The p38 mitogen activated protein kinase pathway (MAPK) is known to promote cell survival, endocrine therapy resistance and hormone independent breast cancer cell proliferation. Therefore, we utilized the novel p38 inhibitor RWJ67657 to investigate the relevance of targeting this pathway in the ER+ breast cancer cell line MCF-7. Our results show that RWJ67657 inhibits both basal and estrogen stimulated phosphorylation of p38α, resulting in decreased activation of the downstream p38α targets hsp27 and MAPAPK. Furthermore, inhibition of p38α by RWJ67657 blocks clonogenic survival of MCF-7 cells with little effect on non-cancerous breast epithelial cells. Even though p38α is known to phosphorylate ERα at residue within ER’s hinge region at Thr311, resulting in increased ERα transcriptional activation, our results suggest RWJ67657 inhibits the p38α-induced activation of ER by targeting both the AF-1 and AF-2 activation domains within ERα. We further show that RWJ67657 decreases the transcriptional activity of the ER coactivators SRC-1, SRC-2 and SRC-3. Taken together, our results strongly suggest that in addition to phosphorylating Thr311 within ERα, p38α indirectly activates the ER by phosphorylation and stimulation of the known ERα coactivators, SRC-1, -2 and-3. Overall, our data underscore the therapeutic potential of targeting the p38 MAPK pathway in the treatment of ER+ breast cancer.
p38; mitogen-activated protein kinase; estrogen receptor; breast cancer; SRC; drug discovery
In inflammatory processes, the p38 mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) signal transduction route regulates production and expression of cytokines and other inflammatory mediators. Tumor necrosis factor α (TNF-α) is a pivotal cytokine in rheumatoid arthritis and its production in macrophages is under control of the p38 MAPK route. Inhibition of the p38 MAPK route may inhibit production not only of TNF-α, but also of other inflammatory mediators produced by macrophages, and indirectly of inflammatory mediators by other cells induced by TNF-α stimulation. Here we investigate the effects of RWJ 67657, a p38 MAPK inhibitor, on mRNA expression and protein production of TNF-α and other inflammatory mediators, in monocyte-derived macrophages. A strong inhibition of TNF-α was seen at pharmacologically relevant concentrations of RWJ 67657, but also inhibition of mRNA expression of IL-1β, IL-8, and cyclooxygenase-2 was shown. Furthermore, it was shown that monocyte-derived macrophages have a high constitutive production of matrix metalloproteinase 9, which is not affected by p38 MAPK inhibition. The results presented here may have important implications for the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis.
COX-2; matrix metalloproteinase; monocyte-derived macrophage; p38 MAPK inhibitor; TNF-α
Objective: To investigate the effect of the p38 mitogen activated protein kinase (MAPK) inhibitor RWJ 67657 on inflammatory mediator production by rheumatoid synovial fibroblasts (RSF).
Methods: RSF were pretreated with RWJ 67657 and stimulated with TNFα and/or IL-1ß. Protein levels and mRNA expression of MMP-1, MMP-3, TIMP-1, IL-6, and IL-8 were determined, as was mRNA expression of COX-2 and ADAMTS-4.
Results: MMP-3 production was significantly inhibited at 1 µM RWJ 67657 and MMP-1 production at 10 µM, while TIMP-1 production was not inhibited. Inhibition of IL-6 and IL-8 protein production was seen at 0.1 µM RWJ 67657. Expression profiles of mRNA were in accordance with protein production. Inhibition of COX-2 mRNA expression occurred at 0.01 µM RWJ 67657.
Conclusions: RWJ 67657 inhibits major proinflammatory mediator production in stimulated RSF at pharmacologically relevant concentrations. These findings could have important relevance for the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis.
Acquired chemoresistance and epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition (EMT) are hallmarks of cancer progression and of increasing clinical relevance. We investigated the role of miRNA and p38 mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) signaling in the progression of breast cancer to a drug-resistant and mesenchymal phenotype. We demonstrate that acquired death receptor resistance results in increased hormone-independent tumorigenesis compared to hormone-sensitive parental cells. Utilizing global miRNA gene expression profiling, we identified miRNA alterations associated with the development of death receptor resistance and EMT progression. We further investigated the role of p38 MAPK in this process, showing dose-dependent inactivation of p38 by its inhibitor RWJ67657 and decreased downstream ATF and NF-κB signaling. Pharmacological inhibition of p38 also decreased chemoresistant cancer tumor growth in xenograft animal models. Interestingly, inhibition of p38 partially reversed the EMT changes found in this cell system, as illustrated by decreased gene expression of the EMT markers Twist, Snail, Slug and ZEB and protein and mRNA levels of Twist, a known EMT promoter, concomitant with decreased N-cadherin protein. RWJ67657 treatment also altered the expression of several miRNAs known to promote therapeutic resistance, including miR-200, miR-303, miR-302, miR-199 and miR-328. Taken together, our results demonstrate the roles of multiple microRNAs and p38 signaling in the progression of cancer and demonstrate the therapeutic potential of targeting the p38 MAPK pathway for reversing EMT in an advanced tumor phenotype.
