The efficacy of agents that alkylate the O-6 position of guanine is inhibited by O6-alkylguanine-DNA alkyltransferase (AGT) which removes these lesions from the tumor DNA. To increase differential toxicity, inhibitors must selectively deplete AGT in tumors, while sparing normal tissues where this protein serves a protective function. A newly synthesized prodrug of the AGT inhibitor O6-benzylguanine (O6-BG) with an α,α-dimethyl-4-nitrobenzyloxycarbonyl moiety masking the essential 2-amino group has demonstrated the feasibility of targeting hypoxic regions that are unique to solid tumors, for drug delivery. However, these modifications resulted in greatly decreased solubility. Recently, new potent global AGT inhibitors with improved formulatability such as O6-[(3-aminomethyl)benzylguanine (1) have been developed. However, acetylamino (N-(3-(((2-amino-9H-purin-6-yl)oxy)methyl)benzyl)acetamide) (2) exhibits a pronounced decrease in activity. Thus, 1 would be inactivated by N-acetylation and probably N-glucuronidation. To combat potential conjugational inactivation while retaining favorable solubility, we synthesized 6-((3-((dimethylamino)methyl)benzyl)oxy)-9H-purin-2-amine (3) in which the 3-aminomethyl moiety is protected by methylation; and to impart tumor selectivity we synthesized 2-(4-nitrophenyl)propan-2-yl(6-((3-((dimethylamino)methyl)benzyl)oxy)-9H-purin-2-yl)carbamate (7), a hypoxia targeted prodrug of 3 utilizing an α,α-dimethyl-4-nitrobenzyloxycarbonyl moiety. Consistent with this design, 7 demonstrates both hypoxia selective conversion by EMT6 cells of 7 to 3 and hypoxic sensitization of AGT containing DU145 cells to the cytotoxic actions of laromustine, while exhibiting improved solubility.
1,2-Bis(methylsulfonyl)-1-(2-chloroethyl)-2-[[1-(4-nitrophenyl)ethoxy]carbonyl]hydrazine (KS119) is a prodrug of the 1,2-bis(sulfonyl)hydrazine class of antineoplastic agents designed to exploit the oxygen-deficient regions of cancerous tissue. Thus, under reductive conditions in hypoxic cells this agent decomposes to produce the reactive intermediate 1,2-bis(methylsulfonyl)-1-(2-chloroethyl)hydrazine (90CE), which in turn generates products that alkylate the O6-position of guanine in DNA. Comparison of the cytotoxicity of KS119 in cultured cells lacking O6-alkylguanine-DNA alkyltransferase (AGT) to an agent such as Onrigin™, which through base catalyzed activation produces the same critical DNA G-C cross-link lesions by the generation of 90CE, indicates that KS119 is substantially more potent than Onrigin™ under conditions of oxygen deficiency, despite being incompletely activated. In cell lines expressing relatively large amounts of AGT, the design of the prodrug KS119, which requires intracellular activation by reductase enzymes to produce a cytotoxic effect, results in an ability to overcome resistance derived from the expression of AGT. This appears to derive from the ability of a small portion of the chloroethylating species produced by the activation of KS119 to slip through the cellular protection afforded by AGT to generate the few DNA G-C cross-links that are required for tumor cell lethality. The findings also demonstrate that activation of KS119 under oxygen-deficient conditions is ubiquitous, occurring in all of the cell lines tested thus far, suggesting that the enzymes required for reductive activation of this agent are widely distributed in many different tumor types.
Oxygen-deficient cells; O6-Alkylguanine-DNA alkyltransferase; 1,2-Bis(sulfonyl)hydrazines; KS119; Onrigin™
Cellular resistance to chemotherapeutics that alkylate the O-6 position of guanine residues in DNA correlates with their O6-alkylguanine-DNA alkyltransferase (AGT) activity. In normal cells high [AGT] is benefical, sparing the host from toxicity, whereas in tumor cells high [AGT] prevents chemotherapeutic response. Therefore, it is necessary to selectively inactivate AGT in tumors. The oxygen deficient compartment unique to solid tumors is conducive to reduction, and could be utilized to provide this selectivity. Therefore, we synthesized 2-nitro-6-benzyloxypurine (2-NBP), an analog of O6-benzylguanine (O6-BG) in which the essential 2-amino group is replaced by a nitro moiety, 2-NBP is >2000-fold weaker than O6-BG as an AGT inhibitor. We demonstrate oxygen concentration sensitive net reduction of 2-NBP by cytochrome P450 reductase, xanthine oxidase and EMT6, DU145 and HL-60 cells to yield O6-BG. We show that 2-NBP treatment depletes AGT in intact cells under oxygen deficient conditions and selectively sensitizes cells to laromustine (an agent that chloroethylates the O-6 position of guanine) under oxygen deficient but not normoxic conditions. 2-NBP represents a proof of concept lead compound, however, its facile reduction (E1/2 – 177 mV vs. Ag/AgCl) may result in excessive oxidative stress and/or the generation of AGT inhibitors in normoxic regions in vivo.
