AIM: To describe protease serine 1 (PRSS1) gene mutations in patients with autoimmune pancreatitis (AIP) and the clinical features of AIP.
METHODS: Fourteen patients with AIP, 56 with other chronic pancreatitis, 254 with pancreatic cancer and 120 normal controls were studied. The mutations and polymorphisms of four genes involved with pancreatitis or pancreatic cancer, PRSS1, SPINK1, CFTR and MEN1, were sequenced. The pathogenic mechanism of AIP was investigated by comparing the wild-type expression system with the p.81Leu→Met mutant expression system.
RESULTS: Two novel mutations (p.81Leu→Met and p.91Ala→Ala) were found in PRSS1 gene from four patients with AIP. PRSS1_p.81Leu→Met mutation led to a trypsin display reduction (76.2%) combined with phenyl agarose (Ca2+ induced failure). Moreover, the ratio of trypsin/amylase in patients with AIP was higher than in the patients with pancreatic cancer and other pancreatitis. A large number of lymphocytes and plasma cells were found in the bile ducts accompanied by hyperplasia of myofibroblasts.
CONCLUSION: Autoimmune pancreatitis may be related to PRSS1 gene mutations.
Autoimmune pancreatitis; Molecular mechanism; p.81Leu→Met; PRSS1
The Notch pathway plays a crucial role in cell fate decisions through controlling various cellular processes. Overactive Notch signal contributes to cancer development from leukemias to solid tumors. γ-Secretase is an intramembrane protease responsible for the final proteolytic step of Notch that releases the membrane-tethered Notch fragment for signaling. Therefore, γ-secretase is an attractive drug target in treating Notch-mediated cancers. However, the absence of high-throughput γ-secretase assay using Notch substrate has limited the identification and development of γ-secretase inhibitors that specifically target the Notch signaling pathway. Here, we report on the development of a 1536-well γ-secretase assay using a biotinylated recombinant Notch1 substrate. We effectively assimilated and miniaturized this newly developed Notch1 substrate with the AlphaLISA detection technology and demonstrated its robustness with a calculated Z’ score of 0.66. We further validated this optimized assay by performing a pilot screening against a chemical library consisting of ~5,600 chemicals and identified known γ-secretase inhibitors e.g. DAPT, and Calpeptin; as well as a novel γ-secretase inhibitor referred to as KD-I-085. This assay is the first reported 1536-well AlphaLISA format and represents a novel high-throughput Notch1-γ-secretase assay, which provides an unprecedented opportunity to discover Notch-selective γ-secretase inhibitors that can be potentially used for the treatment of cancer and other human disorders.
Alzheimer disease; AlphaLISA; cancer; γ-secretase; γ-secretase modulators; Notch signaling
The “Notch-sparing” γ-secretase inhibitor (GSI) BMS-708,163 (Avagacestat) is currently in phase II clinical trials for Alzheimer’s disease. Unlike previously failed GSIs, BMS-708,163 is considered to be a promising drug candidate due to its reported Notch-sparing activity for the inhibition of Aβ production over Notch cleavage. We now report that BMS-708,163 binds directly to PS1-NTF, and that binding can be competed by other pan-GSIs, but not by γ-secretase modulators (GSMs). Furthermore, BMS-708,163 blocks the binding of four different active site-directed GSI photoaffinity probes. We therefore report that this compound acts as a non-selective γ-secretase inhibitor.
We have developed clickable active site-directed photoaffinity probes for γ-secretase which incorporate a photoreactive benzophenone group and an alkyne handle for subsequent click chemistry mediated conjugation with azide-linked reporter tags for visualization (e.g., TAMRA-azide) or enrichment (e.g., biotin-azide) of labeled proteins. Specifically, we synthesized clickable analogs of L646 (2) and L505 (3) and validated specific labeling to presenilin 1 N-terminal fragment (PS1-NTF), the active site aspartyl protease component within the γ-secretase complex. Additionally we were able to also identify signal peptide peptidase (SPP) by Western blot analysis. Furthermore, we analyzed the photo-labeled proteins in an unbiased fashion by click chemistry with TAMRA-azide followed by in-gel fluorescence detection. This approach expands the utility of γ-secretase inhibitor (GSI) photoaffinity probes in that labeled proteins can be tagged with any number of azide-linked reporters groups using a single clickable photoaffinity probe for target pull down and/or fluorescent imaging applications.
