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1.  Modulating Molecular Chaperones Improves Mitochondrial Bioenergetics and Decreases the Inflammatory Transcriptome in Diabetic Sensory Neurons 
ACS chemical neuroscience  2015;6(9):1637-1648.
We have previously demonstrated that modulating molecular chaperones with KU-32, a novobiocin derivative, ameliorates physiologic and bioenergetic deficits of diabetic peripheral neuropathy (DPN). Replacing the coumarin core of KU-32 with a meta-fluorinated biphenyl ring system created KU-596, a novobiocin analogue (novologue) that showed neuroprotective activity in a cell-based assay. The current study sought to determine whether KU-596 offers similar therapeutic potential for treating DPN. Administration of 2–20 mg/kg of KU-596 improved diabetes induced hypoalgesia and sensory neuron bioenergetic deficits in a dose-dependent manner. However, the drug could not improve these neuropathic deficits in diabetic heat shock protein 70 knockout (Hsp70 KO) mice. To gain further insight into the mechanisms by which KU-596 improved DPN, we performed transcriptomic analysis of sensory neuron RNA obtained from diabetic wild-type and Hsp70 KO mice using RNA sequencing. Bioinformatic analysis of the differentially expressed genes indicated that diabetes strongly increased inflammatory pathways and that KU-596 therapy effectively reversed these increases independent of Hsp70. In contrast, the effects of KU-596 on decreasing the expression of genes regulating the production of reactive oxygen species were more Hsp70-dependent. These data indicate that modulation of molecular chaperones by novologue therapy offers an effective approach toward correcting nerve dysfunction in DPN but that normalization of inflammatory pathways alone by novologue therapy seems to be insufficient to reverse sensory deficits associated with insensate DPN.
doi:10.1021/acschemneuro.5b00165
PMCID: PMC4573952  PMID: 26161583
Bioenergetics; diabetic neuropathy; inflammation; molecular chaperones; oxidative stress; RNA Seq
2.  Development of Glucose Regulated Protein 94-Selective Inhibitors Based on the BnIm and Radamide Scaffold 
Journal of medicinal chemistry  2016;59(7):3471-3488.
Glucose regulated protein 94 (Grp94) is the endoplasmic reticulum resident of the heat shock protein 90 kDa (Hsp90) family of molecular chaperones. Grp94 associates with many proteins involved in cell adhesion and signaling, including integrins, Toll-like receptors, immunoglobulins, and mutant myocilin. Grp94 has been implicated as a target for several therapeutic areas including glaucoma, cancer metastasis, and multiple myeloma. While 85% identical to other Hsp90 isoforms, the N-terminal ATP-binding site of Grp94 possesses a unique hydrophobic pocket that was used to design isoform-selective inhibitors. Incorporation of a cis-amide bioisostere into the radamide scaffold led to development of the original Grp94-selective inhibitor, BnIm. Structure–activity relationship studies have now been performed on the aryl side chain of BnIm, which resulted in improved analogues that exhibit better potency and selectivity for Grp94. These analogues also manifest superior antimigratory activity in a metastasis model as well as enhanced mutant myocilin degradation in a glaucoma model compared to BnIm.
Graphical abstract
doi:10.1021/acs.jmedchem.6b00085
PMCID: PMC4979570  PMID: 27003516
3.  Hsp90 C-terminal Inhibitors Exhibit Anti-migratory Activity by Disrupting the Hsp90α/Aha1 Complex in PC3-MM2 Cells 
ACS chemical biology  2014;10(2):577-590.
Human Hsp90 isoforms are molecular chaperones that are often up-regulated in malignances and represent a primary target for Hsp90 inhibitors undergoing clinical evaluation. Hsp90α is a stress-inducible isoform of Hsp90 that plays a significant role in apoptosis and metastasis. Though Hsp90α is secreted into the extracellular space under metastatic conditions, its role in cancer biology is poorly understood. We report that Hsp90α associates with the Aha1 co-chaperone and found this complex to localize in secretory vesicles and at the leading edge of migrating cells. Knockdown of Hsp90α resulted in a defect in cell migration. The functional role of Hsp90α/Aha1 was studied by treating the cells with various novobiocin-based Hsp90 C-terminal inhibitors. These inhibitors disrupted the Hsp90α/Aha1 complex, caused a cytoplasmic redistribution of Hsp90α and Aha1, and decreased cell migration. Structure-function studies determined that disruption of Hsp90α/Aha1 association and inhibition of cell migration correlated with the presence of a benzamide side chain, as an acetamide substituted analog was less effective. Our results show that disruption of Hsp90α/Aha1 interactions with novobiocin-based Hsp90 C-terminal inhibitors may limit the metastatic potential of tumors.
