A collection of αIIbβ3 integrin receptor antagonists
possessing a unique MIDAS metal ion displacement mechanism of action is
presented. Insight into these agents’ structure-activity relationships,
binding modality, and pharmacokinetic and pharmacodynamic profiles highlight the
potential of these small molecule ion displacement ligands as attractive
candidates for clinical development.
Human African Trypanosomiasis (HAT)
is a severe, often fatal disease
caused by the parasitic protist Trypanosoma brucei. The glycolytic pathway has been identified as the sole mechanism
for ATP generation in the infective stage of these organisms, and
several glycolytic enzymes, phosphofructokinase (PFK) in particular,
have shown promise as potential drug targets. Herein, we describe
the discovery of ML251, a novel nanomolar inhibitor of T. brucei PFK, and the structure–activity relationships
within the series.
Trypanosoma brucei; Trypanosoma
cruzi; phosphofructokinase; inhibitors; glycolysis; high-throughput screening
The aim of the current study was to investigate the association between the thickness of the retinal nerve fiber layer (RNFL) and central visual field indices in otherwise healthy myopes. In total, 57 otherwise healthy subjects were cross-sectionally studied. General ophthalmic examinations, refractive measurements, RNFL thickness by spectral domain optical coherence tomography (OCT), and central visual fields were examined. Linear models were used to assess the associations. In this young and mid-aged population, the mean spherical equivalent was −4.79 (SD 1.66) and −4.59 (SD 1.88) diopters in the right and left eyes, respectively. Approximately 7% to 14% of the eyes showed the average RNFL thickness out of the normal range. The temporal RNFL was remarkably thicker, whereas the nasal RNFL was thinner. The higher the refractive error, the thinner the RNFL thickness. A thicker overall RNFL was significantly associated with decreased mean sensitivity and increased mean defect, and further adjustments for age, sex, refractive error, optic disk area, or ocular magnification did not change the association. Although nonpathologic myopia does not significantly affect central visual field global indices, its effects on the RNFL may be linked with performance on the central visual field test.
Functional characterization of a protein sequence is one of the most frequent problems in biology. This task is usually facilitated by accurate three-dimensional (3-D) structure of the studied protein. In the absence of an experimentally determined structure, comparative or homology modeling can sometimes provide a useful 3-D model for a protein that is related to at least one known protein structure. Comparative modeling predicts the 3-D structure of a given protein sequence (target) based primarily on its alignment to one or more proteins of known structure (templates). The prediction process consists of fold assignment, target-template alignment, model building, and model evaluation. This unit describes how to calculate comparative models using the program MODELLER and discusses all four steps of comparative modeling, frequently observed errors, and some applications. Modeling lactate dehydrogenase from Trichomonas
vaginalis (TvLDH) is described as an example. The download and installation of the MODELLER software is also described.
Modeller; protein structure; comparative modeling; structure prediction; protein fold
Osteoporotic vertebral fractures (OVFs) are the common disease found in elderly population. Neurological deficit in OVFs is rare despite the involved posterior cortex of the fractured vertebral body, severe kyphotic deformity, or the instability at the fracture site. OVF with resulting neurological deficit was considered as a contraindication for vertebral augmentation techniques. We reported a rare case of a 75-year-old woman with L1, L2 osteoporotic vertebral fractures and L5/S1 disc herniation who presented with back pain and radicular pain extending along the posterior aspect of the left leg. Physical examination showed slight weakness of her flexor hallucis longus and absence of ankle jerk on her left leg. The result of a straight leg-raising test was limited to an angle of 50 degrees. The radiographs showed that the nerve root was compressed by the retropulsed bone fragment of the L2 vertebral body and a herniated disc at the level of L5/S1 on the left side. After L1 and L2 kyphoplasty the radicular pain as well as the back pain was completely disappeared. At her two-year follow-up examination, the patient was completely symptom free and reported no radicular pain. This case suggested that minimally invasive techniques such as kyphoplasty or vertebroplasty are effective in certain OVF patients with neurological deficit. Radicular pain could be caused by osteoporotic fracture that involves the posterior cortex of the vertebral body. Understanding the anatomy of nerve roots and pathogenetic mechanism of radicular pain is particularly important for treatment option.