γ-Secretase; Photoaffinity labeling; Click chemistry; Clickable photoprobe; Alzheimer’s disease
Aβ42 is believed to play a causative role in Alzheimer’s disease (AD) pathogenesis. γ-Secretase modulators (GSMs) are actively being pursued as potential AD therapeutics because they selectively alter the cleavage site of the amyloid precursor protein (APP) to reduce the formation of Aβ42. However, the binding partner of acid based GSMs was unresolved until now. We have developed clickable photoaffinity probes based on piperidine acetic acid GSM-1 and identified PS1 as the target within the γ-secretase complex. Furthermore, we provide evidence that allosteric interaction of GSMs with PS1 results in a conformational change in the active site of the γ-secretase complex leading to the observed modulation of γ-secretase activity.
Aβ42 is believed to play a causative role in Alzheimer’s
disease (AD) pathogenesis. γ-Secretase modulators (GSMs) are
actively being pursued as potential AD therapeutics because they selectively
alter the cleavage site of the amyloid precursor protein (APP) to
reduce the formation of Aβ42. However, the binding partner of
acid based GSMs was unresolved until now. We have developed clickable
photoaffinity probes based on piperidine acetic acid GSM-1 and identified
PS1 as the target within the γ-secretase complex. Furthermore,
we provide evidence that allosteric interaction of GSMs with PS1 results
in a conformational change in the active site of the γ-secretase
complex leading to the observed modulation of γ-secretase activity.
Alzheimer's disease; presenilin; γ-secretase modulator; GSM-1; click chemistry; photoaffinity labeling
The stereoselective synthesis of novel photoreactive γ-secretase inhibitors 2 and 3 has been achieved. Key steps of the strategy involve preparation of α-N-Boc-epoxide 8 and formation of lactone 14 in a practical and stereo-controlled fashion. Compounds 2 and 3 are potent γ-secretase inhibitors and directly interact with presenilin-1, a catalytic subunit of γ-secretase.
Because Notch signaling is implicated in colon cancer tumorigenesis and protects from apoptosis by inducing pro-survival targets, it was hypothesized that inhibition of Notch signaling with gamma-secretase inhibitors (GSIs) may enhance the chemosensitivity of colon cancer cells. We first show that the Notch-1 receptor and its downstream target Hes-1 is upregulated with colon cancer progression, similar to other genes involved in chemoresistance. We then report that chemotherapy induces Notch-1, as oxaliplatin, fluorouracil (5-FU), or SN-38 (the active metabolite of irinotecan), induced Notch-1 Intracellular Domain (NICD) protein and activated Hes-1. Induction of NICD was caused by an increase in the gamma-secretase protein subunits, nicastrin and presenilin-1, as suppression of nicastrin with small interfering RNA (siRNA) prevented NICD induction after oxaliplatin. Subsequent, inhibition of Notch-1 signaling with a sulfonamide GSI (GSI34) prevented the induction of NICD by chemotherapy and blunted Hes-1 activation. Blocking the activation of Notch signaling with GSI34 sensitized cells to chemotherapy and was synergistic with oxaliplatin, 5-FU, and SN-38. This chemosensitization was mediated by Notch-1, as inhibition of Notch-1 with siRNA, enhanced chemosensitivity whereas overexpression of NICD increased chemoresistance. Downregulation of Notch signaling also prevented the induction of pro-survival pathways, most notably PI3K/Akt, after oxaliplatin. In summary, colon cancer cells may upregulate Notch-1 as a protective mechanism in response to chemotherapy. Therefore, combining GSIs with chemotherapy may represent a novel approach for treating metastatic colon cancers by mitigating the development of chemoresistance.
