overview of the methodological pre-requisites in amino acid analytics. We compare classical and modern approaches such as the combination of gas chromatography and liquid chromatography with mass spectrometry (GC-MS/LC-MS). The latter is increasingly applied in clinical routine. We therefore illustrate an LC-MS workflow for analyzing arginine and methionine as well as their precursors and analogs in biological material. Pitfalls during protocol development are discussed, but LC-MS emerges as a reliable and sensitive tool for the detection of amino acids in biological matrices. Quantification is challenging, but of particular interest in cancer research as targeting arginine and methionine turnover in cancer cells represent novel treatment strategies.
Nat Chem Biol, 13 (2), pp. 133-134. | Citations: 2 (European Pubmed Central) | Read more2017. Target engagement: Shining a light.
The redox co-factor tetrahydrobiopterin (BH4) regulates nitric oxide (NO) and reactive oxygen species (ROS) production by endothelial NOS (eNOS) and is an important redox-dependent signalling molecule in the endothelium. Loss of endothelial BH4 is observed in cardiovascular disease (CVD) states and results in decreased NO and increased superoxide (O2-) generation via eNOS uncoupling. Genetic mouse models of augmented endothelial BH4 synthesis have shown proof of concept that endothelial BH4 can alter CVD pathogenesis. However, clinical trials of BH4 therapy in vascular disease have been limited by systemic oxidation, highlighting the need to explore the wider roles of BH4 to find novel therapeutic targets. In this study, we aimed to elucidate the effects of BH4 deficiency on mitochondrial function and bioenergetics using targeted knockdown of the BH4 synthetic enzyme, GTP Cyclohydrolase I (GTPCH). Knockdown of GTPCH by >90% led to marked loss of cellular BH4 and a striking induction of O2- generation in the mitochondria of murine endothelial cells. This effect was likewise observed in BH4-depleted fibroblasts devoid of NOS, indicating a novel NOS-independent role for BH4 in mitochondrial redox signalling. Moreover, this BH4-dependent, mitochondria-derived ROS further oxidised mitochondrial BH4, concomitant with changes in the thioredoxin and glutathione antioxidant pathways. These changes were accompanied by a modest increase in mitochondrial size, mildly attenuated basal respiratory function, and marked changes in the mitochondrial proteome and cellular metabolome, including the accumulation of the TCA intermediate succinate. Taken together, these data reveal a novel NOS-independent role for BH4 in the regulation of mitochondrial redox signalling and bioenergetic metabolism.
The p300/CBP-associated factor (PCAF) and related GCN5 bromodomain-containing lysine acetyl transferases are members of subfamily I of the bromodomain phylogenetic tree. Iterative cycles of rational inhibitor design and biophysical characterization led to the discovery of the triazolopthalazine-based L-45 (dubbed L-Moses) as the first potent, selective, and cell-active PCAF bromodomain (Brd) inhibitor. Synthesis from readily available (1R,2S)-(-)-norephedrine furnished L-45 in enantiopure form. L-45 was shown to disrupt PCAF-Brd histone H3.3 interaction in cells using a nanoBRET assay, and a co-crystal structure of L-45 with the homologous Brd PfGCN5 from Plasmodium falciparum rationalizes the high selectivity for PCAF and GCN5 bromodomains. Compound L-45 shows no observable cytotoxicity in peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMC), good cell-permeability, and metabolic stability in human and mouse liver microsomes, supporting its potential for in vivo use.
The BRPF (bromodomain and PHD finger-containing) family are scaffolding proteins important for the recruitment of histone acetyltransferases of the MYST family to chromatin. Evaluation of the BRPF family as a potential drug target is at an early stage although there is an emerging understanding of a role in acute myeloid leukemia (AML). We report the optimization of fragment hit 5b to 13-d as a biased, potent inhibitor of the BRD of the BRPFs with excellent selectivity over nonclass IV BRD proteins. Evaluation of 13-d in a panel of cancer cell lines showed a selective inhibition of proliferation of a subset of AML lines. Pharmacokinetic studies established that 13-d had properties compatible with oral dosing in mouse models of disease (Fpo 49%). We propose that NI-42 (13-d) is a new chemical probe for the BRPFs suitable for cellular and in vivo studies to explore the fundamental biology of these proteins.