p38 mitogen-activated protein kinase; epithelial-tomesenchymal transition; breast cancer; drug discovery
We recently demonstrated that human p38 mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) inhibitors reduced in vitro and in vivo replication of the protozoan parasites Toxoplasma gondii and Encephalitozoon cuniculi. In this study, we assessed the efficacy of five p38 MAPK inhibitors to block the replication of Plasmodium falciparum in human erythrocytes cultured ex vivo and demonstrate that the pyridinylimidazole RWJ67657 and the pyrrolobenzimidazole RWJ68198 reduced Plasmodium falciparum replication, yielded trophozoites that were greatly diminished in size at 24 h, and that these two agents interfered with stage differentiation. Interestingly, the chloroquine-resistant strain W2 was significantly more sensitive to these drugs than was the chloroquine-sensitive strain HB3. These results suggest that pyridinylimidazoles and pyrrolobenzimidazoles designed to inhibit human p38 MAPK activation can be developed to treat malaria.
indole-5-carboxamide; mitogen-activated protein kinase; Plasmodium falciparum; pyridinylimidazole; pyrrolobenzimidazole
RWJ-270201 is a novel cyclopentane inhibitor of influenza A and B virus neuraminidases (NAs). We compared the ability of RWJ-270201 to inhibit NA activity of clinical influenza isolates and viruses with defined resistance mutations with that of zanamivir and oseltamivir carboxylate. In NA inhibition assays with influenza A viruses, the median 50% inhibitory concentration (IC50) of RWJ-270201 (approximately 0.34 nM) was comparable to that of oseltamivir carboxylate (0.45 nM) but lower than that of zanamivir (0.95 nM). For influenza B virus isolates, the IC50 of RWJ-270201 (1.36 nM) was comparable to that of zanamivir (2.7 nM) and less than that of oseltamivir carboxylate (8.5 nM). A zanamivir-resistant variant bearing a Glu119-to-Gly (Glu119→Gly) or Glu119→Ala substitution in an NA (N2) remained susceptible to RWJ-270201 and oseltamivir carboxylate. However, a zanamivir-selected variant with an Arg292→Lys substitution in an NA (N2) showed a moderate level of resistance to RWJ-270201 (IC50 = 30 nM) and zanamivir (IC50 = 20 nM) and a high level of resistance to oseltamivir carboxylate (IC50 > 3,000 nM). The zanamivir-resistant influenza B virus variant bearing an Arg152→Lys substitution was resistant to each NA inhibitor (IC50 = 100 to 750 nM). The oseltamivir-selected variant (N1) with the His274→Tyr substitution exhibited resistance to oseltamivir carboxylate (IC50 = 400 nM) and to RWJ-270201 (IC50 = 40 nM) but retained full susceptibility to zanamivir (IC50 = 1.5 nM). Thus, drug-resistant variants with substitutions in framework residues 119 or 274 can retain susceptibility to other NA inhibitors, whereas replacement of functional residue 152 or 292 leads to variable levels of cross-resistance. We conclude that RWJ-270201 is a potent inhibitor of NAs of wild-type and some zanamivir-resistant or oseltamivir-resistant influenza A and B virus variants.
Histidine protein kinases have been explored as potential antibacterial drug targets. The recent identification of two-component histidine kinases in fungi has led us to investigate the antifungal properties of three bacterial histidine kinase inhibitors (RWJ-49815, RWJ-49968, and RWJ-61907). All three compounds were found to inhibit growth of the Saccharomyces cerevisiae and Candida albicans strains, with MICs ranging from 1 to 20 μg/ml. However, deletion of SLN1, the only histidine kinase in S. cerevisiae, did not alter drug efficacy. In vitro kinase assays were performed by using the Sln1 histidine kinase purified from bacteria as a fusion protein to glutathione S-transferase. RWJ-49815 and RWJ-49968 inhibited kinase a 50% inhibitory concentration of 10 μM, whereas RWJ-61907 failed to inhibit at concentrations up to 100 μM. Based on these results, we conclude that these compounds have antifungal properties; however, their mode of action appears to be independent of histidine kinase inhibition.