Osteoporotic vertebral fractures; disc herniation; radicular pain; percutaneous kyphoplasty
Yes1 kinase has been implicated as a potential therapeutic target in a number of cancers including melanomas, breast cancers, and rhabdomyosarcomas. Described here is the development of a robust and miniaturized biochemical assay for Yes1 kinase that was applied in a high throughput screen (HTS) of kinase-focused small molecule libraries. The HTS provided 144 (17% hit rate) small molecule compounds with IC50 values in the sub-micromolar range. Three of the most potent Yes1 inhibitors were then examined in a cell-based assay for inhibition of cell survival in rhabdomyosarcoma cell lines. Homology models of Yes1 were generated in active and inactive conformations, and docking of inhibitors supports binding to the active conformation (DFG-in) of Yes1. This is the first report of a large high throughput enzymatic activity screen for identification of Yes1 kinase inhibitors, thereby elucidating the polypharmacology of a variety of small molecules and clinical candidates.
Yes1; kinase; screening; HTS; small molecule; inhibitor; rhabdomyosarcoma
Glutaminase catalyzes the hydrolysis of glutamine to glutamate and plays a central role in the proliferation of neoplastic cells via glutaminolysis, as well as in the generation of excitotoxic glutamate in central nervous system disorders such as HIV-associated dementia (HAD) and multiple sclerosis. Both glutaminase siRNA and glutaminase inhibition have been shown to be effective in in vitro models of cancer and HAD, suggesting a potential role for small molecule glutaminase inhibitors. However, there are no potent, selective inhibitors of glutaminase currently available. The two prototypical glutaminase inhibitors, BPTES and DON, are either insoluble or non-specific. In a search for more drug-like glutaminase inhibitors, we conducted a screen of 1280 in vivo active drugs (Library of Pharmacologically Active Compounds (LOPAC1280)) and identified ebselen, chelerythrine and (R)-apomorphine. The newly identified inhibitors exhibited 10 to 1500-fold greater affinities than DON and BPTES and over 100-fold increased efficiency of inhibition. Although non-selective, it is noteworthy that the affinity of ebselen for glutaminase is more potent than any other activity yet described. It is possible that the previously reported biological activity seen with these compounds is due, in part, to glutaminase inhibition. Ebselen, chelerythrine and apomorphine complement the armamentarium of compounds to explore the role of glutaminase in disease.
Cancer; HIV-associated dementia (HAD); Glutamate; Glutamine; Glutaminase; Kinetics
Substituted pyrimidine inhibitors of the Clk and Dyrk kinases have been developed, exploring structure-activity relationships around four different chemotypes. The most potent compounds have low-nanomolar inhibitory activity against Clk1, Clk2, Clk4, Dyrk1A and Dyrk1B. Kinome scans with 442 kinases using agents representing three of the chemotypes show these inhibitors to be highly selective for the Clk and Dyrk families. Further off-target pharmacological evaluation with ML315, the most selective agent, supports this conclusion.
Clk; Dyrk; Kinase inhibitor; Splicing; Pyrimidine
AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK) has recently emerged as a potential target for cancer therapy due to the observation that activation of AMPK inhibits tumor cell growth. It is well-known that androgen receptor (AR) signaling is a major driver for the development and progression of prostate cancer and that downregulation of AR is a critical step in the induction of apoptosis in prostate cancer cells. However, little is known about the potential interaction between AMPK and AR signaling pathways. In the current study, we showed that activation of AMPK by metformin caused decrease of AR protein level through suppression of AR mRNA expression and promotion of AR protein degradation, demonstrating that AMPK activation is upstream of AR downregulation. We also showed that inhibition of AR function by an anti-androgen or its siRNA enhanced AMPK activation and growth inhibition whereas overexpression of AR delayed AMPK activation and increased prostate cancer cellular resistance to metformin treatment, suggesting that AR suppresses AMPK signaling-mediated growth inhibition in a feedback mechanism. Our findings thus reveal a novel AMPK-AR regulatory loop in prostate cancer cells and should have a potential clinical significance.