Two-dimensional gas chromatography mass spectrometry (GCxGC-MS) is utilized to an increasing extent in biomedical metabolomics. Here, we established and adapted metabolite extraction and derivatization protocols for cell/tissue biopsy, serum and urine samples according to their individual properties. GCxGC-MS analysis revealed detection of ~600 molecular features from which 165 were characterized representing different classes such as amino acids, fatty acids, lipids, carbohydrates, nucleotides and small polar components of glycolysis and the Krebs cycle using electron impact (EI) spectrum matching and validation using external standard compounds. Advantages of two-dimensional gas chromatography based resolution were demonstrated by optimizing gradient length and separation through modulation between the first and second column, leading to a marked increase in metabolite identification due to improved separation as exemplified for lactate versus pyruvate, talopyranose versus methyl palmitate and inosine versus docosahexaenoic acid. Our results demonstrate that GCxGC-MS represents a robust metabolomics platform for discovery and targeted studies that can be used with samples derived from the clinic.
In model organisms, classical genetic screening via random mutagenesis provides key insights into the molecular bases of genetic interactions, helping to define synthetic lethality, synthetic viability and drug-resistance mechanisms. The limited genetic tractability of diploid mammalian cells, however, precludes this approach. Here, we demonstrate the feasibility of classical genetic screening in mammalian systems by using haploid cells, chemical mutagenesis and next-generation sequencing, providing a new tool to explore mammalian genetic interactions.
Posttranslational modification of proteins with the small ubiquitin-like modifier (SUMO) regulates protein function in the context of cell cycle and DNA repair. The occurrence of SUMOylation is less frequent as compared to protein modification with ubiquitin, and appears to be controlled by a smaller pool of conjugating and deconjugating enzymes. Mass spectrometry has been instrumental in defining specific as well as proteome-wide views of SUMO-dependent biological processes, and several methodological approaches have been developed in the recent past. Here, we provide an overview of the latest experimental approaches to the study of SUMOylation, and also describe hands-on protocols using a combination of biochemistry and mass spectrometry-based technologies to profile proteins that are SUMOylated in human cells.
Improvements in survival for Ewing sarcoma pediatric and adolescent patients have been modest over the past 20 years. Combinations of anticancer agents endure as an option to overcome resistance to single treatments caused by compensatory pathways. Moreover, combinations are thought to lessen any associated adverse side effects through reduced dosing, which is particularly important in childhood tumors. Using a parallel phenotypic combinatorial screening approach of cells derived from three pediatric tumor types, we identified Ewing sarcoma-specific interactions of a diverse set of targeted agents including approved drugs. We were able to retrieve highly synergistic drug combinations specific for Ewing sarcoma and identified signaling processes important for Ewing sarcoma cell proliferation determined by EWS-FLI1 We generated a molecular target profile of PKC412, a multikinase inhibitor with strong synergistic propensity in Ewing sarcoma, revealing its targets in critical Ewing sarcoma signaling routes. Using a multilevel experimental approach including quantitative phosphoproteomics, we analyzed the molecular rationale behind the disease-specific synergistic effect of simultaneous application of PKC412 and IGF1R inhibitors. The mechanism of the drug synergy between these inhibitors is different from the sum of the mechanisms of the single agents. The combination effectively inhibited pathway crosstalk and averted feedback loop repression, in EWS-FLI1-dependent manner. Mol Cancer Ther; 16(1); 88-101. ©2016 AACR.
Supported lipid bilayers (SLB) formed on glass substrates have been a useful tool for study of immune cell signaling since the early 1980s. The mobility of lipid-anchored proteins in the system, first described for antibodies binding to synthetic phospholipid head groups, allows for the measurement of two-dimensional binding reactions and signaling processes in a single imaging plane over time or for fixed samples. The fragility of SLB and the challenges of building and validating individual substrates limit most experimenters to ~10 samples per day, perhaps increasing this few-fold when examining fixed samples. Successful experiments might then require further days to fully analyze. We present methods for automation of many steps in SLB formation, imaging in 96-well glass bottom plates, and analysis that enables >100-fold increase in throughput for fixed samples and wide-field fluorescence. This increased throughput will allow better coverage of relevant parameters and more comprehensive analysis of aspects of the immunological synapse that are well reconstituted by SLB.