Notch; oxaliplatin; colon; chemosensitivity; Akt
Increase in the generation and deposition of amyloid-β (Aβ) plays a central role in the development of Alzheimer's Disease (AD). Elevation of the activity of γ-secretase, a key enzyme required for the generation for Aβ, can thus be a potential risk factor in AD. However, it is not known whether γ-secretase can be upregulated in vivo. While in vitro studies showed that expression of all four components of γ-secretase (Nicastrin, Presenilin, Pen-2 and Aph-1) are required for upregulation of γ-secretase, it remains to be established as to whether this is true in vivo. To investigate whether overexpressing a single component of the γ-secretase complex is sufficient to elevate its level and activity in the brain, we analyzed transgenic mice expressing either wild type or familial AD (fAD) associated mutant PS1. In contrast to cell culture studies, overexpression of either wild type or mutant PS1 is sufficient to increase levels of Nicastrin and Pen-2, and elevate the level of active γ-secretase complex, enzymatic activity of γ-secretase and the deposition of Aβ in brains of mice. Importantly, γ-secretase comprised of mutant PS1 is less active than that of wild type PS1-containing γ-secretase; however, γ-secretase comprised of mutant PS1 cleaves at the Aβ42 site of APP-CTFs more efficiently than at the Aβ40 site, resulting in greater accumulation of Aβ deposits in the brain. Our data suggest that whereas fAD-linked PS1 mutants cause early onset disease, upregulation of PS1/γ-secretase activity may be a risk factor for late onset sporadic AD.
In the title compound, C8H7ClN4S2, the thiazole ring is essentially planar [r.m.s. deviation = 0.0011 (2) Å] and conformation of the thiazolidine ring is twisted on the C—C bond. The C=N bond has a Z configuration.
Caspase activation, the executing event of apoptosis, is under deliberate regulation. IAP proteins inhibit caspase activity whereas Smac/Diablo antagonizes IAP. XIAP, a ubiquitous IAP, can inhibit both caspase-9, the initiator caspase of the mitochondrial apoptotic pathway, and the downstream effector caspases, caspase-3 and caspase-7. Smac neutralizes XIAP inhibition of caspase-9 by competing for binding of the BIR3 domain of XIAP with caspase-9, whereas how Smac liberates effector caspases from XIAP inhibition is not clear. It is generally believed that binding of Smac with IAP generates a steric hindrance that prevents XIAP from inhibiting effector caspases, and therefore small molecule mimics of Smac are not able to reverse inhibition of the effector caspases. Surprisingly, we show here that binding of a dimeric Smac N-terminal peptide with the BIR2 domain of XIAP effectively antagonizes inhibition of caspase-3 by XIAP. Further, we defined the dynamic and cooperative interaction of Smac with XIAP: binding of Smac with the BIR3 domain anchors the subsequent binding of Smac with the BIR2 domain, which in turn attenuates the caspase-3-inhibitory function of XIAP. We also show that XIAP homotrimerizes via its C-terminal Ring domain, making its inhibitory activity towards caspase-3 more susceptible to Smac.
γ-Secretase is a widely expressed multi-subunit enzyme complex which is involved in the pathogenesis of Alzheimer disease and hematopoietic malignancies through its aberrant processing of the amyloid precursor protein (APP) and Notch1, respectively. While γ-secretase has been extensively studied, there is a dearth of information surrounding the activity, composition, and function of γ-secretase expressed in distinct cellular populations. Here we show that endogenous γ-secretase complexes of hematopoietic origin are distinct from epithelial derived γ-secretase complexes. Hematopoietic γ-secretase has reduced activity for APP and Notch1 processing compared to epithelial γ-secretase. Characterization of the active complexes with small molecule affinity probes reveals that hematopoietic γ-secretase has an atypical subunit composition with significantly altered subunit stoichiometry. Furthermore, we demonstrate that these discrete complexes exhibit cell-line specific substrate selectivity suggesting a possible mechanism of substrate regulation. These data underscore the need for studying endogenous γ-secretase to fully understand of the biology of γ-secretase and its complexity as a molecular target for the development of disease therapeutics.