2-Nitro-6-benzyloxypurine; O6-benzylguanine; prodrug; AGT; hypoxia; targeting; sensitization; chemotherapy
O6-benzylguanine (O6-BG) and 3-aminobenzamide (3-AB) inhibit the DNA repair proteins O6-alkylguanine-DNA alkyltransferase (AGT) and poly(ADP-ribose) polymerase (PARP) respectively. The effect of O6-BG and/or 3-AB on temozolomide and 1,3-bis(2-chloroethyl)-nitrosourea (BCNU) cytotoxicity, was assessed in seven human tumour cell lines: six with an AGT activity of > 80 fmol mg-1 protein (Mer+) and one with an AGT activity of < 3 fmol mg-1 protein (Mer-). Three of the Mer+ cell lines (LS174T, DLD1 and HCT116) were considered to exhibit resistance to methylation by a mismatch repair deficiency (MMR-), each being known to exhibit microsatellite instability, and DLD1 and HCT116 having well-characterised defects in DNA mismatch binding. Potentiation was defined as the ratio between an IC50 achieved without and with a particular inhibitor treatment. Temozolomide or BCNU cytotoxicity was not potentiated by either inhibitor in the Mer- cell line. Preincubation with O6-BG (100 microM for 1 h) was found to potentiate the cytotoxicity of temozolomide by 1.35- to 1.57-old in Mer+/MMR+ cells, but had no significant effect in Mer+/MMR- cells. In comparison, O6-BG pretreatment enhanced BCNU cytotoxicity by 1.94- to 2.57-fold in all Mer+ cell lines. Post-incubation with 3-AB (2 mM, 48 h) potentiated temozolomide by 1.35- to 1.59-fold in Mer+/MMR+ cells, and when combined with O6-BG pretreatment produced an effect which was at least additive, enhancing cytotoxicity by 1.97- to 2.16-fold. 3-AB treatment also produced marked potentiation (2.20- to 3.12-fold) of temozolomide cytotoxicity in Mer+/MMR- cells. In contrast, 3-AB produced marginal potentiation of BCNU cytotoxicity in only three cell lines (1.19- to 1.35-fold), and did not enhance the cytotoxicity of BCNU with O6-BG treatment in any cell line. These data suggest that the combination of an AGT and PARP inhibitor may have a therapeutic role in potentiating temozolomide activity, but that the inhibition of poly(ADP-ribosyl)ation has little effect on the cytotoxicity of BCNU.
The human DNA repair protein O6-alkylguanine-DNA alkyltransferase (hAGT) is an important source of resistance to some therapeutic alkylating agents and attempts to circumvent this resistance by the use of hAGT inhibitors have reached clinical trials. Several human polymorphisms in the MGMT gene that encodes hAGT have been described including L84F and the linked double alteration I143V/K178R. We have investigated the inactivation of these variants and the much rarer variant W65C by O6-benzylguanine, which is currently in clinical trials, and a number of other second generation hAGT inhibitors that contain folate derivatives (O4-benzylfolic acid, the 3' and 5' folate esters of O6-benzyl-2'-deoxyguanosine and the folic acid γ ester of O6-(p-hydroxymethyl)benzylguanine). The I143V/K178R variant was resistant to all of these compounds. The resistance was due solely to the I143V change. These results suggest that the frequency of the I143V/K178R variant among patients in the clinical trials with hAGT inhibitors and the correlation with response should be considered.
Alkyltransferase; O6-benzylgunaine; polymorphisms; cancer chemotherapy; O4-benzylfolate; DNA repair
An important determinant of cellular resistance to chemotherapeutic O6-alkylating agents, which comprise methylating and chloroethylating agents, is the ability of cells to repair alkylation damage at the O6-position of guanine in DNA. This is achieved by a specific DNA repair enzyme O6-alkylguanine DNA-alkyltransferase. In this study O6-alkylguanine DNA-alkyltransferase expression was measured in human breast tumours using both biochemical and immunohistochemical techniques. O6-alkylguanine DNA-alkyltransferase activity was then compared with known clinical prognostic indices to assess the potential role of O6-alkylguanine DNA-alkyltransferase in predicting the behaviour of this common malignancy. The application of both biochemical and immunohistochemical techniques was feasible and practical. Most breast tumours expressed high levels of O6-alkylguanine DNA-alkyltransferase. Immunohistochemical analysis showed marked variation in expression not only between individuals but also within individual tumours, and in the same patient, between metastases and between primary tumour and metastatic site. O6-alkylguanine DNA-alkyltransferase activity in tissue extracts significantly correlated not only with immunohistochemical staining intensity determined by subjective quantitation, but also with measures of protein levels using a computerised image analysis system including mean grey (P<0.001), percentage of cells positive for O6-alkylguanine DNA-alkyltransferase (P<0.001), and integrated optical density (P<0.001). O6-alkylguanine DNA-alkyltransferase expression did not correlate with any of the established clinical prognostic indicators for current treatment regimens. However, immunohistochemical offers a rapid and convenient method for assessing potential utility of O6-alkylating agents or O6-alkylguanine DNA-alkyltransferase inactivating agents in future studies of breast cancer treatment.