Binding selectivity is a requirement for the development of a safe drug, and it is a critical property for chemical probes used in preclinical target validation. Engineering selectivity adds considerable complexity to the rational design of new drugs, as it involves the optimization of multiple binding affinities. Computationally, the prediction of binding selectivity is a challenge, and generally applicable methodologies are still not available to the computational and medicinal chemistry communities. Absolute binding free energy calculations based on alchemical pathways provide a rigorous framework for affinity predictions and could thus offer a general approach to the problem. We evaluated the performance of free energy calculations based on molecular dynamics for the prediction of selectivity by estimating the affinity profile of three bromodomain inhibitors across multiple bromodomain families, and by comparing the results to isothermal titration calorimetry data. Two case studies were considered. In the first one, the affinities of two similar ligands for seven bromodomains were calculated and returned excellent agreement with experiment (mean unsigned error of 0.81 kcal/mol and Pearson correlation of 0.75). In this test case, we also show how the preferred binding orientation of a ligand for different proteins can be estimated via free energy calculations. In the second case, the affinities of a broad-spectrum inhibitor for 22 bromodomains were calculated and returned a more modest accuracy (mean unsigned error of 1.76 kcal/mol and Pearson correlation of 0.48); however, the reparametrization of a sulfonamide moiety improved the agreement with experiment.
Alternative splicing plays an important role in the regulation of protein biosynthesis. CDC2-like kinases (CLKs) phosphorylate splicing factors rendering them a potential target for treating diseases caused by splicing dysregulation. As selective and potent inhibitors of CLK1 are still lacking, a fragment-linking based virtual screening campaign was successfully applied to identify new inhibitors showing activity on CLK1. These inhibitors exhibit a novel 2,4-substituted 1,3-thiazole scaffold that is suitable for further modification. A subsequently performed docking and protein structure based analysis revealed first hints for inhibitors showing preferred binding activity for CLK1 and DYRK2 over other splicing kinases.
Bromodomain-containing protein 4 (BRD4) is a member of the bromo- and extraterminal (BET) domain-containing family of epigenetic readers which is under intensive investigation as a target for anti-tumor therapy. BRD4 plays a central role in promoting the expression of select subsets of genes including many driven by oncogenic transcription factors and signaling pathways. However, the role of BRD4 and the effects of BET inhibitors in non-transformed cells remain mostly unclear. We demonstrate that BRD4 is required for the maintenance of a basal epithelial phenotype by regulating the expression of epithelial-specific genes including TP63 and Grainy Head-like transcription factor-3 (GRHL3) in non-transformed basal-like mammary epithelial cells. Moreover, BRD4 occupancy correlates with enhancer activity and enhancer RNA (eRNA) transcription. Motif analyses of cell context-specific BRD4-enriched regions predicted the involvement of FOXO transcription factors. Consistently, activation of FOXO1 function via inhibition of EGFR-AKT signaling promoted the expression of TP63 and GRHL3. Moreover, activation of Src kinase signaling and FOXO1 inhibition decreased the expression of FOXO/BRD4 target genes. Together, our findings support a function for BRD4 in promoting basal mammary cell epithelial differentiation, at least in part, by regulating FOXO factor function on enhancers to activate TP63 and GRHL3 expression.
Lysine acetylation is becoming increasingly recognized as a general biological principle in cellular homeostasis, and is subject to abnormal control in different human pathologies. Here, we describe a global effect on amyloid-like protein aggregation in human cells that results from aberrant lysine acetylation. Bromodomain reader proteins are involved in the aggregation process and, using chemical biology and gene silencing, we establish that p300/CBP bromodomains are necessary for aggregation to occur. Moreover, protein aggregation disturbs proteostasis by impairing the ubiquitin proteasome system (UPS) and protein translation, resulting in decreased cell viability. p300/CBP bromodomain inhibitors impede aggregation, which coincides with enhanced UPS function and increased cell viability. Aggregation of a pathologically relevant form of huntingtin protein is similarly affected by p300/CBP inhibition. Our results have implications for understanding the molecular basis of protein aggregation, and highlight the possibility of treating amyloid-like pathologies and related protein folding diseases with bromodomain inhibitor-based strategies.
