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1.  Exploiting the co-reliance of tumours upon transport of amino acids and lactate: Gln and Tyr conjugates of MCT1 inhibitors† 
MedChemComm  2016;7(5):900-905.
Glutamine and tyrosine-based amino acid conjugates of monocarboxylate transporter types 1 and 2 inhibitors (MCT1/2) were designed, synthesized and evaluated for their potency in blocking the proliferation of a human B lymphoma cell line that expresses the transporters Asct2, LAT1 and MCT1. Appropriate placement of an amino acid transporter recognition element was shown to augment anti-tumour efficacy vs. Raji cells. Amino acid conjugation also improves the pharmacodynamic properties of experimental MCT1/2 inhibitors.
Graphical Abstract
doi:10.1039/C5MD00579E
PMCID: PMC4917231  PMID: 27347360
2.  GSK3 inhibitors stabilize Wee1 and reduce cerebellar granule cell progenitor proliferation 
Cell Cycle  2015;14(3):417-424.
Ubiquitin mediated proteolysis is required for transition from one cell cycle phase to another. For instance, the mitosis inhibitor Wee1 is targeted for degradation during S phase and G2 to allow mitotic entry. Wee1 is an essential tyrosine kinase required for the G2/M transition and S-phase progression. Although several studies have concentrated on Wee1 regulation during mitosis, few have elucidated its degradation during interphase. Our prior studies have demonstrated that Wee1 is degraded via CK1δ dependent phosphorylation during the S and G2/M phases of the cell cycle. Here we demonstrate that GSK3β may work in concert with CK1δ to induce Wee1 destruction during interphase. We generated small molecules that specifically stabilized Wee1. We profiled these compounds against 296 kinases and found that they inhibit GSK3α and GSK3β, suggesting that Wee1 may be targeted for proteolysis by GSK3. Consistent with this notion, known GSK3 inhibitors stabilized Wee1 and GSK3β depletion reduced Wee1 turnover. Given Wee1's central role in cell cycle progression, we predicted that GSK3 inhibitors should limit cell proliferation. Indeed, we demonstrate that GSK3 inhibitors potently inhibited proliferation of the most abundant cell in the mammalian brain, the cerebellar granule cell progenitor (GCP). These studies identify a previously unappreciated role for GSK3β mediated regulation of Wee1 during the cell cycle and in neurogenesis. Furthermore, they suggest that pharmacological inhibition of Wee1 may be therapeutically attractive in some cancers where GSK-3β or Wee1 are dysregulated.
doi:10.4161/15384101.2014.974439
PMCID: PMC4353296  PMID: 25616418
Cell cycle; glycogen-synthase kinase 3; granule cell progenitor; proliferation; protein degradation; Wee1; β-TrCP, β-transducin repeat containing; CDK, Cyclin-dependent kinase; GCP, Granule cell progenitor; GSK3, Glycogen synthase kinase 3; Plk1, Polo-kinase 1; SCF, Skp, Cullin, F-box containing complex; SHH, Sonic Hedgehog
3.  Studies toward a library of tetrahydrofurans: Click and MCR products of mono- and bis-tetrahydrofurans 
Mono- and bis-tetrahydrofuran-based chemical libraries with diverse structural features have been prepared using the Sharpless azide-alkyne Click reaction and multi-component reactions (MCRs) such as Ugi and Biginelli reactions. Mono- and bis-tetrahydrofuran methyl azides, amines and ureas were key intermediates in these processes, and they were synthesized from the corresponding tetrahydrofuran methyl alcohols by mesylation followed by substitution with azide, reduction of the azide to the amine, and urea formation, as needed. Most mono- and tetrahydrofuran methyl alcohols were obtained by a Sharpless asymmetric dihydroxylation reaction. Alternatively, several mono-tetrahydrofurans were prepared by a cobalt(II) complex-catalyzed oxidative cyclization of bis-homoallylic alcohols, which were obtained by copper(I) iodide-catalyzed epoxide opening of 5,6-epoxyhex-1-ene with various alkyl and aryl Grignard reagents. These compounds are examples of an entirely new class of molecules in hitherto unknown chemical space, though their functions are yet to be determined presumably through random screening.
doi:10.1021/cc1000709
PMCID: PMC2954415  PMID: 20614864
Tetrahydrofuran; Sharpless asymmetric dihydroxylation; oxidative cyclization; Biginelli reaction; Ugi reaction and Click chemistry
4.  An Ultra-High Throughput Cell-Based Screen for Wee1 Degradation Inhibitors 
Journal of biomolecular screening  2010;15(8):907-917.
The tyrosine kinase Wee1 is part of a key cellular sensing mechanism that signals completion of DNA replication, ensuring proper timing of entry into mitosis. Wee1 acts as an inhibitor of mitotic entry by phosphorylating cyclin-dependent kinase CDK1. Wee1 activity is mainly regulated at the protein level through its phosphorylation and subsequent degradation by the ubiquitin proteasome pathway. To facilitate identification of small molecules preventing Wee1 degradation, a homogeneous cell-based assay was developed using HeLa cells transiently transfected with a Wee1-Luciferase fusion protein. To insure uHTS compatibility, the assay was scaled to 1,536-well plate format and cells were transfected in bulk and cryopreserved. This miniaturized homogenous assay demonstrated robust performance, with a calculated Z′ factor of 0.65±0.05. The assay was screened against a publicly available library of ~218,000 compounds in order to identify Wee1 stabilizers. Nonselective, cytotoxic and promiscuous compounds were rapidly triaged through the use of a similarly formatted counterscreen that measured stabilization of a N-cyclin B-Luciferase fusion protein, as well as execution of viability assessment in the parental HeLa cell line. This screening campaign led to the discovery of four unrelated cell-permeable small molecules that showed selective Wee1-Luciferase stabilization with micromolar potency. One of these compounds, SID4243143, was shown to inhibit cell cycle progression, underscoring the importance of Wee1 degradation to the cell cycle. Our results suggest that this uHTS approach is suitable for identifying selective chemical probes that prevent Wee1 degradation, and generally applicable to discovering inhibitors of the ubiquitin proteasome pathway.
doi:10.1177/1087057110375848
PMCID: PMC3082437  PMID: 20660794
Wee1; degradation; stabilizer; reporter assay; transient transfection; cryopreserved cells; ubiquitin; proteasome

Results 1-4 (4)