RWJ-54428 (MC-02,479) is a new cephalosporin with a high level of activity against gram-positive bacteria. In a broth microdilution susceptibility test against methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), RWJ-54428 was as active as vancomycin, with an MIC at which 90% of isolates are inhibited (MIC90) of 2 μg/ml. For coagulase-negative staphylococci, RWJ-54428 was 32 times more active than imipenem, with an MIC90 of 2 μg/ml. RWJ-54428 was active against S. aureus, Staphylococcus epidermidis, and Staphylococcus haemolyticus isolates with reduced susceptibility to glycopeptides (RWJ-54428 MIC range, ≤0.0625 to 1 μg/ml). RWJ-54428 was eight times more potent than methicillin and cefotaxime against methicillin-susceptible S. aureus (MIC90, 0.5 μg/ml). For ampicillin-susceptible Enterococcus faecalis (including vancomycin-resistant and high-level aminoglycoside-resistant strains), RWJ-54428 had an MIC90 of 0.125 μg/ml. RWJ-54428 was also active against Enterococcus faecium, including vancomycin-, gentamicin-, and ciprofloxacin-resistant strains. The potency against enterococci correlated with ampicillin susceptibility; RWJ-54428 MICs ranged between ≤0.0625 and 1 μg/ml for ampicillin-susceptible strains and 0.125 and 8 μg/ml for ampicillin-resistant strains. RWJ-54428 was more active than penicillin G and cefotaxime against penicillin-resistant, -intermediate, and -susceptible strains of Streptococcus pneumoniae (MIC90s, 0.25, 0.125, and ≤0.0625 μg/ml, respectively). RWJ-54428 was only marginally active against most gram-negative bacteria; however, significant activity was observed against Haemophilus influenzae and Moraxella catarrhalis (MIC90s, 0.25 and 0.5 μg/ml, respectively). This survey of the susceptibilities of more than 1,000 multidrug-resistant gram-positive isolates to RWJ-54428 indicates that this new cephalosporin has the potential to be useful in the treatment of infections due to gram-positive bacteria, including strains resistant to currently available antimicrobials.
The orally administered neuraminidase (NA) inhibitor RWJ-270201 was tested in parallel with zanamivir and oseltamivir against a panel of avian influenza viruses for inhibition of NA activity and replication in tissue culture. The agents were then tested for protection of mice against lethal H5N1 and H9N2 virus infection. In vitro, RWJ-270201 was highly effective against all nine NA subtypes. NA inhibition by RWJ-270201 (50% inhibitory concentration, 0.9 to 4.3 nM) was superior to that by zanamivir and oseltamivir carboxylate. RWJ-270201 inhibited the replication of avian influenza viruses of both Eurasian and American lineages in MDCK cells (50% effective concentration, 0.5 to 11.8 μM). Mice given 10 mg of RWJ-270201 per kg of body weight per day were completely protected against lethal challenge with influenza A/Hong Kong/156/97 (H5N1) and A/quail/Hong Kong/G1/97 (H9N2) viruses. Both RWJ-270201 and oseltamivir significantly reduced virus titers in mouse lungs at daily dosages of 1.0 and 10 mg/kg and prevented the spread of virus to the brain. When treatment began 48 h after exposure to H5N1 virus, 10 mg of RWJ-270201/kg/day protected 50% of mice from death. These results suggest that RWJ-270201 is at least as effective as either zanamivir or oseltamivir against avian influenza viruses and may be of potential clinical use for treatment of emerging influenza viruses that may be transmitted from birds to humans.
RWJ-54428 (also known as MC-02,479) is a new cephalosporin with promising activity against gram-positive bacteria. The pharmacodynamics (PDs) of RWJ-54428 against Staphylococcus aureus, Streptococcus pneumoniae, and Enterococcus faecalis were studied in a neutropenic mouse thigh infection model. The RWJ-54428 MICs ranged from 0.25 to 1 mg/liter. Mice with ca. 106 CFU/thigh at the initiation of therapy were treated intraperitoneally with RWJ-54428 at doses that ranged from 3 to 1,200 mg/kg of body weight/day (in 2, 3, 4, 6, or 12 divided doses) for 24 h. The maximal reductions in bacterial counts in thigh tissues at 24 h for the methicillin-resistant S. aureus, penicillin-resistant S. pneumoniae, and E. faecalis strains were −2.8, −3.8, and −1.7 log10 CFU/thigh, respectively. The percentage of a 24-h dosing interval that the unbound serum RWJ-54428 concentrations exceeded the MIC (fT>MIC) was the pharmacokinetic (PK)-PD parameter that best described the efficacy of RWJ-54428. The fT>MICs for a bacteriostatic effect (no net change in the numbers of CFU/thigh over 24 h) ranged from 14 to 20% for staphylococci and streptococci; for maximal reductions in the numbers of CFU/thigh, the fT>MICs ranged from 22 to 36% for these strains. For E. faecalis, the ranges of fT>MICs for static and maximal effects were 30 to 46% and 55 to 60%, respectively. These data show that treatment with RWJ-54428 results in marked antibacterial effects in vivo, with the PK-PD parameters for efficacy being comparable to those for the efficacy of penicillins and carbapenems active against staphylococci and pneumococci.
The influenza virus neuraminidase (NA) is important in the pathogenesis of infection and, thus, is an attractive target for agents used in the treatment and prophylaxis of influenza. This article describes preclinical and early clinical data related to RWJ-270201 (BCX-1812), a novel, orally active NA inhibitor that was rationally designed for having potent and selective activity against influenza A and B viruses. RWJ-270201 is a unique NA inhibitor with a cyclopentane ring structure and high selectivity for the influenza NA. RWJ-270201 has efficacy comparable to or better than earlier NA inhibitors against a wide range of influenza A and B isolates, including recently emerged and avian strains, both in vitro and in a lethal murine model of influenza. Based on the high selectivity and efficacy of RWJ-270201 against both type A and B influenza strains in preclinical studies as well as murine pharmacodynamic studies supporting the potential for once-daily administration, clinical trials were initiated in order to determine the tolerability and antiviral activity of RWJ-270201 in humans. To date, clinical studies have indicated that RWJ-270201 is well tolerated and has antiviral activity in human experimental influenza models when administered orally once daily.