British Journal of Cancer (2002) 86, 1797–1802. doi:10.1038/sj.bjc.6600324 www.bjcancer.com
© 2002 Cancer Research UK
DNA repair; prognostic indicators; MGMT; nitrosoureas; methylating agents
The effect of the O6-alkylguanine-DNA alkyltransferase (AGT) inhibitor, O6-benzylguanine (O6-BG), on the anti-tumour activity of 8-carbamoyl-3-methylimidazo [5,1-d]-1,2,3,5-tetrazine-4(3H)-one (temozolomide) or 1,3-bis(2-chloroethyl)-nitrosourea (BCNU) was evaluated in athymic mice bearing subcutaneous (s.c.) human glioma (U87MG) xenografts. The activity of AGT in U87MG xenografts was 4.3 +/- 1.5 fmol mg-1 protein (mean +/- s.d). These xenografts were inherently sensitive to treatment with alkylating compounds alone, with non-toxic doses of temozolomide (35 mg kg-1) or BCNU (10 mg kg-1) producing tumour growth delays of 23.3 and 11.8 days respectively. O6-BG (40 mg kg-1) did not inhibit tumour growth when administered alone, but was found to enhance significantly the anti-tumour activity of temozolomide or BCNU when administered 1 h before therapy (P < 0.002, Mann-Whitney test). AGT activity measured 24 h after the administration of 40 mg kg-1 O6-BG, was only 0.9 +/- 0.2 fmol mg-1 protein. These results are in contrast to previous studies in vitro with tumour cell lines of low AGT activity (< 15 fmol mg-1 protein), in which the cytotoxicity of temozolomide or BCNU was unaffected by AGT depletion.
O6-Benzylguanine is an irreversible inactivator of O6-alkylguanine-DNA alkyltransferase currently in clinical trials to overcome alkyltransferase-mediated resistance to certain cancer chemotherapeutic alkylating agents. In order to produce more soluble alkyltransferase inhibitors, we have synthesized three aminomethyl-substituted O6-benzylguanines and found that the substitution at the meta- position greatly enhances inactivation of alkyltransferase whereas para- substitution has little effect and ortho- substitution virtually eliminates activity. Molecular modeling of their interactions with alkyltransferase provided a molecular explanation for these results. The square of the correlation coefficient (R2) obtained between E-model scores (obtained from GLIDE XP/QPLD docking calculations) vs. log(ED50) values via a linear regression analysis was 0.96. The models indicate that the ortho- substitution causes a steric clash interfering with binding whereas the meta- aminomethyl substitution allows an interaction of the amino group to generate an additional hydrogen bond with the protein.
O6-Alkylguanine-DNA alkyltransferase (AGT) mediates tumor resistance to alkylating agents that generate guanine O6-chloroethyl (Onrigin™ and carmustine) and O6-methyl (temozolomide) lesions; however, the relative efficiency of AGT protection against these lesions and the degree of resistance to these agents that a given number of AGT molecules produces are unclear. Measured from differential cytotoxicity in AGT-ablated and AGT-intact HL-60 cells containing 17,000 AGT molecules/cell, AGT produced 12- and 24-fold resistance to chloroethylating (90CE) and methylating (KS90) analogs of Onrigin™, respectively. For 50% growth inhibition, KS90 and 90CE generated 5,600 O6-methylguanines/cell and ~300 O6-chloroethylguanines/cell, respectively. AGT repaired O6-methylguanines until the AGT pool was exhausted, while its repair of O6-chloroethylguanines was incomplete due to progression of the lesions to AGT-irreparable interstrand DNA cross-links. Thus, the smaller number of O6-chloroethylguanine lesions needed for cytotoxicity accounted for the marked degree of resistance (12-fold) to 90CE produced by AGT. Transfection of human or murine AGT into AGT deficient transplantable tumor cells (i.e., EMT6, M109 and U251) generated transfectants expressing AGT ranging from 4,000 to 700,000 molecules/cell. In vitro growth inhibition assays using these transfectants treated with 90CE revealed that AGT caused a concentration dependent resistance up to a level of ~10,000 AGT molecules/cell. This finding was corroborated by in vivo studies where expression of 4,000 and 10,000 murine AGT molecules/cell rendered EMT6 tumors partially and completely resistant to Onrigin™, respectively. These studies imply that the antitumor activity of Onrigin™ stems from guanine O6-chloroethylation and define the threshold concentration of AGT that negates its antineoplastic activity.