Cancer stem cells (CSCs) are thought to be critical for the engraftment and long-term growth of many tumors, including glioblastoma (GBM). The cells are at least partially spared by traditional chemotherapies and radiation therapies, and finding new treatments that can target CSCs may be critical for improving patient survival. It has been shown that the NOTCH signaling pathway regulates normal stem cells in the brain, and that GBMs contain stem-like cells with higher NOTCH activity. We therefore used low-passage and established GBM-derived neurosphere cultures to examine the overall requirement for NOTCH activity, and also examined the effects on tumor cells expressing stem cell markers. NOTCH blockade by γ-secretase inhibitors (GSIs) reduced neurosphere growth and clonogenicity in vitro, whereas expression of an active form of NOTCH2 increased tumor growth. The putative CSC markers CD133, NESTIN, BMI1, and OLIG2 were reduced following NOTCH blockade. When equal numbers of viable cells pretreated with either vehicle (dimethyl sulfoxide) or GSI were injected subcutaneously into nude mice, the former always formed tumors, whereas the latter did not. In vivo delivery of GSI by implantation of drug-impregnated polymer beads also effectively blocked tumor growth, and significantly prolonged survival, albeit in a relatively small cohort of animals. We found that NOTCH pathway inhibition appears to deplete stem-like cancer cells through reduced proliferation and increased apoptosis associated with decreased AKT and STAT3 phosphorylation. In summary, we demonstrate that NOTCH pathway blockade depletes stem-like cells in GBMs, suggesting that GSIs may be useful as chemotherapeutic reagents to target CSCs in malignant gliomas.
Cancer Stem Cell; NOTCH; Glioblastoma; γ-Secretase inhibitor
Aberrant activation of the Notch signaling pathway is commonly observed in human pancreatic cancer, although the mechanisms for this activation have not been elucidated.
A panel of 20 human pancreatic cancer cell lines was profiled for the expression of Notch pathway related ligands, receptors and target genes. Disruption of intracellular Notch signaling – either genetically by RNA interference targeting NOTCH1 or pharmacologically by means of the gamma secretase inhibitor GSI-18, was used for assessing requirement of Notch signaling in pancreatic cancer initiation and maintenance.
Striking overexpression of Notch ligand transcripts was detectable in the vast majority of pancreatic cancer cell lines, most prominently, JAGGED2 (18/20 cases; 90%) and DLL4 (10/20 cases; 50%). In two cell lines, genomic amplification of the DLL3 locus was observed, mirrored by overexpression of DLL3 transcripts. In contrast, coding region mutations of NOTCH1 or NOTCH2 were not observed. Genetic and pharmacological inhibition of Notch signaling mitigated anchorage independent growth in pancreatic cancer cells, confirming that sustained Notch activation is a requirement for pancreatic cancer maintenance. Further, transient pre-treatment of pancreatic cancer cells with GSI-18 resulted in depletion in the proportion of tumor-initiating aldehyde dehydrogenase (ALDH)-expressing subpopulation, and was associated with inhibition of colony formation in vitro and xenograft engraftment in vivo, underscoring a requirement for the Notch-dependent ALDH-expressing cells in pancreatic cancer initiation.
Our studies confirm that Notch activation is almost always ligand-dependent in pancreatic cancer, and inhibition of Notch signaling is a promising therapeutic strategy in this malignancy.
Pancreatic cancer; Notch; NOTCH-1; gamma secretase inhibitor; aldehyde dehydrogenase; tumor initiating cells
Rhomboid, a polytopic membrane serine protease, represents a unique class of proteases that cleave substrates within the transmembrane domain. Elucidating the mechanism of this extraordinary catalysis comes with inherent challenges related to membrane-associated peptide hydrolysis. Here we established a system that allows expression and isolation of YqgP, a rhomboid homolog from Bacillus Subtilis, as a soluble protein. Intriguingly, soluble YqgP is able to specifically cleave a peptide substrate that contains the transmembrane domain of Spitz. Mutation of the catalytic dyad abolished protease activity, and substitution of another highly conserved residue Asn241 with Ala or Asp significantly reduced the catalytic efficiency of YqgP. We have identified the cleavage site that resides in the middle of the transmembrane domain of Spitz. Replacement of two residues that contribute the scissile bond by Ala did not eliminate cleavage, rather led to additional or alternative cleavages. Moreover, we have demonstrated that soluble YqgP exists as oligomers that are required for catalytic activity. These results suggest that soluble oligomers of MBP-YqgP form micelle-like structures that are able to retain the active conformation of the protease for catalysis. Therefore, this work not only provides a unique system to elucidate the reaction mechanism of rhomboid, but will also facilitate the characterization of other intramembrane proteases as well as non-protease membrane proteins.