A tetracycline-regulated reporter system was used to investigate the regulation of cyclooxygenase 2 (Cox-2) mRNA stability by the mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) p38 signaling cascade. The stable β-globin mRNA was rendered unstable by insertion of the 2,500-nucleotide Cox-2 3′ untranslated region (3′ UTR). The chimeric transcript was stabilized by a constitutively active form of MAPK kinase 6, an activator of p38. This stabilization was blocked by SB203580, an inhibitor of p38, and by two different dominant negative forms of MAPK-activated protein kinase 2 (MAPKAPK-2), a kinase lying downstream of p38. Constitutively active MAPKAPK-2 was also able to stabilize chimeric β-globin–Cox-2 transcripts. The MAPKAPK-2 substrate hsp27 may be involved in stabilization, as β-globin–Cox-2 transcripts were partially stabilized by phosphomimetic mutant forms of hsp27. A short (123-nucleotide) fragment of the Cox-2 3′ UTR was necessary and sufficient for the regulation of mRNA stability by the p38 cascade and interacted with a HeLa protein immunologically related to AU-rich element/poly(U) binding factor 1.
RWJ-54428 (MC-02,479) is a new cephalosporin with activity against resistant gram-positive organisms, including methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, vancomycin-resistant enterococci, and penicillin-resistant Streptococcus pneumoniae. The in vivo efficacy of RWJ-54428 was evaluated against gram-positive bacteria in four mouse models of infection. RWJ-54428 was effective in vivo against methicillin-susceptible and -resistant S. aureus in a mouse model of sepsis, with 50% effective doses being similar to those of vancomycin. In a single-dose neutropenic mouse thigh model of infection, RWJ-54428 at 30 mg/kg of body weight showed activity similar to that of vancomycin at 30 mg/kg against a strain of methicillin-resistant S. aureus. RWJ-54428 also showed a prolonged in vivo postantibiotic effect in this model. In a mouse model of pneumonia due to a penicillin-susceptible strain of Streptococcus pneumoniae, RWJ-54428 displayed efficacy and potency superior to those of penicillin G and cefotaxime. In a mouse model of pyelonephritis due to Enterococcus faecalis, RWJ-54428 had bactericidal effects similar to those of vancomycin and ampicillin, but at two- to threefold lower total daily doses. These studies show that RWJ-54428 is active in experimental mouse models of infection against gram-positive organisms, including strains resistant to earlier cephalosporins and penicillin G.
RWJ-416457 is an investigational pyrrolopyrazolyl-substituted oxazolidinone with activity against antibiotic-susceptible and -resistant gram-positive pathogens. Efficacies of RWJ-416457, linezolid, and vancomycin against methicillin-susceptible Staphylococcus aureus (MSSA) and community-associated methicillin-resistant S. aureus (CA-MRSA) in murine skin and systemic infections were compared, as were efficacies against Streptococcus pneumoniae in a lower respiratory infection. In staphylococcal systemic infections, RWJ-416457 was equipotent with to twofold more potent than linezolid, with 50% effective dose values ranging from 1.5 to 5 mg/kg of body weight/day. RWJ-416457 was two- to fourfold less potent than vancomycin against MSSA but up to fourfold more potent than vancomycin against CA-MRSA. In MSSA and CA-MRSA skin infections, RWJ-416457 demonstrated an efficacy similar to that of linezolid, reducing CFU/g skin approximately 1.0 log10 at all doses tested; vancomycin yielded greater reductions than the oxazolidinones, with decreases in CFU/g skin of 3 log10 (MSSA) and 2 log10 (CA-MRSA). In the pneumococcal model, RWJ-416457 was two- to fourfold more potent than linezolid. The free-drug area under the concentration-time curves at 24 h (fAUC24) were similar for RWJ-416457 and linezolid. The half-life of RWJ-416457 was up to threefold longer than that of linezolid for all routes of administration. The fAUC24/MIC ratio, the pharmacodynamic parameter considered predictive of oxazolidinone efficacy, was approximately twofold greater for RWJ-416457 than for linezolid. Since the fAUC values were similar for both compounds, the higher fAUC/MIC ratios of RWJ-416457 appear to result from its greater in vitro potency. These results demonstrate that RWJ-416457 is a promising new oxazolidinone with efficacy in S. aureus or S. pneumoniae mouse infection models.