doi:10.1021/cb5008713
PMCID: PMC4340358  PMID: 25402753
Hsp90α; Aha1; cell migration; Hsp90 C-terminal inhibitors
4.  Design, Synthesis, and Biological Evaluation of Ring-Constrained Novobiocin Analogues as Hsp90 C-Terminal Inhibitors 
ACS Medicinal Chemistry Letters  2014;6(2):204-209.
Hsp90 C-terminal inhibitors represent a novel and alternative chemotherapeutic approach for the treatment of cancer. Novobiocin was the first natural product identified as an Hsp90 C-terminal inhibitor; however, it manifests poor antiproliferative activity. In contrast to N-terminal inhibitors, novobiocin does not induce the pro-survival heat shock response. Structural investigations on novobiocin have elucidated some structure–activity relationships and several promising compounds. On the basis of structure–activity relationships and computational studies, a library of ring-constrained novobiocin analogues was designed, synthesized, and evaluated in antiproliferative assays. Results obtained from these studies provide insights into the Hsp90 C-terminal binding site, and new analogues that were developed manifest low micromolar to mid-nanomolar antiproliferative activity resulting from Hsp90 inhibition.
doi:10.1021/ml5004475
PMCID: PMC4329597  PMID: 25699150
Heat shock protein 90; Hsp90 C-terminal inhibitors; ring-constrained novobiocin analogues; structure−activity relationship; breast cancer
5.  Hsp90 C-Terminal Inhibitors Exhibit Antimigratory Activity by Disrupting the Hsp90α/Aha1 Complex in PC3-MM2 Cells 
ACS Chemical Biology  2014;10(2):577-590.
Human Hsp90 isoforms are molecular chaperones that are often up-regulated in malignances and represent a primary target for Hsp90 inhibitors undergoing clinical evaluation. Hsp90α is a stress-inducible isoform of Hsp90 that plays a significant role in apoptosis and metastasis. Though Hsp90α is secreted into the extracellular space under metastatic conditions, its role in cancer biology is poorly understood. We report that Hsp90α associates with the Aha1 co-chaperone and found this complex to localize in secretory vesicles and at the leading edge of migrating cells. Knockdown of Hsp90α resulted in a defect in cell migration. The functional role of Hsp90α/Aha1 was studied by treating the cells with various novobiocin-based Hsp90 C-terminal inhibitors. These inhibitors disrupted the Hsp90α/Aha1 complex, caused a cytoplasmic redistribution of Hsp90α and Aha1, and decreased cell migration. Structure–function studies determined that disruption of Hsp90α/Aha1 association and inhibition of cell migration correlated with the presence of a benzamide side chain, since an acetamide substituted analog was less effective. Our results show that disruption of Hsp90α/Aha1 interactions with novobiocin-based Hsp90 C-terminal inhibitors may limit the metastatic potential of tumors.
doi:10.1021/cb5008713
PMCID: PMC4340358  PMID: 25402753
6.  Design, Synthesis and Biological Evaluation of Biphenylamide Derivatives as Hsp90 C-terminal Inhibitors 
Modulation of Hsp90 C-terminal function represents a promising therapeutic approach for the treatment of cancer and neurodegenerative diseases. Current drug discovery efforts toward Hsp90 C-terminal inhibition focus on novobiocin, an antibiotic that was transformed into an Hsp90 inhibitor. Based on structural information obtained during the development of novobiocin derivatives and molecular docking studies, scaffolds containing a biphenyl moiety in lieu of the coumarin ring present in novobiocin were identified as new Hsp90 C-terminal inhibitors. Structure-activity relationship studies produced new derivatives that inhibit the proliferation of breast cancer cell lines at nanomolar concentrations, which corresponded directly with Hsp90 inhibition.