Type 1 diabetes is characterized by the destruction of pancreatic β cells, and generating new insulin-producing cells from other cell types is a major aim of regenerative medicine. One promising approach is transdifferentiation of developmentally related pancreatic cell types, including glucagon-producing α cells. In a genetic model, loss of the master regulatory transcription factor Arx is sufficient to induce the conversion of α cells to functional β-like cells. Here, we identify artemisinins as small molecules that functionally repress Arx by causing its translocation to the cytoplasm. We show that the protein gephyrin is the mammalian target of these antimalarial drugs and that the mechanism of action of these molecules depends on the enhancement of GABAA receptor signaling. Our results in zebrafish, rodents, and primary human pancreatic islets identify gephyrin as a druggable target for the regeneration of pancreatic β cell mass from α cells.
Purpose: The bromodomain and extra-terminal domain (BET) family proteins are epigenetic readers for acetylated histone marks. Emerging BET bromodomain inhibitors have exhibited antineoplastic activities in a wide range of human cancers through suppression of oncogenic transcription factors, including MYC. However, the preclinical activities of BET inhibitors in advanced solid cancers are moderate at best. To improve BET-targeted therapy, we interrogated mechanisms mediating resistance to BET inhibitors in colorectal cancer.Experimental Design: Using a panel of molecularly defined colorectal cancer cell lines, we examined the impact of BET inhibition on cellular proliferation and survival as well as MYC activity. We further tested the ability of inhibitors targeting the RAF/MEK/ERK (MAPK) pathway to enhance MYC suppression and circumvent intrinsic resistance to BET inhibitors. Key findings were validated using genetic approaches.Results: BET inhibitors as monotherapy moderately reduced colorectal cancer cell proliferation and MYC expression. Blockade of the MAPK pathway synergistically sensitized colorectal cancer cells to BET inhibitors, leading to potent apoptosis and MYC downregulation in vitro and in vivo A combination of JQ1 and trametinib, but neither agent alone, induced significant regression of subcutaneous colorectal cancer xenografts.Conclusions: Our findings suggest that the MAPK pathway confers intrinsic resistance to BET inhibitors in colorectal cancer and propose an effective combination strategy for the treatment of colorectal cancer. Clin Cancer Res; 23(8); 2027-37. ©2016 AACR.
Proper temporal epigenetic regulation of gene expression is essential for cell fate determination and tissue development. The Bromodomain-containing Protein-4 (BRD4) was previously shown to control the transcription of defined subsets of genes in various cell systems. In this study we examined the role of BRD4 in promoting lineage-specific gene expression and show that BRD4 is essential for osteoblast differentiation. Genome-wide analyses demonstrate that BRD4 is recruited to the transcriptional start site of differentiation-induced genes. Unexpectedly, while promoter-proximal BRD4 occupancy correlated with gene expression, genes which displayed moderate expression and promoter-proximal BRD4 occupancy were most highly regulated and sensitive to BRD4 inhibition. Therefore, we examined distal BRD4 occupancy and uncovered a specific co-localization of BRD4 with the transcription factors C/EBPb, TEAD1, FOSL2 and JUND at putative osteoblast-specific enhancers. These findings reveal the intricacies of lineage specification and provide new insight into the context-dependent functions of BRD4.
The availability of bromodomain and extra-terminal inhibitors (BETi) has enabled translational epigenetic studies in cancer. BET proteins regulate transcription by selectively recognizing acetylated lysine residues on chromatin. BETi compete with this process leading to both downregulation and upregulation of gene expression. Hypoxia enables progression of triple negative breast cancer (TNBC), the most aggressive form of breast cancer, partly by driving metabolic adaptation, angiogenesis and metastasis through upregulation of hypoxia-regulated genes (for example, carbonic anhydrase 9 (CA9) and vascular endothelial growth factor A (VEGF-A). Responses to hypoxia can be mediated epigenetically, thus we investigated whether BETi JQ1 could impair the TNBC response induced by hypoxia and exert anti-tumour effects. JQ1 significantly modulated 44% of hypoxia-induced genes, of which two-thirds were downregulated including CA9 and VEGF-A. JQ1 prevented HIF binding to the hypoxia response element in CA9 promoter, but did not alter HIF expression or activity, suggesting some HIF targets are BET-dependent. JQ1 reduced TNBC growth in vitro and in vivo and inhibited xenograft vascularization. These findings identify that BETi dually targets angiogenesis and the hypoxic response, an effective combination at reducing tumour growth in preclinical studies.
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