We have recently reported an influenza virus neuraminidase inhibitor, RWJ-270201 (BCX-1812), a novel cyclopentane derivative discovered through structure-based drug design. In this paper, we compare the potency of three compounds, RWJ-270201, oseltamivir, and zanamivir, against neuraminidase enzymes from various subtypes of influenza. RWJ-270201 effectively inhibited all tested influenza A and influenza B neuraminidases in vitro, with 50% inhibitory concentrations of 0.09 to 1.4 nM for influenza A neuraminidases and 0.6 to 11 nM for influenza B neuraminidases. These values were comparable to or lower than those for oseltamivir carboxylate (GS4071) and zanamivir (GG167). RWJ-270201 demonstrated excellent selectivity (>10,000-fold) for influenza virus neuraminidase over mammalian, bacterial, or other viral neuraminidases. Oral administration of a dosage of 1 mg/kg of body weight/day of RWJ-270201 for 5 days (beginning 4 h preinfection) showed efficacy in the murine model of influenza virus infection as determined by lethality and weight loss protection. RWJ-270201 administered intranasally at 0.01 mg/kg/day in the murine influenza model demonstrated complete protection against lethality, whereas oseltamivir carboxylate and zanamivir at the same dose demonstrated only partial protection. In the delayed-treatment murine influenza model, oral administration of a 10-mg/kg/day dose of RWJ-270201 or oseltamivir (GS4104, a prodrug of GS4071) at 24 h postinfection showed significant protection against lethality (P < 0.001 versus control). However, when the treatment was delayed for 48 h, no significant protection was observed in either drug group. No drug-related toxicity was observed in mice receiving 100 mg/kg/day of RWJ-270201 for 5 days. These efficacy and safety profiles justify further consideration of RWJ-270201 for the treatment and prevention of human influenza.
RWJ-54428 (MC-02479) is a novel cephalosporin that binds to penicillin-binding protein (PBP) PBP 2′ (PBP 2a) of methicillin-resistant staphylococci. Its in vitro activity was assessed against 472 gram-positive cocci, largely selected as epidemiologically unrelated isolates with multidrug resistance. The MIC at which 50% of isolates are inhibited (MIC50) and MIC90 of RWJ-54428 for methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) were 1 and 2 μg/ml, respectively, whereas they were 0.5 and 0.5 μg/ml, respectively, for methicillin-susceptible S. aureus. The MIC50 and MIC90 were 1 and 4 μg/ml, respectively, for methicillin-resistant coagulase-negative staphylococci (MRCoNS), whereas they were 0.25 and 1 μg/ml, respectively, for methicillin-susceptible isolates. The highest MICs for MRSA and MRCoNS isolates were 2 and 4 μg/ml, respectively. The MIC50 and MIC90 of RWJ-54428 for Enterococcus faecalis were 0.5 and 1 μg/ml, respectively, but they were 4 and 8 μg/ml, respectively, for Enterococcus faecium. For penicillin-susceptible, -intermediate, and -resistant pneumococci, the MIC90s of RWJ-54428 were 0.03, 0.25, and 0.5 μg/ml, respectively, with the highest MIC for a pneumococcus being 1 μg/ml, recorded for a strain for which penicillin and cefotaxime MICs were 8 and 4 μg/ml. MICs for Lancefield group A, B, C, and G streptococci were ≤0.008 μg/ml; those for viridans group streptococci, including isolates not susceptible to penicillin, were from 0.015 to 0.5 μg/ml. RWJ-54428 did not select resistant mutants of MRSA or enterococci in challenge experiments and has the potential to be useful for the treatment of infections caused by gram-positive cocci.
Dasatinib, a dual Src/Abl tyrosine kinase inhibitor, has significant antileukemic effects against various imatinib mesylate-resistant BCR/ABL mutants. Despite well-documented inhibitory effects of dasatinib on BCR/ABL kinase, the exact downstream cellular events leading to generation of its potent antileukemic effects remain to be defined. We provide evidence that p38 Map kinase (MAPK) pathway is activated leading to increased upregulation of MLK3, MKK3/6, MSK1 and Mapkapk2, upon treatment of BCR/ABL expressing cells with dasatinib, including cells expressing various imatinib-resistant mutants, except for T315I. Our data demonstrate that such dasatinib-dependent activation of p38 MAPK and its effectors plays a critical role in generation of antileukemic responses, since pharmacological inhibition of p38 or siRNA-mediated knockdown of its expression reverse dasatinib-mediated apoptosis, cell cycle arrest and anti-proliferative effects. p38MAPK inhibition also reversed dasatinib-induced suppression of CML patient-derived leukemic CFU-GM progenitor growth in vitro, as well as BCR/ABL expressing KT-1 cell derived leukemic progenitor growth . Altogether, our findings suggest a critical role for p38 MAPK pathway in generation of antileukemic effects of dasatinib, and raise the possibility that development of novel means to enhance p38 MAPK activation in BCR/ABL expressing cells may be an approach to promote antileukemic responses and, possibly, reverse T315I mutation-mediated resistance.