Graphical abstract
doi:10.1016/j.ejmech.2014.10.034
PMCID: PMC4406240  PMID: 25462258
Heat shock protein 90; Hsp90 C-terminal inhibitors; Biphenyl; Structure-activity relationship; Breast cancer
7.  Exploiting the interaction between Grp94 and aggregated myocilin to treat glaucoma 
Human Molecular Genetics  2014;23(24):6470-6480.
Gain-of-function mutations in the olfactomedin domain of the MYOC gene facilitate the toxic accumulation of amyloid-containing myocilin aggregates, hastening the onset of the prevalent ocular disorder primary open-angle glaucoma. Aggregation of wild-type myocilin has been reported in other glaucoma subtypes, suggesting broader relevance of misfolded myocilin across the disease spectrum, but the absence of myocilin does not cause disease. Thus, strategies aimed at eliminating myocilin could be therapeutically relevant for glaucoma. Here, a novel and selective Grp94 inhibitor reduced the levels of several mutant myocilin proteins as well as wild-type myocilin when forced to misfold in cells. This inhibitor rescued mutant myocilin toxicity in primary human trabecular meshwork cells. Mechanistically, in vitro kinetics studies demonstrate that Grp94 recognizes on-pathway aggregates of the myocilin olfactomedin domain (myoc-OLF), accelerates rates of aggregation and co-precipitates with myoc-OLF. These results indicate that aberrant myocilin quaternary structure drives Grp94 recognition, rather than peptide motifs exposed by unfolded protein. Inhibition of Grp94 ameliorates the effects of Grp94-accelerated myoc-OLF aggregation, and Grp94 remains in solution. In cells, when wild-type myocilin is driven to misfold and aggregate, it becomes a client of Grp94 and sensitive to Grp94 inhibition. Taken together, the interaction of Grp94 with myocilin aggregates can be manipulated by cellular environment and genetics; this process can be exploited with Grp94 inhibitors to promote the clearance of toxic forms of myocilin.
doi:10.1093/hmg/ddu367
PMCID: PMC4240202  PMID: 25027323
8.  A Systematic Protocol for the Characterization of Hsp90 Modulators 
Bioorganic & medicinal chemistry  2010;19(1):684-692.
Several Hsp90 modulators have been identified including the N-terminal ligand geldanamycin (GDA), the C-terminal ligand novobiocin (NB), and the co-chaperone disruptor celastrol. Other Hsp90 modulators elicit a mechanism of action that remains unknown. For example, the natural product gedunin and the synthetic anti-spermatogenic agent H2-gamendazole, recently identified Hsp90 modulators, manifest biological activity through undefined mechanisms. Herein, we report a series of biochemical techniques used to classify such modulators into identifiable categories. Such studies provided evidence that gedunin and H2-gamendazole both modulate Hsp90 via a mechanism similar to celastrol, and unlike NB or GDA.
doi:10.1016/j.bmc.2010.10.029
PMCID: PMC4618652  PMID: 21129982
Heat shock protein 90; Novobiocin; Geldanamycin; Celastrol; Gedunin
9.  Design of High Throughput Screening Assays and Identification of a SUMO1-Specific Small Molecule Chemotype Targeting the SUMO-Interacting Motif-Binding Surface 
ACS combinatorial science  2015;17(4):239-246.
Protein-protein interactions are generally challenging to target by small molecules. To address the challenge, we have used a multi-disciplinary approach to identify small-molecule disruptors of protein-protein interactions that are mediated by SUMO (Small Ubiquitin-like MOdifier) proteins. SUMO modifications have emerged as a target with importance in treating cancer, neurodegenerative disorders, and viral infections. It has been shown that inhibiting SUMO-mediated protein-protein interactions can sensitize cancer cells to chemotherapy and radiation. We have developed highly sensitive assays using time-resolved fluorescence resonance energy transfer (TR-FRET) and fluorescence polarization (FP) that were used for high-throughput screening (HTS) to identify inhibitors for SUMO-dependent protein-protein interactions. Using these assays, we have identified a non-peptidomimetic small molecule chemotype that binds to SUMO1 but not SUMO2 or 3. NMR chemical shift perturbation studies have shown that the compounds of this chemotype bind to the SUMO1 surface required for protein-protein interaction, despite the high sequence similarity of SUMO1 and SUMO2 and 3 at this surface.
doi:10.1021/co500181b
PMCID: PMC4609574  PMID: 25719760
Small ubiquitin-like modifier (SUMO); TR-FRET; fluorescence polarization; SUMO-interacting motif (SIM)
10.  Triazole Containing Novobiocin and Biphenyl Amides as Hsp90 C-Terminal Inhibitors 
MedChemComm  2014;5(9):1317-1323.