Onrigin™ (laromustine; cloretazine; VNP40101M; 101M); O6-Alkylguanine-DNA alkyltransferase (AGT); O6-Benzylguanine; Guanine O6-chloroethyl and O6-methyl lesions; Carmustine (BCNU); Temozolomide
Although it is known that (i) O6-alkylguanine—DNA alkyltransferase (AGT) confers tumor cell resistance to guanine O6-targeting drugs such as cloretazine, carmustine, and temozolomide and that (ii) AGT levels in tumors are highly variable, measurement of AGT activity in tumors before treatment is not a routine clinical practice. This derives in part from the lack of a reliable clinical AGT assay; therefore, a simple AGT assay was devised based on transfer of radioactive benzyl residues from [benzene-3H]O6-benzylguanine ([3H]BG) to AGT. The assay involves incubation of intact cells or cell homogenates with [3H]BG and measurement of radioactivity in a 70% methanol precipitable fraction. Approximately 85% of AGT in intact cells was recovered in cell homogenates. Accuracy of the AGT assay was confirmed by examination of AGT levels by Western blot analysis with the exception of false-positive results in melanin-containing cells due to [3H]BG binding to melanin. Second-order kinetic constants for human and murine AGT were 1100 and 380 M-1 s-1, respectively. AGT levels in various human cell lines ranged from less than 500 molecules/cell (detection limit) to 45,000 molecules/cell. Rodent cell lines frequently lacked AGT expression, and AGT levels in rodent cells were much lower than in human cells.
O6-alkylguanine—DNA alkyltransferase; assay; [Benzene-3H]O6-benzylguanine; Cloretazine; Carmustine; Temozolomide; AGT-positive and -negative cells; B16F10 melanoma; Drug binding to melanin
O6-Methylguanine (O6-meG), which is produced in DNA following exposure to methylating agents, instructs human RNA polymerase II to mis-insert bases opposite the lesion during transcription. In this study, we examined the effect of O6-meG on transcription in human cells and investigated the subsequent effects on protein function following translation of the resulting mRNA. In HEK293 cells, O6-meG induced incorporation of uridine or cytidine in nascent RNA opposite the adduct. In cells containing active O6-alkylguanine-DNA alkyltransferase (AGT), which repairs O6-meG, 3% misincorporation of uridine was observed opposite the lesion. In cells where AGT function was compromised by addition of the AGT inhibitor O6-benzylguanine, ∼58% of the transcripts contained a uridine misincorporation opposite the lesion. Furthermore, the altered mRNA induced changes to protein function as demonstrated through recovery of functional red fluorescent protein (RFP) from DNA coding for a non-fluorescent variant of RFP. These data show that O6-meG is highly mutagenic at the level of transcription in human cells, leading to an altered protein load, especially when AGT is inhibited.
Germline mutations in BRCA2 have been linked to early-onset familial breast cancer. BRCA2 is known to play a key role in repairing double-strand breaks (DSBs). Here, we describe the involvement of BRCA2 in O6-alkylguanine DNA alkyltransferase (AGT)—mediated repair of O6-methylguanine (O6-mG) adducts. We demonstrate that BRCA2 physically associates and undergoes repair-mediated degradation with AGT. In contrast, BRCA2 with a 29-amino acid deletion in an evolutionarily conserved domain does not bind to alkylated AGT, the two proteins are not degraded and mouse embryonic fibroblasts (MEFs) are specifically sensitive to alkylating agents that result in O6-mG adducts. We demonstrate that O6-benzylguanine (O6BG), a non-toxic inhibitor of AGT, can also induce BRCA2 degradation. BRCA2 is a viable target for cancer therapy because BRCA2-deficient cells are hypersensitive to chemotherapeutic DNA damaging agents. We show a marked effect of O6BG pretreatment on cell sensitivity to cisplatin. We also demonstrate the efficacy of this approach on a wide range of human tumor cell lines, which suggests that chemo-sensitization of tumors by targeted degradation of BRCA2 may be an important consideration when devising cancer therapeutics.
Mouse Models; BRCA2; O6-Alkylguanine-DNA alkyltransferase (AGT); MGMT; O6-benzylguanine
The protein O 6-alkylguanine-DNA alkyltransferase(alkyltransferase) is involved in the repair of O 6-alkylguanine and O 4-alkylthymine in DNA and plays an important role in most organisms in attenuating the cytotoxic and mutagenic effects of certain classes of alkylating agents. A genomic clone encompassing the Drosophila melanogaster alkyltransferase gene ( DmAGT ) was identified on the basis of sequence homology with corresponding genes in Saccharomyces cerevisiae and man. The DmAGT gene is located at position 84A on the third chromosome. The nucleotide sequence of DmAGT cDNA revealed an open reading frame encoding 194 amino acids. The MNNG-hypersensitive phenotype of alkyltransferase-deficient bacteria was rescued by expression of the DmAGT cDNA. Furthermore, alkyltransferase activity was identified in crude extracts of Escherichia coli harbouring DmAGT cDNA and this activity was inhibited by preincubation of the extract with an oligonucleotide containing a single O6-methylguanine lesion. Similar to E.coli Ogt and yeast alkyltransferase but in contrast to the human alkyltransferase, the Drosophila alkyltransferase is resistant to inactivation by O 6-benzylguanine. In an E.coli lac Z reversion assay, expression of DmAGT efficiently suppressed MNNG-induced G:C-->A:T as well as A:T-->G:C transition mutations in vivo. These results demonstrate the presence of an alkyltransferase specific for the repair of O 6-methylguanine and O 4-methylthymine in Drosophila.