γ-Secretase is an aspartyl protease that cleaves multiple substrates that are involved in broad biological processes ranging from stem cell development to neurodegeneration. The investigation of γ-secretase has been limited by currently available assays that require genetic or biochemical manipulation in the form of substrate transfection or membrane preparation. Here we report an exo-cell assay that is capable of characterizing γ-secretase activity in any cellular system without limitation. Using a highly active, recombinant substrate this assay can quickly and easily ascertain the status of γ-secretase activity in cell systems and patient samples. We have applied this method to determine the activity of γ-secretase in primary cell samples where transfection and/or membrane isolation are not viable options. Importantly, it allows for the detection of real time γ-secretase activity after inhibitor or drug treatment. The application of this assay to determine the role of γ-secretase in physiological and pathological conditions will greatly facilitate our characterization of this complex protease and help in the development and evaluation of γ-secretase-targeted therapies in Alzheimer's disease or a variety of neoplasms.
The Notch signaling pathway plays important roles in cell fate determination during embryonic development and adult life. In this study, we focus on the role of Notch signaling in governing cell fate choices in human embryonic stem (hES) cells. Using genetic and pharmacological approaches, we achieved both blockade and conditional activation of Notch signaling in several hES cell lines. We report here that activation of Notch signaling is required for undifferentiated hES cells to form the progeny of all three embryonic germ layers, but not trophoblast cells. In addition, transient Notch signaling pathway activation enhanced generation of hematopoietic cells from committed hES cells. These new insights into the roles of Notch in hES cell fate determination may help to efficiently direct hES cell differentiation into therapeutically relevant cell types.
Notch; HES; ES cells; cell fate; pluripotency; self-renew; differentiation; trophoblast
Alzheimer disease (AD) is an age-related disorder. Aging and female gender are two important risk factors associated with sporadic AD. However, the mechanism by which aging and gender contribute to the pathogenesis of sporadic AD is unclear. It is well known that genetic mutations in γ-secretase result in rare forms of early onset AD due to the aberrant production of Aβ42 peptides, which are the major constituents of senile plaques. However, the effect of age and gender on γ-secretase has not been fully investigated. Here, using normal wild-type mice, we show mouse brain γ-secretase exhibits gender- and age-dependent activity. Both male and female mice exhibit increased Aβ42∶Aβ40 ratios in aged brain, which mimics the effect of familial mutations of Presenilin-1, Presenlin-2, and the amyloid precursor protein on Aβ production. Additionally, female mice exhibit much higher γ-secretase activity in aged brain compared to male mice. Furthermore, both male and female mice exhibit a steady decline in Notch1 γ-secretase activity with aging. Using a small molecule affinity probe we demonstrate that male mice have less active γ-secretase complexes than female mice, which may account for the gender-associated differences in activity in aged brain. These findings demonstrate that aging can affect γ-secretase activity and specificity, suggesting a role for γ-secretase in sporadic AD. Furthermore, the increased APP γ-secretase activity seen in aged females may contribute to the increased incidence of sporadic AD in women and the aggressive Aβ plaque pathology seen in female mouse models of AD. In addition, deceased Notch γ-secretase activity may also contribute to neurodegeneration. Therefore, this study implicates altered γ-secretase activity and specificity as a possible mechanism of sporadic AD during aging.
The human mitochondrial peptide deformylase (HsPDF) provides a potential new target for broadly acting antiproliferative agents. To identify novel nonpeptidomimetic and nonhydroxamic acid–based inhibitors of HsPDF, the authors have developed a high-throughput screening (HTS) strategy using a fluorescence polarization (FP)–based binding assay as the primary assay for screening chemical libraries, followed by an enzymatic-based assay to confirm hits, prior to characterization of their antiproliferative activity against established tumor cell lines. The authors present the results and performance of the established strategy tested in a pilot screen of 2880 compounds and the identification of the 1st inhibitors. Two common scaffolds were identified within the hits. Furthermore, cytotoxicity studies revealed that most of the confirmed hits have antiproliferative activity. These findings demonstrate that the designed strategy can identify novel functional inhibitors and provide a powerful alternative to the use of functional assays in HTS and support the hypothesis that HsPDF inhibitors may constitute a new class of antiproliferative agent.