Hsp90 C-terminal inhibitors are advantageous for the development of new cancer chemotherapeutics due to their ability to segregate client protein degradation from induction of the prosurvival heat shock response, which is a major detriment associated with Hsp90 N-terminal inhibitors under clinical investigation. Based upon prior SAR trends, a 1,2,3-triazole side chain was placed in lieu of the aryl side chain and attached to both the coumarin and biphenyl scaffold. Antiproliferative studies against SKBr3 and MCF-7 breast cancer cell lines demonstrated these triazole-containing compounds to exhibit improved activity. These compounds were shown to manifest Hsp90 inhibitory activity through Western blot analysis and represent a new scaffold upon which more potent inhibitors can be pursued.
doi:10.1039/C4MD00102H
PMCID: PMC4198308  PMID: 25328661
Heat shock protein 90; Hsp90 C-terminal inhibitors; Novobiocin; Triazole; Breast cancer
11.  c-Abl Mediated Tyrosine Phosphorylation of Aha1 Activates Its Co-chaperone Function in Cancer Cells 
Cell reports  2015;12(6):1006-1018.
Summary
The ability of Heat Shock Protein 90 (Hsp90) to hydrolyze ATP is essential for its chaperone function. The co-chaperone Aha1 stimulates Hsp90 ATPase activity, tailoring the chaperone function to specific “client” proteins. The intracellular signaling mechanisms directly regulating Aha1 association with Hsp90 remain unknown. Here, we show that c-Abl kinase phosphorylates Y223 in human Aha1 (hAha1), promoting its interaction with Hsp90. This, consequently, results in an increased Hsp90 ATPase activity, enhances Hsp90 interaction with kinase clients, and compromises the chaperoning of non-kinase clients such as glucocorticoid receptor and CFTR. Suggesting a regulatory paradigm, we also find that Y223 phosphorylation leads to ubiquitination and degradation of hAha1 in the proteasome. Finally, pharmacologic inhibition of c-Abl prevents hAha1 interaction with Hsp90, thereby hypersensitizing cancer cells to Hsp90 inhibitors both in vitro and ex vivo.
Graphical abstract
doi:10.1016/j.celrep.2015.07.004
PMCID: PMC4778718  PMID: 26235616
12.  Development of Radamide Analogs as Grp94 Inhibitors 
Bioorganic & medicinal chemistry  2014;22(15):4083-4098.
Hsp90 isoform-selective inhibition is highly desired as it can potentially avoid the toxic side-effects of pan-inhibition. The current study developed selective inhibitors of one such isoform, Grp94, predicated on the chimeric and pan-Hsp90 inhibitor, radamide (RDA). Replacement of the quinone moiety of RDA with a phenyl ring (2) was found to be better suited for Grp94 inhibition as it can fully interact with a unique hydrophobic pocket present in Grp94. An extensive SAR for this scaffold showed that substitutions at the 2- and 4-positions (8 and 27, respectively) manifested excellent Grp94 affinity and selectivity. Introduction of heteroatoms into the ring also proved beneficial, with a 2-pyridine derivative (38) exhibiting the highest Grp94 affinity (Kd = 820 nM). Subsequent cell-based assays showed that these Grp94 inhibitors inhibit migration of the metastatic breast cancer cell line, MDA-MB-231, as well as exhibit an anti-proliferative affect against the multiple myeloma cell line, RPMI 8226.
doi:10.1016/j.bmc.2014.05.075
PMCID: PMC4142655  PMID: 25027801
14.  Cruentaren A Binds F1F0 ATP Synthase to Modulate the Hsp90 Protein Folding Machinery 
ACS chemical biology  2014;9(4):976-985.