O6-Alkylguanine-DNA alkyltransferase (AGT) is a widely distributed, unique DNA repair protein that acts as a single agent to directly remove alkyl groups located on the O6-position of guanine from DNA restoring the DNA in one step. The protein acts only once and its alkylated form is degraded rapidly. It is a major factor in counteracting the mutagenic, carcinogenic and cytotoxic effects of agents that form such adducts including N-nitroso-compounds and a number of cancer chemotherapeutics. This review describes the structure, function and mechanism of action of AGTs and of a family of related alkyltransferase-like proteins, which do not alone act to repair O6-alkylguanines in DNA but link repair to other pathways. The paradoxical ability of AGTs to stimulate the DNA-damaging ability of dihaloalkanes and other bis-electrophiles via the formation of AGT-DNA crosslinks is also described. Other important properties of AGTs include the ability to provide resistance to cancer therapeutic alkylating agents and the availability of AGT inhibitors such as O6-benzylguanine that might overcome this resistance is discussed. Finally, the properties of fusion proteins in which AGT sequences are linked to other proteins are outlined. Such proteins occur naturally and synthetic variants engineered to react specifically with derivatives of O6-benzylguanine are the basis of a valuable research technique for tagging proteins with specific reagents.
O6-Alkylguanine-DNA alkyltransferase (alkyltransferase) provides an important source of resistance to some cancer chemotherapeutic alkylating agents. Folate ester derivatives of O6-benzyl-2′-deoxyguanosine and of O6-[4-(hydroxymethyl)benzyl]guanine were synthesized and tested for their ability to inactivate human alkyltransferase. Inactivation of alkyltransferase by the γ folate ester of O6-[4-(hydroxymethyl)benzyl]guanine was similar to that of the parent base. The γ folate esters of O6-benzyl-2′-deoxyguanosine were more potent alkyltransferase inactivators than the parent nucleoside. The 3′ ester was considerably more potent than the 5′ ester and was more than an order of magnitude more active than O6-benzylguanine, which is currently in clinical trials to enhance therapy with alkylating agents. They were also able to sensitize human tumor cells to killing by 1,3-bis(2-chloroethyl)-1-nitrosourea with O6-benzyl-3′-O-(γ-folyl)-2′-deoxyguanosine being most active. These compounds provide a new class of highly water-soluble alkyltransferase inactivators and form the basis to construct more tumor specific and potent compounds targeting this DNA repair protein.
O6-Alkylguanine-DNA alkyltransferase (AGT) plays an important role protecting cells from alkylating agents. This reduces carcinogenesis and mutagenesis initiated by such agents but AGT also provides a major resistance mechanism to some chemotherapeutic drugs. In order to improve understanding of the AGT-mediated repair reaction and to increase understanding of the spectrum of repairable damage, we have studied the ability of AGT to repair interstrand cross-link DNA damage where the two DNA strands are joined via the guanine-O6 in each strand. An oligodeoxyribonucleotide containing a heptane cross-link was repaired with initial formation of an AGT-oligo complex and further reaction of a second AGT molecule yielding a hAGT dimer and free oligo. However, an oligodeoxyribonucleotide with a butane cross-link was a very poor substrate for AGT-mediated repair and only the first reaction to form an AGT-oligo complex could be detected. Models of the reaction of these substrates in the AGT active site show that the DNA duplex is forced apart locally to repair the first guanine. This reaction is greatly hindered with the butane cross-link, which is mostly buried in the active site pocket and limited in conformational flexibility. This limitation also prevents the adoption of a conformation for the second reaction to repair the AGT-oligo complex. These results are consistent with the postulated mechanism of AGT repair that involves DNA binding and flipping of the substrate nucleotide and indicate that hAGT can repair some types of interstrand cross-link damages.