AMP-activated protein kinase; Androgen receptor; Prostate cancer; Metformin; Apoptosis
Drug repurposing or repositioning is an important part of drug discovery that has been growing in the last few years for the development of therapeutic options in oncology. We applied this paradigm in a screening of a library of about 3,800 compounds (including FDA-approved drugs and pharmacologically active compounds) employing a model of metastatic pheochromocytoma, the most common tumor of the adrenal medulla in children and adults. The collection of approved drugs was screened in quantitative mode, testing the compounds in compound-titration series (dose-response curves). Analysis of the dose-response screening data facilitated the selection of 50 molecules with potential bioactivity in pheochromocytoma cells. These drugs were classified based on molecular/cellular targets and signaling pathways affected, and selected drugs were further validated in a proliferation assay and by flow cytometric cell death analysis. Using meta-analysis information from molecular targets of the top drugs identified by our screening with gene expression data from human and murine microarrays, we identified potential drugs to be used as single drugs or in combination. An example of a combination with a synergistic effect is presented. Our study exemplifies a promising model to identify potential drugs from a group of clinically approved compounds that can more rapidly be implemented into clinical trials in patients with metastatic pheochromocytoma or paraganglioma.
Trichloroethylene (TCE) has been associated with a variety of immunotoxic effects and may be associated with an increased risk of non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL). Altered serum immunoglobulin (Ig) levels have been reported in NHL patients and in animals exposed to TCE. Recently, we reported that occupational exposure to TCE is associated with immunosuppressive effects and immune dysfunction, including suppression of B-cell counts and activation, even at relatively low levels. We hypothesized that TCE exposure would also affect Ig levels in humans. We measured serum levels of IgG, IgM and IgE, by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay, in TCE-exposed workers (n = 80) and unexposed controls (n = 45), matched by age and gender, in a cross-sectional, molecular epidemiology study of occupational exposure to TCE in Guangdong, China. Exposed workers had about a 17.5% decline in serum levels of IgG compared with unexposed controls (P = 0.0002). Similarly, serum levels of IgM were reduced by about 38% in workers exposed to TCE compared with unexposed controls (P < 0.0001). Serum levels of both IgG and IgM were significantly decreased in workers exposed to TCE levels below 12 p.p.m., the median exposure level. Adjustment for B-cell counts had minimal impact on our findings. IgE levels were not significantly different between exposed and control subjects. These results provide further evidence that TCE is immunotoxic at relatively low exposure levels and provide additional biologic plausibility for the reported association of TCE with NHL.
Recent genetic and clinical evidence has implicated glucokinase regulatory protein (GKRP) in the pathogenesis of type 2 diabetes and related traits. The primary role of GKRP is to bind and inhibit hepatic glucokinase (GCK), a critically important protein in human health and disease that exerts a significant degree of control over glucose metabolism. As activation of GCK has been associated with improved glucose tolerance, perturbation of the GCK-GKRP interaction represents a potential therapeutic target for pharmacological modulation. Recent structural and kinetic advances are beginning to provide insight into the interaction of these two proteins. However, tools to comprehensively assess the GCK-GKRP interaction, particularly in the context of small molecules, would be a valuable resource. We therefore developed three robust and miniaturized assays for assessing the interaction between recombinant human GCK and GKRP: an HTRF assay, a diaphorase-coupled assay, and a luciferase-coupled assay. The assays are complementary, featuring distinct mechanisms of detection (luminescence, fluorescence, FRET). Two assays rely on GCK enzyme activity modulation by GKRP while the FRET-based assay measures the GCK-GKRP protein-protein interaction independent of GCK enzymatic substrates and activity. All three assays are scalable to low volumes in 1536-well plate format, with robust Z’ factors (>0.7). Finally, as GKRP sequesters GCK in the hepatocyte nucleus at low glucose concentrations, we explored cellular models of GCK localization and translocation. Previous findings from freshly isolated rat hepatocytes were confirmed in cryopreserved rat hepatocytes, and we further extended this study to cryopreserved human hepatocytes. Consistent with previous reports, there were several key differences between the rat and human systems, with our results suggesting that human hepatocytes can be used to interrogate GCK translocation in response to small molecules. The assay panel developed here should help direct future investigation of the GCK-GKRP interaction in these or other physiologically relevant human systems.