The molecular chaperone Hsp90 requires the assistance of immunophilins, co-chaperones and partner proteins for the conformational maturation of client proteins. Hsp90 inhibition represents a promising anticancer strategy due to the dependence of numerous oncogenic signaling pathways upon Hsp90 function. Historically, small molecules have been designed to inhibit ATPase activity at the Hsp90 N-terminus; however, these molecules also induce the pro-survival Heat Shock Response (HSR). Therefore, inhibitors that exhibit alternative mechanisms of action that do not elicit the HSR are actively sought. Small molecules that disrupt Hsp90-co-chaperone interactions can destabilize the Hsp90 complex without induction of the HSR, which leads to inhibition of cell proliferation. In this article, selective inhibition of F1F0 ATP synthase by cruentaren A was shown to disrupt the Hsp90-F1F0 ATP synthase interaction and result in client protein degradation without induction of the HSR.
doi:10.1021/cb400906e
PMCID: PMC4090037  PMID: 24450340
15.  Synthesis and Biological Evaluation of Coumarin Replacements of Novobiocin as Hsp90 Inhibitors 
Bioorganic & medicinal chemistry  2014;22(4):1441-1449.
Since Hsp90 modulates all six hallmarks of cancer simultaneously, it has become an attractive target for the development of cancer chemotherapeutics. In an effort to develop more efficacious compounds for Hsp90 inhibition, novobiocin analogues were prepared by replacing the central coumarin core with naphthalene, quinolinone, and quinoline surrogates. These modifications allowed for modification of the 2-position, which was previously unexplored. Biological evaluation of these compounds suggests a hydrophobic pocket about the 2-position of novobiocin. Anti-proliferative activities of these analogues against multiple cancer cell lines identified 2-alkoxyquinoline derivatives to exhibit improved activity.
doi:10.1016/j.bmc.2013.12.056
PMCID: PMC3963410  PMID: 24461493
16.  Cruentaren A Binds F1F0 ATP Synthase To Modulate the Hsp90 Protein Folding Machinery 
ACS Chemical Biology  2014;9(4):976-985.
The molecular chaperone Hsp90 requires the assistance of immunophilins, co-chaperones, and partner proteins for the conformational maturation of client proteins. Hsp90 inhibition represents a promising anticancer strategy due to the dependence of numerous oncogenic signaling pathways upon Hsp90 function. Historically, small molecules have been designed to inhibit ATPase activity at the Hsp90 N-terminus; however, these molecules also induce the pro-survival heat shock response (HSR). Therefore, inhibitors that exhibit alternative mechanisms of action that do not elicit the HSR are actively sought. Small molecules that disrupt Hsp90-co-chaperone interactions can destabilize the Hsp90 complex without induction of the HSR, which leads to inhibition of cell proliferation. In this article, selective inhibition of F1F0 ATP synthase by cruentaren A was shown to disrupt the Hsp90-F1F0 ATP synthase interaction and result in client protein degradation without induction of the HSR.
doi:10.1021/cb400906e
PMCID: PMC4090037  PMID: 24450340
17.  Identification of a New Scaffold for Hsp90 C-Terminal Inhibition 
Inhibition of Hsp90 C-terminal function is an advantageous therapeutic paradigm for the treatment of cancer. Currently, the majority of Hsp90 C-terminal inhibitors are derived from novobiocin, a natural product traditionally used as an antibiotic. Assisted by molecular docking studies, a scaffold containing a biphenyl moiety in lieu of the coumarin ring system found in novobiocin was identified for development of new Hsp90 C-terminal inhibitors. Initial structure–activity studies led to derivatives that manifest good antiproliferative activity against two breast cancer cell lines through Hsp90 inhibition. This platform serves as a scaffold upon which new Hsp90 C-terminal inhibitors can be readily assembled for further investigation.