Depletion of the DNA repair protein O(6)-alkylguanine-DNA alkyltransferase (AGT) with O(6)-benzylguanine (O(6)-BG) has been widely shown to enhance 1,3-bis(2-chloroethyl)-nitrosourea (BCNU) activity. This study aimed to determine whether temozolomide, a methylating imidazotetrazinone, would similarly benefit from combination with O(6)-BG. Seven human cell lines were examined with AGT activities ranging from <6 fmol mg-1 protein to >700 fmol mg-1 protein. Comparisons with BCNU were made on both single and multiple dosing schedules, since temozolomide cytotoxicity is highly schedule dependent. In single-dose potentiation studies, cells were preincubated with 100 microM O(6)-BG for 1 h, a treatment found to deplete AGT activity by >90% for 24 h. No potentiation of either temozolomide or BCNU cytotoxicity was observed in two glioblastoma cell lines with <6 fmol mg-1 protein AGT. In all other cell lines studied potentiation of BCNU toxicity by O(6)-BG was between 1.6- and 2.3-fold and exceeded that of temozolomide (1.1- to 1.7-fold). The magnitude of this potentiation was unrelated to AGT activity and the relative potentiation of temozolomide and BCNU cytotoxicity was found to be highly variable between cell lines. In multiple dosing studies two colorectal cell lines (Mawi and LS174T) were treated with temozolomide or BCNU at 24 h intervals for up to 5 days, with or without either 100 microM O(6)-BG for 1 h or 1 microM O(6)-BG for 24 h, commencing 1 h before alkylating treatment. Extended treatment with 1 microM O(6)-BG produced greater potentiation than intermittent treatment with 100 microM O(6)-BG. Potentiation of temozolomide cytotoxicity increased linearly in Mawi with each subsequent dosing: from 1.4-fold (day 1) to 4.2-fold (day 5) with continuous 1 microM O(6)-BG. In contrast, no potentiation was observed in LS174T, a cell line that would appear to be 'tolerant' of methylation. Potentiation of BNCU cytotoxicity increased in both cell lines with repeat dosing, although the rate of increase was less than that observed with temozolomide and continuous 1 microM O(6)-BG in Mawi. These results suggest that repeat dosing of an AGT inhibitor and temozolomide may have a clinical role in the treatment of tumours that exhibit AGT-mediated resistance.
Drug resistance to alkylator chemotherapy has been primarily attributed to the DNA repair protein alkylguanine-DNA alkyltransferase (AGT); thus, personalizing chemotherapy could be facilitated if tumor AGT content could be quantified prior to administering chemotherapy. We have been investigating the use of radiolabeled O6-benzylguanine (BG) analogues to label and quantify AGT in vivo. BG derivatives containing an azido function were sought to potentially enhance the targeting of these analogues to AGT, which is primarily present in the cell nucleus, either by conjugating them to nuclear localization sequence (NLS) peptides or by pretargeting via bioorthogonal approaches.
Two O6-(3-iodobenzyl)guanine (IBG) derivatives containing an azido moiety—O6-(4-azidohexyloxymethyl-3-iodobenzyl)guanine (AHOMIBG) and O6-(4-azido-3-iodobenzyl)guanine (AIBG)—and their tin precursors were synthesized in multiple steps and the tin precursors were converted to radioiodinated AHOMIBG and AIBG, respectively. Both unlabeled and radioiodinated AHOMIBG analogues were conjugated to alkyne-derivatized NLS peptide heptynoyl-PK3RKV. The ability of these radioiodinated compounds to bind to AGT was determined by a trichloroacetic acid precipitation assays and gel electrophoresis/phosphor imaging. Labeling of an AGT-AIBG conjugate via Staudinger ligation using the 131I-labeled phosphine ligand, 2-(diphenylphosphino)phenyl 4-[131I]iodobenzoate, also was investigated.
[131I]AHOMIBG was synthesized in two steps from its tin precursor in 52.2 ± 7.5% (n = 5) radiochemical yield and conjugated to the NLS peptide via click reaction in 50.7 ± 4.9% (n = 6) yield. The protected tin precursor of AIBG was radioiodinated in an average radiochemical yield of 69.6 ± 4.5% (n = 7); deprotection of the intermediate gave [131I]AIBG in 17.8 ± 4.2% (n = 9) yield. While both [131I]AHOMIBG and its NLS conjugate bound to AGT pure protein, their potency as a substrate for AGT was substantially lower than that of [125I]IBG. Uptake of [131I]AHOMIBG-NLS conjugate in DAOY medulloblastoma cells was up to 8-fold higher than that of [125I]IBG; however, the uptake was not changed when the cellular AGT content was first depleted with BG treatment. [131I]AIBG was almost equipotent as [125I]IBG with respect to binding to pure AGT; however, attempts to radiolabel AGT by treatment with unlabeled AIBG followed by Staudinger ligation using the radiolabeled phosphine ligand, 2-(diphenylphosphino)phenyl 4-[131I]iodobenzoate were not successful.
Although AHOMIBG, and AIBG were synthesized successfully in both unlabeled and radioiodinated forms, the radioiodinated compounds failed to label AGT either after NLS peptide conjugation or via Staundiger ligation. Currently, other bioorthogonal approaches are being evaluated for labeling AGT by pretargeting.