human peptide deformylase; high-throughput screening; fluorescence polarization; antiproliferative agents
Alzheimer's disease (AD) is characterized pathologically by the abundance of senile plaques and neurofibrillary tangles in the brain. We synthesized over 1200 novel gamma-secretase modulator (GSM) compounds that reduced Abeta42 levels without inhibiting epsilon-site cleavage of APP and Notch, the generation of the APP and Notch intracellular domains, respectively. These compounds also reduced Abeta40 levels while concomitantly elevating levels of Abeta38 and Abeta37.
Immobilization of a potent GSM onto an agarose matrix quantitatively recovered Pen-2 and to a lesser degree PS-1 NTFs from cellular extracts. Moreover, oral administration (once daily) of another potent GSM to Tg 2576 transgenic AD mice displayed dose-responsive lowering of plasma and brain Abeta42; chronic daily administration led to significant reductions in both diffuse and neuritic plaques. These effects were observed in the absence of Notch-related changes (e.g. intestinal proliferation of goblet cells), which are commonly associated with repeated exposure to functional gamma-secretase inhibitors (GSIs).
γ-Secretase is an aspartyl protease that cleaves multiple substrates including the amyloid precursor protein (APP) and the Notch proteins. Abnormal proteolysis of APP is involved in the pathogenesis of Alzheimer’s disease (AD) and overactive Notch signaling plays an oncogenic role in a variety of cancers. γ-Secretase has emerged as a promising target for drug development in the treatment of AD and cancer. Assays with increased capacity for high-throughput screening would allow for quicker screening of chemical libraries and facilitate inhibitor development. We have developed a homogeneous time-resolved fluorescence (HTRF)-based assay that makes use of a novel biotinylated recombinant APP substrate and solubilized membrane preparation as the source of the γ-secretase enzyme. The assay was miniaturized to a 1536-well format and validated in a pilot screen against a library of ∼3,000 compounds. The overall assay performance was robust due to a calculated Z′ factor of 0.74 and its demonstrated ability to identify known γ-secretase inhibitors such as pepstatin A. This validated assay can readily be used for primary screening against large chemical libraries searching for novel inhibitors of γ-secretase activity that may represent potential therapeutics for AD and a variety of neoplasms.
Alzheimer's disease (AD) is characterized by cerebral deposition of β-amyloid (Aβ) peptides. Aβ is released from ectodomain cleaved amyloid precursor protein (APP) via intramembranous proteolysis by γ-secretase, a complex consisting of presenilin and a few other proteins. p23/TMP21, a member of the p24 family type I transmembrane proteins, was recently identified as a presenilin complex component capable of modulating γ-secretase cleavage. The p24 family proteins form oligomeric complexes and regulate vesicular trafficking in the early secretory pathway, but their role in APP trafficking has not been investigated.
Here, we report that siRNA-mediated depletion of p23 in N2a neuroblastoma and HeLa cells produces concomitant knockdown of additional p24 family proteins and increases secretion of sAPP. Furthermore, intact cell and cell-free Aβ production increases following p23 knockdown, similar to data reported earlier using HEK293 cells. However, we find that p23 is not present in mature γ-secretase complexes isolated using an active-site γ-secretase inhibitor. Depletion of p23 and expression of a familial AD-linked PS1 mutant have additive effects on Aβ42 production. Knockdown of p23 expression confers biosynthetic stability to nascent APP, allowing its efficient maturation and surface accumulation. Moreover, immunoisolation analyses show decrease in co-residence of APP and the APP adaptor Mint3. Thus, multiple lines of evidence indicate that p23 function influences APP trafficking and sAPP release independent of its reported role in γ-secretase modulation.
These data assign significance to p24 family proteins in regulating APP trafficking in the continuum of bidirectional transport between the ER and Golgi, and ascribe new relevance to the regulation of early trafficking in AD pathogenesis.