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1.  Simultaneous Protein Expression and Modification: An Efficient Approach for Production of Unphosphorylated and Biotinylated Receptor Tyrosine Kinases by Triple Infection in the Baculovirus Expression System 
Protein kinases can adopt multiple protein conformations depending on their activation status. Recently, in drug discovery, a paradigm shift has been initiated, moving from inhibition of fully activated, phosphorylated kinases to targeting the inactive, unphosphorylated forms. For identification and characterization of putative inhibitors, also interacting with the latent kinase conformation outside of the kinase domain, highly purified and homogeneous protein preparations of unphosphorylated kinases are essential. The kinetic parameters of nonphosphorylated kinases cannot be assessed easily by standard kinase enzyme assays as a result of their intrinsic autophosphorylation activity. Kinetic binding rate constants of inhibitor-protein interactions can be measured by biophysical means upon protein immobilization on chips. Protein immobilization can be achieved under mild conditions by binding biotinylated proteins to streptavidin-coated chips, exploiting the strong and highly specific streptavidin–biotin interaction. In the work reported here, the cytoplasmic domains of insulin receptor and insulin-like growth factor-1 receptor fused to a biotin ligase recognition sequence were coexpressed individually with the phosphatase YopH and the biotin-protein ligase BirA upon triple infection in insect cells. Tandem affinity purification yielded pure cytoplasmic kinase domains as judged by gel electrophoresis and HPLC. Liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry analysis showed the absence of any protein phosphorylation. Coexpression of BirA led to quantitative and site-specific biotinylation of the kinases, which had no influence on the catalytic activity of the kinases, as demonstrated by the identical phosphorylation pattern upon autoactivation and by enzymatic assay. This coexpression approach should be applicable to other protein kinases as well and should greatly facilitate the production of protein kinases in their phosphorylated and unphosphorylated state suitable for enzymatic and biophysical studies.
PMCID: PMC2841998  PMID: 20357977
biotin; phosphatase; phosphorylation
2.  Catalytic inhibition of topoisomerase II by a novel rationally designed ATP-competitive purine analogue 
Topoisomerase II poisons are in clinical use as anti-cancer therapy for decades and work by stabilizing the enzyme-induced DNA breaks. In contrast, catalytic inhibitors block the enzyme before DNA scission. Although several catalytic inhibitors of topoisomerase II have been described, preclinical concepts for exploiting their anti-proliferative activity based on molecular characteristics of the tumor cell have only recently started to emerge. Topoisomerase II is an ATPase and uses the energy derived from ATP hydrolysis to orchestrate the movement of the DNA double strands along the enzyme. Thus, interfering with ATPase function with low molecular weight inhibitors that target the nucleotide binding pocket should profoundly affect cells that are committed to undergo mitosis.
Here we describe the discovery and characterization of a novel purine diamine analogue as a potent ATP-competitive catalytic inhibitor of topoisomerase II. Quinoline aminopurine compound 1 (QAP 1) inhibited topoisomerase II ATPase activity and decatenation reaction at sub-micromolar concentrations, targeted both topoisomerase II alpha and beta in cell free assays and, using a quantitative cell-based assay and a chromosome segregation assay, displayed catalytic enzyme inhibition in cells. In agreement with recent hypothesis, we show that BRCA1 mutant breast cancer cells have increased sensitivity to QAP 1.
The results obtained with QAP 1 demonstrate that potent and selective catalytic inhibition of human topoisomerase II function with an ATP-competitive inhibitor is feasible. Our data suggest that further drug discovery efforts on ATP-competitive catalytic inhibitors are warranted and that such drugs could potentially be developed as anti-cancer therapy for tumors that bear the appropriate combination of molecular alterations.
PMCID: PMC2628638  PMID: 19128485
3.  NVP-AUY922: a small molecule HSP90 inhibitor with potent antitumor activity in preclinical breast cancer models 
Heat shock protein 90 (HSP90) is a key component of a multichaperone complex involved in the post-translational folding of a large number of client proteins, many of which play essential roles in tumorigenesis. HSP90 has emerged in recent years as a promising new target for anticancer therapies.
The concentrations of the HSP90 inhibitor NVP-AUY922 required to reduce cell numbers by 50% (GI50 values) were established in a panel of breast cancer cell lines and patient-derived human breast tumors. To investigate the properties of the compound in vivo, the pharmacokinetic profile, antitumor effect, and dose regimen were established in a BT-474 breast cancer xenograft model. The effect on HSP90-p23 complexes, client protein degradation, and heat shock response was investigated in cell culture and breast cancer xenografts by immunohistochemistry, Western blot analysis, and immunoprecipitation.
We show that the novel small molecule HSP90 inhibitor NVP-AUY922 potently inhibits the proliferation of human breast cancer cell lines with GI50 values in the range of 3 to 126 nM. NVP-AUY922 induced proliferative inhibition concurrent with HSP70 upregulation and client protein depletion – hallmarks of HSP90 inhibition. Intravenous acute administration of NVP-AUY922 to athymic mice (30 mg/kg) bearing subcutaneous BT-474 breast tumors resulted in drug levels in excess of 1,000 times the cellular GI50 value for about 2 days. Significant growth inhibition and good tolerability were observed when the compound was administered once per week. Therapeutic effects were concordant with changes in pharmacodynamic markers, including HSP90-p23 dissociation, decreases in ERBB2 and P-AKT, and increased HSP70 protein levels.
NVP-AUY922 is a potent small molecule HSP90 inhibitor showing significant activity against breast cancer cells in cellular and in vivo settings. On the basis of its mechanism of action, preclinical activity profile, tolerability, and pharmaceutical properties, the compound recently has entered clinical phase I breast cancer trials.
PMCID: PMC2397535  PMID: 18430202

Results 1-3 (3)