Alkylguanine-DNA alkyltransferase (AGT); O6-benzylguanine; Nuclear localization sequence peptide; Bioorthogonal conjugation; click chemistry; Staudinger ligation
The ability to specifically attach chemical probes to individual proteins represents a powerful approach to the study and manipulation of protein function in living cells. It provides a simple, robust and versatile approach to the imaging of fusion proteins in a wide range of experimental settings. However, a potential drawback of detection using chemical probes is the fluorescence background from unreacted or nonspecifically bound probes. In this report we present the design and application of novel fluorogenic probes for labeling SNAP-tag fusion proteins in living cells. SNAP-tag is an engineered variant of the human repair protein O6-alkylguanine-DNA alkyltransferase (hAGT) that covalently reacts with benzylguanine derivatives. Reporter groups attached to the benzyl moiety become covalently attached to the SNAP tag while the guanine acts as a leaving group. Incorporation of a quencher on the guanine group ensures that the benzylguanine probe becomes highly fluorescent only upon labeling of the SNAP-tag protein. We describe the use of intramolecularly quenched probes for wash-free labeling of cell surface-localized epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) fused to SNAP-tag and for direct quantification of SNAP-tagged β-tubulin in cell lysates. In addition, we have characterized a fast-labeling variant of SNAP-tag, termed SNAPf, which displays up to a tenfold increase in its reactivity towards benzylguanine substrates. The presented data demonstrate that the combination of SNAPf and the fluorogenic substrates greatly reduces the background fluorescence for labeling and imaging applications. This approach enables highly sensitive spatiotemporal investigation of protein dynamics in living cells.
cell imaging; covalent labeling; fluorescent probes; fluorogenic substrates; protein modifications
A major mechanism of resistance to methylating agents, including temozolomide, is the DNA repair protein O6-alkylguanine-DNA alkyltransferase (AGT). Preclinical data indicates that defective DNA mismatch repair (MMR) results in tolerance to temozolomide regardless of AGT activity. The purpose of this study was to determine the role of MMR deficiency in mediating resistance in samples from patients with both newly diagnosed malignant gliomas and those who have failed temozolomide therapy.
The roles of AGT and MMR deficiency in mediating resistance in glioblastoma multiforme were assessed by immunohistochemistry and microsatellite instability (MSI), respectively. The mutation status of the MSH6 gene, a proposed correlate of temozolomide resistance, was determined by direct sequencing and compared with data from immunofluorescent detection of MSH6 protein and reverse transcription-PCR amplification of MSH6 RNA.
Seventy percent of newly diagnosed and 78 % of failed-therapy glioblastoma multiforme samples expressed nuclear AGT protein in ≥20% of cells analyzed, suggesting alternate means of resistance in 20% to 30% of cases. Single loci MSI was observed in 3% of patient samples; no sample showed the presence of high MSI. MSI was not shown to correlate with MSH6 mutation or loss of MSH6 protein expression.
Although high AGT levels may mediate resistance in a portion of these samples, MMR deficiency does not seem to be responsible for mediating temozolomide resistance in adult malignant glioma. Accordingly, the presence of a fraction of samples exhibiting both lowAGT expression and MMR proficiency suggests that additional mechanisms of temozolomide resistance are operational in the clinic.
To most effectively treat cancer it may be necessary to preferentially destroy tumor tissue while sparing normal tissues. One strategy to accomplish this is to selectively cripple the involved tumor resistance mechanisms, thereby allowing the affected anticancer drugs to gain therapeutic efficacy. Such an approach is exemplified by our design and synthesis of the intracellular hypoxic cell activated methylating agent, 1,2-bis(methylsulfonyl)-1-methyl-2-[[1-(4-nitrophenyl)ethoxy]carbonyl]hydrazine (KS900) that targets the O-6 position of guanine in DNA. KS900 is markedly more cytotoxic in clonogenic experiments under conditions of oxygen deficiency than the non-intracellularly activated agents KS90, and 90M, when tested in O6-alkylguanine-DNA alkyltransferase (AGT) non-expressing cells (EMT6 mouse mammary carcinoma, CHO/AA8 hamster ovary, and U251 human glioma), and than temozolomide when tested in AGT expressing cells (DU145 human prostate carcinoma). Furthermore, KS900 more efficiently ablates AGT in HL-60 human leukemia and DU145 cells than the spontaneous globally activated methylating agent KS90, with an IC50 value over 9-fold lower than KS90. Finally, KS900 under oxygen-deficient conditions selectively sensitizes DU145 cells to the chloroethylating agent, onrigin, through the ablation of the resistance protein AGT. Thus, under hypoxia, KS900 is more cytotoxic at substantially lower concentrations than methylating agents such as temozolomide that are not preferentially activated in neoplastic cells by intracellular reductase catalysts. The necessity for intracellular activation of KS900 permits substantially greater cytotoxic activity against cells containing the resistance protein O6-alkylguanine-DNA alkyltransferase (AGT) than agents such as temozolomide. Furthermore, the hypoxia-directed intracellular activation of KS900 allows it to preferentially ablate AGT pools under the oxygen-deficient conditions that are present in malignant tissue.