doi:10.1021/ml400404s
PMCID: PMC4027776  PMID: 24900777
Heat shock protein 90; Hsp90 C-terminal inhibitors; novobiocin; biphenyl; breast cancer
18.  Development of a High-Throughput Screening Cancer Cell-Based Luciferase Refolding Assay for Identifying Hsp90 Inhibitors 
Abstract
The 90 kDa heat-shock protein (Hsp90) and other cochaperones allow for proper folding of nascent or misfolded polypeptides. Cancer cells exploit these chaperones by maintaining the stability of mutated and misfolded oncoproteins and allowing them to evade proteosomal degradation. Inhibiting Hsp90 is an attractive strategy for cancer therapy, as the concomitant degradation of multiple oncoproteins may lead to effective anti-neoplastic agents. Unfortunately, early clinical trials have been disappointing with N-terminal Hsp90 inhibitors, as it is unclear whether the problems that plague current Hsp90 inhibitors in clinical trials are related to on-target or off-target activity. One approach to overcome these pitfalls is to identify structurally diverse scaffolds that improve Hsp90 inhibitory activity in the cancer cell milieu. Utilizing a panel of cancer cell lines that express luciferase, we have designed an in-cell Hsp90-dependent luciferase refolding assay. The assay was optimized using previously identified Hsp90 inhibitors and experimental novobiocin analogues against prostate, colon, and lung cancer cell lines. This assay exhibits good interplate precision (% CV), a signal-to-noise ratio (S/N) of ≥7, and an approximate Z-factor ranging from 0.5 to 0.7. Novobiocin analogues that revealed activity in this assay were examined via western blot experiments for client protein degradation, a hallmark of Hsp90 inhibition. Subsequently, a pilot screen was conducted using the Prestwick library, and two compounds, biperiden and ethoxyquin, revealed significant activity. Here, we report the development of an in-cell Hsp90-dependent luciferase refolding assay that is amenable across cancer cell lines for the screening of inhibitors in their specific milieu.
doi:10.1089/adt.2012.498
PMCID: PMC3931435  PMID: 24127661
19.  Synthesis and Structure activity relationships of EGCG Analogues, A Recently Identified Hsp90 Inhibitor 
The Journal of organic chemistry  2013;78(16):7859-7884.
Epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG), the principal polyphenol isolated from green tea, was recently shown to inhibit Hsp90, however structure-activity relationships for this natural product have not yet been produced. Herein, we report the synthesis and biological evaluation of EGCG analogues to establish structure-activity relationships between EGCG and Hsp90. All four rings as well as the linker connecting the C- and the D-rings were systematically investigated, which led to the discovery of compounds that inhibit Hs90 and display improvement in efficacy over EGCG. Anti-proliferative activity of all the analogues was determined against MCF-7 and SKBr3 cell lines and Hsp90 inhibitory activity of four most potent analogues was further evaluated by western blot analyses and degradation of Hsp90-dependent client proteins. Prenyl substituted aryl ester of 3,5-dihydroxychroman-3-ol ring system was identified as novel scaffold that exhibit Hsp90 inhibitory activity.
doi:10.1021/jo401027r
PMCID: PMC4123816  PMID: 23834230
20.  Novobiocin analogues with second-generation noviose surrogates 
Hsp90 is a promising therapeutic target for the treatment of cancer. Novobiocin is the first Hsp90 C-terminal inhibitor ever identified and recent structure-activity relationship studies on the noviose sugar identified several commercially available amines as suitable surrogates. In an effort to further understand this region of the molecule, analogues containing various N′-amino substituents were prepared and evaluated against two breast cancer cell lines for determination of their efficacy. Compound 37j manifested the most potent anti-proliferative activity from these studies and induced Hsp90-dependent client protein degradation at mid nano-molar concentrations.
doi:10.1016/j.bmcl.2012.11.022
PMCID: PMC4123793  PMID: 23234644
Heat shock protein 90; Hsp90 inhibitors; Novobiocin analogues; Breast cancer
21.  Synthesis and biological evaluation of arylated novobiocin analogs as Hsp90 inhibitors 
Novobiocin analogs lacking labile glycosidic ether have been designed, synthesized and evaluated for Hsp90 inhibitory activity. Replacement of the synthetically complex noviose sugar with simple aromatic side chains produced analogs that maintain moderate cytotoxic activity against MCF7 and SkBR3 breast cancer cell-lines. Rationale for the preparation of des-noviose novobiocin analogs in addition to their synthesis and biological evaluation are presented herein.
doi:10.1016/j.bmcl.2011.09.073
PMCID: PMC3242434  PMID: 22014546
22.  High-Throughput Screen of Natural Product Libraries for Hsp90 Inhibitors 
Biology  2014;3(1):101-138.