p38 Map kinase; CML; dasatinib
Previous studies have argued that enhanced activity of the
epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) and the mitogen-activated
protein kinase (MAPK) pathway can promote tumor cell survival in
response to cytotoxic insults. In this study, we examined the impact of
MAPK signaling on the survival of primary hepatocytes exposed to low
concentrations of deoxycholic acid (DCA, 50 μM). Treatment of
hepatocytes with DCA caused MAPK activation, which was dependent upon
ligand independent activation of EGFR, and downstream signaling through
Ras and PI3 kinase. Neither inhibition of MAPK signaling
alone by MEK1/2 inhibitors, nor exposure to DCA alone, enhanced basal
hepatocyte apoptosis, whereas inhibition of DCA-induced MAPK activation
caused ∼25% apoptosis within 6 h. Similar data were also
obtained when either dominant negative EGFR-CD533 or dominant negative
Ras N17 were used to block MAPK activation. DCA-induced apoptosis
correlated with sequential cleavage of procaspase 8, BID, procaspase 9,
and procaspase 3. Inhibition of MAPK potentiated bile acid-induced
apoptosis in hepatocytes with mutant FAS-ligand, but did not enhance in
hepatocytes that were null for FAS receptor expression. These data
argues that DCA is causing ligand independent activation of the FAS
receptor to stimulate an apoptotic response, which is counteracted by
enhanced ligand-independent EGFR/MAPK signaling. In agreement with
FAS-mediated cell killing, inhibition of caspase function with the use
of dominant negative Fas-associated protein with death domain, a
caspase 8 inhibitor (Ile-Glu-Thr-Asp-p-nitroanilide [IETD]) or
dominant negative procaspase 8 blocked the potentiation of bile
acid-induced apoptosis. Inhibition of bile acid-induced MAPK signaling
enhanced the cleavage of BID and release of cytochrome c
from mitochondria, which were all blocked by IETD. Despite activation
of caspase 8, expression of dominant negative procaspase 9 blocked
procaspase 3 cleavage and the potentiation of DCA-induced apoptosis.
Treatment of hepatocytes with DCA transiently increased expression of
the caspase 8 inhibitor proteins c-FLIP-S and
c-FLIP-L that were reduced by inhibition of MAPK or
PI3 kinase. Constitutive overexpression of
c-FLIP-s abolished the potentiation of bile acid-induced
apoptosis. Collectively, our data argue that loss of DCA-induced
EGFR/Ras/MAPK pathway function potentiates DCA-stimulated FAS-induced
hepatocyte cell death via a reduction in the expression of c-FLIP
RWJ-54428 (MC-02,479) is a new cephalosporin active against gram-positive bacteria, including methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA). The potency of this new cephalosporin against MRSA is related to a high affinity for penicillin-binding protein 2a (PBP 2a), as assessed in a competition assay using biotinylated ampicillin as the reporter molecule. RWJ-54428 had high activity against MRSA strains COL and 67-0 (MIC of 1 μg/ml) and also showed affinity for PBP 2a, with a 50% inhibitory concentration (IC50) of 0.7 μg/ml. RWJ-54428 also displayed excellent affinity for PBP 5 from Enterococcus hirae R40, with an IC50 of 0.8 μg/ml and a MIC of 0.5 μg/ml. The affinity of RWJ-54428 for PBPs of β-lactam-susceptible S. aureus (MSSA), enterococci (E. hirae), and Streptococcus pneumoniae showed that the good affinity of RWJ-54428 for MRSA PBP 2a and E. hirae PBP 5 does not compromise its binding to susceptible PBPs. RWJ-54428 showed stability to hydrolysis by purified type A β-lactamase isolated from S. aureus PC1. In addition, RWJ-54428 displayed low MICs against strains of S. aureus bearing the four classes of staphylococcal β-lactamases, including β-lactamase hyperproducers. The frequency of isolation of resistant mutants to RWJ-54428 from MRSA strains was very low. In summary, RWJ-54428 has high affinity to multiple PBPs and is stable to β-lactamase, properties that may explain our inability to find resistance by standard methods. These data are consistent with its excellent activity against β-lactam-resistant gram-positive bacteria.
Classical mammalian mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) pathways consist of a cascade of three successive phosphorylation events resulting in the phosphorylation of a variety of substrates, including another class of protein kinases referred to as MAPK-activating protein kinases (MAPKAPKs). The MAPKAPKs MK2, MK3 and MK5 are closely related, but MK2 and MK3 are the major downstream targets of the p38MAPK pathway, while MK5 can be activated by the atypical MAPK ERK3 and ERK4, protein kinase A (PKA), and maybe p38MAPK. MK2, MK3, and MK5 can phosphorylate the common substrate small heat shock protein 27 (HSP27), a modification that regulates the role of HSP27 in actin polymerization. Both stress and cAMP elevating stimuli can cause F-actin remodeling, but whereas the in vivo role of p38MAPK-MK2 in stress-triggered HSP27 phosphorylation and actin reorganization is well established, it is not known whether MK2 is involved in cAMP/PKA-induced F-actin rearrangements. On the other hand, MK5 can phosphorylate HSP27 and cause cytoskeletal changes in a cAMP/PKA-dependent manner, but its role as HSP27 kinase in stress-induced F-actin remodeling is disputed. Therefore, we wanted to investigate the implication of MK2 and MK5 in stress- and PKA-induced HSP27 phosphorylation.