Formaldehyde is used in many occupational settings, most notably in manufacturing, health care, and embalming. Formaldehyde has been classified as a human carcinogen, but its mechanism of action remains uncertain.
We carried out a cross-sectional study of 43 formaldehyde exposed-workers and 51 unexposed age and sex-matched controls in Guangdong, China to study formaldehyde’s early biologic effects. To follow-up our previous report that the total lymphocyte count was decreased in formaldehyde-exposed workers compared to controls, we evaluated each major lymphocyte subset (i.e., CD4+ T cells, CD8+ T cells, natural killer (NK) cells, and B cells) and T cell lymphocyte subset (CD4+ naïve and memory T cells, CD8+ naïve and memory T cells, and regulatory T cells). Linear regression of each subset was used to test for differences between exposed workers and controls, adjusting for potential confounders.
Total NK cell and T cell counts were about 24% (p=0.037) and 16% (p=0.0042) lower, respectively, among exposed workers. Among certain T cell subsets, decreased counts among exposed workers were observed for CD8+ T cells (p=0.026), CD8+ effector memory T cells (p=0.018), and regulatory T cells (CD4+FoxP3+: p=0.04; CD25+FoxP3+: p=0.008).
Formaldehyde exposed-workers experienced decreased counts of NK cells, regulatory T cells, and CD8+ effector memory T cells; however, due to the small sample size these findings need to be confirmed in larger studies.
formaldehyde; NK cell; B cell; T cell; T cell subset
The importance of the trifluoromethyl group in the polypharmacological profile of nilotinib was investigated. Molecular editing of nilotinib led to the design, synthesis and biological evaluation of analogues where the trifluoromethyl group was replaced by a proton, fluorine and a methyl group. While these analogues were less active than nilotinib toward Abl, their activity toward Kit was comparable, with the monofluorinated analogue being the most active. Docking of nilotinib and of analogues 2a–c to the binding pocket of Abl and of Kit showed that the lack of shape complementarity in Kit is compensated by the stabilizing effect from its juxtamembrane region.
CML; Kit; Abl; kinase; molecular editing
Pachydermoperiostosis is a rare, hereditary disease commonly presenting with digital clubbing, pachydermia and periosteal hypertrophy. Therapeutic options for pachydermoperiostosis are few because of the unknown pathogenesis. Here, we report the complicated case of a patient with pachydermoperiostosis combined with spondyloarthritides, who was refractory to steroids and tumor necrosis factor alpha antagonists. We treated this patient with zoledronic acid and performed an arthroscopic synovectomy, with a satisfactory outcome. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first report in English on the combination of zoledronic acid administration and synovectomy for the treatment of a patient with pachydermoperiostosis and spondyloarthritides.
An 18-year-old Han Chinese man was diagnosed with pachydermoperiostosis in the presence of digital clubbing, periostitis and swollen limbs. Combined spondyloarthritides was also considered based on his lower back pain, lower limbs synovitis, bilateral sacroiliac sclerosis and a positive test for human leukocyte antigen B27, as well as immunoglobulin A nephropathy. He was refractory to steroids and tumor necrosis factor alpha antagonists, but treated with intravenous zoledronic acid and an arthroscopic synovectomy, with a satisfactory outcome.
This is a rare, complicated case of pachydermoperiostosis with spondyloarthritides. Combination therapy of zoledronic acid administration with synovectomy is a novel, convenient and effective option for patients with pachydermoperiostosis with remarkable synovitis.
Bisphosphonate; Pachydermoperiostosis; Spondyloarthritides; Synovectomy; Zoledronic acid
The neural ganglioside GD2 has recently been reported to be a novel surface marker that is only expressed on human bone marrow mesenchymal stem cells within normal marrow. In this study, an MRI-visible, targeted, non-viral vector for effective gene delivery to human bone marrow mesenchymal stem cells was first synthesized by attaching a targeting ligand, the GD2 single chain antibody (scAbGD2), to the distal ends of PEG-g-PEI-SPION. The targeted vector was then used to condense plasmid DNA to form nanoparticles showing stable small size, low cytotoxicity, and good biocompatibility. Based on a reporter gene assay, the transfection efficiency of targeting complex reached the highest value at 59.6% ± 4.5% in human bone marrow mesenchymal stem cells, which was higher than those obtained using nontargeting complex and lipofectamine/pDNA (17.7% ± 2.9% and 34.9% ± 3.6%, respectively) (P<0.01). Consequently, compared with the nontargeting group, more in vivo gene expression was observed in the fibrotic rat livers of the targeting group. Furthermore, the targeting capacity of scAbGD2-PEG-g-PEI-SPION was successfully verified in vitro by confocal laser scanning microscopy, Prussian blue staining, and magnetic resonance imaging. Our results indicate that scAbGD2-PEG-g-PEI-SPION is a promising MRI-visible non-viral vector for targeted gene delivery to human bone marrow mesenchymal stem cells.
Chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) is an adult lymphoid malignancy with a variable clinical course. There is considerable interest in the identification of new treatments, as most current approaches are not curative. While most patients respond to initial chemotherapy, relapsed disease is often resistant to the drugs commonly used in CLL and patients are left with limited therapeutic options. In this study, we used a luminescent cell viability assay based on ATP levels to find compounds that were potent and efficacious in killing CLL cells. We employed an in-house process of quantitative high throughput screening (qHTS) to assess 8 concentrations of each member of a 2,816 compound library (including FDA-approved drugs and those known to be bio-active from commercial suppliers). Using qHTS we generated potency values on each compound in lymphocytes donated from each of six individuals with CLL and five unaffected individuals. We found 102 compounds efficacious against cells from all six individuals with CLL (“consensus” drugs) with five of these showing low or no activity on lymphocytes from a majority of normal donors, suggesting some degree of specificity for the leukemic cells. To our knowledge, this is the first study to screen a drug library against primary CLL cells to identify candidate agents for anti-cancer therapy. The results presented here offer possibilities for the development of novel drug candidates for therapeutic uses to treat CLL and other diseases.
The ubiquitin–proteasome system (UPS) degrades 80 – 90% of intracellular proteins. Cancer cells take advantage of the UPS for their increased growth and decreased apoptotic cell death. Thus, the components that make up the UPS represent a diverse group of potential anti-cancer targets. The success of the first-in-class proteasome inhibitor bortezomib not only proved that the proteasome is a feasible and valuable anti-cancer target, but also inspired researchers to extensively explore other potential targets of this pathway.
This review provides a broad overview of the UPS and its role in supporting cancer development and progression, especially in aspects of p53 inactivation, p27 turnover and NF-κB activation. Also, efforts toward the development of small molecule inhibitors (SMIs) targeting different steps in this pathway for cancer treatment are reviewed and discussed.
Whereas some of the targets in the UPS, such as the 20S pro-teasome, Nedd8 activating enzyme and HDM2, have been well-established and validated, there remains a large pool of candidates waiting to be investigated. Development of SMIs targeting the UPS has been largely facilitated by state-of-the-art technologies such as high-throughput screening and computer-assisted drug design, both of which require a better understanding of the targets of interest.
cancer therapy; deubiquitinases; E3 ligases; proteasome; small molecule inhibitors; ubiquitin
Firefly luciferase (FLuc) is frequently used as a reporter in high-throughput screening assays owing to the exceptional sensitivity, dynamic range, and rapid measurement that bioluminescence affords. However, interaction of small molecules with FLuc has, to some extent, confounded its use in chemical biology and drug discovery. To identify and characterize chemotypes interacting with FLuc, we determined potency values for 360,864 compounds, found in the NIH Molecular Libraries Small Molecule Repository, available in PubChem. FLuc inhibitory activity was observed for 12% of this library with discernible SAR. Characterization of 151 inhibitors demonstrated a variety of inhibition modes including FLuc-catalyzed formation of multisubstrate-adduct enzyme inhibitor complexes. As in some cell-based FLuc reporter assays compounds acting as FLuc inhibitors yield paradoxical luminescence increases, data on compounds acquired from FLuc-dependent assays requires careful analysis as described in this report.
profiling; PubChem; luciferase; quantitative high-throughput screening; qHTS; firefly luciferase; reporter-gene assays; adenylate forming enzymes
Prostate cancer; metal; arsenic; cadmium; copper; lead; zinc; proteasome activity; erythrocyte