Hsp90 has become the target of intensive investigation, as inhibition of its function has the ability to simultaneously incapacitate proteins that function in pathways that represent the six hallmarks of cancer. While a number of Hsp90 inhibitors have made it into clinical trials, a number of short-comings have been noted, such that the search continues for novel Hsp90 inhibitors with superior pharmacological properties. To identify new potential Hsp90 inhibitors, we have utilized a high-throughput assay based on measuring Hsp90-dependent refolding of thermally denatured luciferase to screen natural compound libraries. Over 4,000 compounds were screen with over 100 hits. Data mining of the literature indicated that 51 compounds had physiological effects that Hsp90 inhibitors also exhibit, and/or the ability to downregulate the expression levels of Hsp90-dependent proteins. Of these 51 compounds, seven were previously characterized as Hsp90 inhibitors. Four compounds, anthothecol, garcinol, piplartine, and rottlerin, were further characterized, and the ability of these compounds to inhibit the refolding of luciferase, and reduce the rate of growth of MCF7 breast cancer cells, correlated with their ability to suppress the Hsp90-dependent maturation of the heme-regulated eIF2α kinase, and deplete cultured cells of Hsp90-dependent client proteins. Thus, this screen has identified an additional 44 compounds with known beneficial pharmacological properties, but with unknown mechanisms of action as possible new inhibitors of the Hsp90 chaperone machine.
doi:10.3390/biology3010101
PMCID: PMC4009755  PMID: 24833337
Hsp90; Hsp90 inhibitors; high-throughput screen; natural products libraries
23.  3D-QSAR-Assisted Design, Synthesis, and Evaluation of Novobiocin Analogues 
Hsp90 is an attractive therapeutic target for the treatment of cancer. Extensive structural modifications to novobiocin, the first Hsp90 C-terminal inhibitor discovered, have produced a library of novobiocin analogues and revealed some structure–activity relationships. On the basis of the most potent novobiocin analogues generated from prior studies, a three-dimensional quantitative structure–activity (3D QSAR) model was built. In addition, a new set of novobiocin analogues containing various structural features supported by the 3D QSAR model were synthesized and evaluated against two breast cancer cell lines. Several new inhibitors produced antiproliferative activity at midnanomolar concentrations, which results through Hsp90 inhibition.
doi:10.1021/ml300275g
PMCID: PMC3627542  PMID: 23606927
heat shock protein 90; Hsp90 inhibitors; novobiocin; 3D QSAR; breast cancer
24.  Synthesis of Cruentaren A 
Organic letters  2012;14(24):6242-6245.
Cruentaren A, an antifungal benzolactone produced by the myxobacterium Byssovorax cruenta, is highly cytotoxic against various human cancer cell lines and a highly selective inhibitor of mitochondrial F-ATPase. A convergent and efficient synthesis of cruentaren A is reported, based upon a diastereoselective alkylation, a series of stereoselective aldol reactions utilizing Myers’ pseudoephedrine propionamide, an acyl bromide–mediated esterification and a ring-closing metathesis (RCM) as the key steps. The RCM reaction was applied for the first time towards the total synthesis of cruentaren A, which led to a convergent and efficient synthesis of the natural product.
doi:10.1021/ol302999v
PMCID: PMC3528846  PMID: 23205851
25.  Synthesis and Evaluation of Novologues as C-Terminal Hsp90 Inhibitors with Cytoprotective Activity against Sensory Neuron Glucotoxicity 
Journal of Medicinal Chemistry  2012;55(12):5797-5812.
Compound 2 (KU-32) is a first-generation novologue (a novobiocin-based, C-terminal, heat shock protein 90 (Hsp90) inhibitor), that decreases glucose-induced death of primary sensory neurons and reverses numerous clinical indices of diabetic peripheral neuropathy in mice. The current study sought to exploit the C-terminal binding site of Hsp90 to determine whether the optimization of hydrogen bonding and hydrophobic interactions of second generation novologues could enhance neuroprotective activity. Using a series of substituted phenylboronic acids to replace the coumarin lactone of 2, we identified electronegative atoms placed at the meta-position of the B-ring exhibit improved cytoprotective activity, which is believed to result from favorable interactions with Lys539 in the Hsp90 C-terminal binding pocket. Consistent with these results, a meta-3-fluorophenyl substituted novologue (13b) exhibited a 14-fold lower ED50 compared to 2 for protection against glucose-induced toxicity of primary sensory neurons.
doi:10.1021/jm300544c
PMCID: PMC3390240  PMID: 22702513

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