Using HEK293 cells, we show that MK2, MK3, and MK5 are expressed in these cells, but MK3 protein levels are very moderate. Stress- and cAMP-elevating stimuli, as well as ectopic expression of active MKK6 plus p38MAPK or the catalytic subunit of PKA trigger HSP27 phosphorylation, and specific inhibitors of p38MAPK and PKA prevent this phosphorylation. Depletion of MK2, but not MK3 and MK5 diminished stress-induced HSP27 phosphorylation, while only knockdown of MK5 reduced PKA-induced phosphoHSP27 levels. Stimulation of the p38MAPK, but not the PKA pathway, caused activation of MK2.
Our results suggest that in HEK293 cells MK2 is the HSP27 kinase engaged in stress-induced, but not cAMP-induced phosphorylation of HSP27, while MK5 seems to be the sole MK to mediate HSP27 phosphorylation in response to stimulation of the PKA pathway. Thus, despite the same substrate specificity towards HSP27, MK2 and MK5 are implicated in different signaling pathways causing actin reorganization.
The cyclopentane influenza virus neuraminidase inhibitor RWJ-270201 was evaluated against influenza A/NWS/33 (H1N1), A/Shangdong/09/93 (H3N2), A/Victoria/3/75 (H3N2), and B/Hong Kong/05/72 virus infections in mice. Treatment was by oral gavage twice daily for 5 days beginning 4 h pre-virus exposure. The influenza virus inhibitor oseltamivir was run in parallel, and ribavirin was included in studies with the A/Shangdong and B/Hong Kong viruses. RWJ-270201 was inhibitory to all infections using doses as low as 1 mg/kg/day. Oseltamivir was generally up to 10-fold less effective than RWJ-270201. Ribavirin was also inhibitory but was less tolerated by the mice at the 75-mg/kg/day dose used. Disease-inhibitory effects included prevention of death, lessening of decline of arterial oxygen saturation, inhibition of lung consolidation, and reduction in lung virus titers. RWJ-270201 and oseltamivir, at doses of 10 and 1 mg/kg/day each, were compared with regard to their effects on daily lung parameters in influenza A/Shangdong/09/93 virus-infected mice. Maximum virus titer inhibition was seen on day 1, with RWJ-270201 exhibiting the greater inhibitory effect, a titer reduction of >104 cell culture 50% infective doses (CCID50)/g. By day 8, the lung virus titers in mice treated with RWJ-270201 had declined to 101.2 CCID50/g, whereas titers from oseltamivir-treated animals were >103 CCID50/g. Mean lung consolidation was also higher in the oseltamivir-treated animals on day 8. Both neuraminidase inhibitors were well tolerated by the mice. RWJ-270201 was nontoxic at doses as high as 1,000 mg/kg/day. These data indicate potential for the oral use of RWJ-270201 in the treatment of influenza virus infections in humans.
Mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK)-activated protein kinase 2 (MAPKAPK2) mediates multiple p38 MAPK-dependent inflammatory responses. To define the signal transduction pathways activated by MAPKAPK2, we identified potential MAPKAPK2 substrates by using a functional proteomic approach consisting of in vitro phosphorylation of neutrophil lysate by active recombinant MAPKAPK2, protein separation by sodium dodecyl sulfate-polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis (SDS-PAGE), and phosphoprotein identification by peptide mass fingerprinting with matrix-assisted laser desorption ionization mass spectrometry (MALDI-MS) and protein database analysis. One of the eight candidate MAPKAPK2 substrates identified was the adaptor protein, 14-3-3ζ. We confirmed that MAPKAPK2 interacted with and phosphorylated 14-3-3ζ in vitro and in HEK293 cells. The chemoattractant formyl-methionyl-leucyl-phenylalanine (fMLP) stimulated p38-MAPK-dependent phosphorylation of 14-3-3 proteins in human neutrophils. Mutation analysis showed that MAPKAPK2 phosphorylated 14-3-3ζ at Ser-58. Computational modeling and calculation of theoretical binding energies predicted that both phosphorylation at Ser-58 and mutation of Ser-58 to Asp (S58D) compromised the ability of 14-3-3ζ to dimerize. Experimentally, S58D mutation significantly impaired both 14-3-3ζ dimerization and binding to Raf-1. These data suggest that MAPKAPK2-mediated phosphorylation regulates 14-3-3ζ functions, and this MAPKAPK2 activity may represent a novel pathway mediating p38 MAPK-dependent inflammation.