Oxygen-deficient cells; O6-Alkylguanine-DNA alkyltransferase; 1, 2-Bis(sulfonyl)hydrazines; KS900; Onrigin™
O6-Alkylguanine-DNA alkyltransferase (AGT) repairs mutagenic O6-alkylguanine and O4-alkylthymine adducts in DNA, protecting the genome and also contributing to the resistance of tumors to chemotherapeutic alkylating agents. AGT binds DNA cooperatively, and cooperative interactions are likely to be important in lesion search and repair. We examined morphologies of complexes on long, unmodified DNAs, using analytical ultracentrifugation and atomic force microscopy. AGT formed clusters of ≤11 proteins. Longer clusters, predicted by the McGhee–von Hippel model, were not seen even at high [protein]. Interestingly, torsional stress due to DNA unwinding has the potential to limit cluster size to the observed range. DNA at cluster sites showed bend angles (∼0, ∼30 and ∼60°) that are consistent with models in which each protein induces a bend of ∼30°. Distributions of complexes along the DNA are incompatible with sequence specificity but suggest modest preference for DNA ends. These properties tell us about environments in which AGT may function. Small cooperative clusters and the ability to accommodate a range of DNA bends allow function where DNA topology is constrained, such as near DNA-replication complexes. The low sequence specificity allows efficient and unbiased lesion search across the entire genome.
Cloretazine [1, 2-bis(methylsulfonyl)-1-(2-chloroethyl)-2-[(methylamino)carbonyl]-hydrazine; VNP40101M; 101M] is a relatively new prodrug with activity in elderly acute myelogenous leukemia patients. Its therapeutic action is due largely to the production of 1-(3-cytosinyl),2-(1-guanyl)ethane cross-links (G-C ethane cross-links) in DNA. The number of cross-links produced in three experimental leukemia lines (L1210, U937 and HL-60) were fewer than 10 per genome at their respective LC50 concentrations. Only 1 in approximately 20,000 90CE molecules produce a cross-link in the AGT (O6-alkylguanine-DNA alkyltransferase) negative L1210 and U937 cell lines and 1 in 400,000 in the AGT positive HL-60 cell line.
Cloretazine; 90CE; BCNU; leukemia cell lines; O6-alkylguanine-DNA alkyltransferase; G-C ethane cross-links
This phase I trial was designed to (1) establish the dose of O6-benzylguanine (O6-BG) administered intravenously as a continuous infusion that suppresses O6-alkylguanine-DNA alkyltransferase (AGT) levels in brain tumors, (2) evaluate the safety of extending continuous-infusion O6-BG at the optimal dose with intracranially implanted carmustine wafers, and (3) measure the pharmacokinetics of O6-BG and its metabolite.
Patients and Methods
The first patient cohort (group A) received 120 mg/m2 of O6-BG over 1 hour followed by a continuous infusion for 2 days at escalating doses presurgery. Tumor samples were evaluated for AGT levels. The continuous-infusion dose that resulted in undetectable AGT levels in 11 or more of 14 patients was used in the second patient cohort. Group B received the optimal dose of O6-BG for 2, 4, 7, or 14 days after surgical implantation of the carmustine wafers. The study end point was dose-limiting toxicity (DLT).
Thirty-eight patients were accrued. In group A, 12 of 13 patients had AGT activity levels of less than 10 fmol/mg protein with a continuous-infusion O6-BG dose of 30 mg/m2/d. Group B patients were enrolled onto 2-, 4-, 7-, and 14-day continuous-infusion cohorts. One DLT of grade 3 elevation in ALT was seen. Other non-DLTs included ataxia and headache. For up to 14 days, steady-state levels of O6-BG were 0.1 to 0.4 μmol/L, and levels for O6-benzyl-8-oxoguanine were 0.7 to 1.3 μmol/L.
Systemically administered O6-BG can be coadministered with intracranially implanted carmustine wafers, without added toxicity. Future trials are required to determine if the inhibition of tumor AGT levels results in increased efficacy.
The purpose of the study was to determine the dose of O6-benzylguanine (BG) that would suppress O6-alkylguanine-DNA alkyltransferase (AGT) activity to undetectable levels in >90% of anaplastic gliomas, as measured 6 h after a 1-h BG infusion. Subjects who were scheduled for surgical resection of a known or presumed anaplastic glioma received a 1-h infusion of BG. Tumor tissue was surgically removed approximately 6 h after the end of the infusion and was analyzed for AGT activity. The BG dose was escalated until at least 11 of 14 subjects had no detectable AGT activity. An additional cohort of patients received the identified effective dose of BG approximately 18 h before tumor resection in order to compare our results with an earlier study using the longer time interval. In the 79 subjects who were enrolled, there was no significant toxicity that was attributed to the BG. A dose-response relationship was determined between the BG dose and the percentage of subjects with undetectable AGT. A dose of 120 mg/m2 suppressed AGT to less than detectable levels in 17 of 18 patients when the drug-resection interval was 6 h. With an 18-h interval, only 5 of 11 subjects had undetectable AGT at the 120-mg/m2 dose. We conclude that a BG dose of 120 mg/m2 given 6 h before an alkylating drug would be effective in suppressing AGT and possibly potentiating the cytotoxic effects of the drug.