Phosphorylation of estrogen receptor-α (ERα) at specific residues in transcription activation function 1 (AF-1) can stimulate ERα activity in a ligand-independent manner. This has led to the proposal that AF-1 phosphorylation and the consequent increase in ERα activity could contribute to resistance to endocrine therapies in breast cancer patients. Previous studies have shown that serine 118 (S118) in AF-1 is phosphorylated by extracellular signal-regulated kinases 1 and 2 (Erk1/2) mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) in a ligand-independent manner. Here, we show that serines 104 (S104) and 106 (S106) are also phosphorylated by MAPK in vitro and upon stimulation of MAPK activity in vivo. Phosphorylation of S104 and S106 can be inhibited by the MAP-erk kinase (MEK)1/2 inhibitor U0126 and by expression of kinase-dead Raf1. Further, we show that, although S118 is important for the stimulation of ERα activity by the selective ER modulator 4-hydroxytamoxifen (OHT), S104 and S106 are also required for the agonist activity of OHT. Acidic amino acid substitution of S104 or S106 stimulates ERα activity to a greater extent than the equivalent substitution at S118, suggesting that phosphorylation at S104 and S106 is important for ERα activity. Collectively, these data indicate that the MAPK stimulation of ERα activity involves the phosphorylation not only of S118 but also of S104 and S106, and that MAPK-mediated hyperphosphorylation of ERα at these sites may contribute to resistance to tamoxifen in breast cancer.
The current treatment regimen for glioma patients is surgery, followed by radiation therapy plus temozolomide (TMZ), followed by 6 months of adjuvant TMZ. Despite this aggressive treatment regimen, the overall survival of all surgically treated GBM patients remains dismal, and additional or different therapies are required. Depending on the cancer type, SPARC has been proposed both as a therapeutic target and as a therapeutic agent. In glioma, SPARC promotes invasion via upregulation of the p38 MAPK/MAPKAPK2/HSP27 signaling pathway, and promotes tumor cell survival by upregulating pAKT. As HSP27 and AKT interact to regulate the activity of each other, we determined whether inhibition of HSP27 was better than targeting SPARC as a therapeutic approach to inhibit both SPARC-induced glioma cell invasion and survival.
Our studies found the following. 1) SPARC increases the expression of tumor cell pro-survival and pro-death protein signaling in balance, and, as a net result, tumor cell survival remains unchanged. 2) Suppressing SPARC increases tumor cell survival, indicating it is not a good therapeutic target. 3) Suppressing HSP27 decreases tumor cell survival in all gliomas, but is more effective in SPARC-expressing tumor cells due to the removal of HSP27 inhibition of SPARC-induced pro-apoptotic signaling. 4) Suppressing total AKT1/2 paradoxically enhanced tumor cell survival, indicating that AKT1 or 2 are poor therapeutic targets. 5) However, inhibiting pAKT suppresses tumor cell survival. 6) Inhibiting both HSP27 and pAKT synergistically decreases tumor cell survival. 7) There appears to be a complex feedback system between SPARC, HSP27, and AKT. 8) This interaction is likely influenced by PTEN status. With respect to chemosensitization, we found the following. 1) SPARC enhances pro-apoptotic signaling in cells exposed to TMZ. 2) Despite this enhanced signaling, SPARC protects cells against TMZ. 3) This protection can be reduced by inhibiting pAKT. 4) Combined inhibition of HSP27 and pAKT is more effective than TMZ treatment alone.
We conclude that inhibition of HSP27 alone, or in combination with pAKT inhibitor IV, may be an effective therapeutic approach to inhibit SPARC-induced glioma cell invasion and survival in SPARC-positive/PTEN-wildtype and SPARC-positive/PTEN-null tumors, respectively.
Glioma; SPARC; HSP27; AKT; Tumor cell survival; Apoptosis; Autophagy; Temozolomide
Knockdown of the tumor suppressor phosphatase PTEN with shRNA in three estrogen receptor (ER)-positive breast cancer cell lines resulted in increased PI3K and AKT activities, resistance to tamoxifen and fulvestrant, and hormone-independent growth. PTEN knockdown induced the upregulation of ER transcriptional activity in MCF-7 cells, but decreased ER protein levels and transcriptional activity in T47D and MDA-361 cells. Tamoxifen and fulvestrant treatment inhibited estradiol-induced ER transcriptional activity in all shPTEN cell lines but did not abrogate the increased cell proliferation induced by PTEN knockdown. PTEN knockdown increased basal and ligand-induced activation of the IGF-I and ErbB3 receptor tyrosine kinases, and prolonged the association of the p85 PI3K subunit with the IGF-IR effector IRS-1 and with ErbB3, implicating PTEN in the modulation of signaling upstream of PI3K. Consistent with these data, PTEN levels inversely correlated with levels of tyrosine-phosphorylated IGF-IR in tissue lysate arrays of primary breast cancers. Inhibition of IGF-IR and/or ErbB2-mediated activation of ErbB3 with tyrosine kinase inhibitors restored hormone-dependence and the growth inhibitory effect of tamoxifen and fulvestrant on shPTEN cells, suggesting that co-targeting both ER and receptor tyrosine kinase pathways holds promise for the treatment of patients with ER+, PTEN-deficient breast cancers.
PTEN; antiestrogen; breast cancer; IGF-IR; ErbB3