Bcl-2 and Bcl-xL anti-apoptotic proteins are attractive cancer therapeutic targets. We have previously reported the design of 4,5-diphenyl-1H-pyrrole-3-carboxylic acids as a class of potent Bcl-2/Bcl-xL inhibitors. In the present study, we report our structure-based optimization for this class of compounds based upon the crystal structure of Bcl-xL complexed with a potent lead compound. Our efforts accumulated into the design of compound 30 (BM-957), which binds to Bcl-2 and Bcl-xL with Ki <1 nM and has low nanomolar IC50 values in cell growth inhibition in cancer cell lines. Significantly, compound 30 achieves rapid, complete and durable tumor regression in the H146 small-cell lung cancer xenograft model at a well-tolerated dose-schedule.
In the intrinsic pathway of apoptosis, cell-damaging signals promote the release of cytochrome c from mitochondria, triggering activation of the Apaf-1 and caspase-9 apoptosome. The ubiquitin E3 ligase MDM2 decreases the stability of the proapoptotic factor p53. We show that it also coordinated apoptotic events in a p53-independent manner by ubiquitylating the apoptosome activator CAS and the ubiquitin E3 ligase HUWE1. HUWE1 ubiquitylates the antiapoptotic factor Mcl-1, and we found that HUWE1 also ubiquitylated PP5 (protein phosphatase 5), which indirectly inhibited apoptosome activation. Breast cancers that are positive for the tyrosine receptor kinase HER2 (human epidermal growth factor receptor 2) tend to be highly aggressive. In HER2-positive breast cancer cells treated with the HER2 tyrosine kinase inhibitor lapatinib, MDM2 was degraded and HUWE1 was stabilized. In contrast, in breast cancer cells that acquired resistance to lapatinib, the abundance of MDM2 was not decreased and HUWE1 was degraded, which inhibited apoptosis, regardless of p53 status. MDM2 inhibition overcame lapatinib resistance in cells with either wild-type or mutant p53 and in xenograft models. These findings demonstrate broader, p53-independent roles for MDM2 and HUWE1 in apoptosis and specifically suggest the potential for therapy directed against MDM2 to overcome lapatinib resistance.
Bcl-2 and Bcl-xL are key apoptosis regulators and attractive cancer therapeutic targets. We have designed and optimized a class of small-molecule inhibitors of Bcl-2 and Bcl-xL containing a 4,5-diphenyl-1H-pyrrole-3-carboxylic acid core structure. A 1.4 Å resolution crystal structure of a lead compound, 12, complexed with Bcl-xL has provided a basis for our optimization. The most potent compounds, 14 and 15, bind to Bcl-2 and Bcl-xL with subnanomolar Ki values and are potent antagonists of Bcl-2 and Bcl-xL in functional assays. Compounds 14 and 15 inhibit cell growth with low nanomolar IC50 values in multiple small-cell lung cancer cell lines and induce robust apoptosis in cancer cells at concentrations as low as 10 nM. Compound 14 also achieves strong antitumor activity in an animal model of human cancer.
Employing a structure-based strategy, we have designed a new class of potent small-molecule inhibitors of the anti-apoptotic proteins Bcl-2 and Bcl-xL. An initial lead compound with a new scaffold was designed based upon the crystal structure of Bcl-xL and FDA-approved drugs and was found to have an affinity of 100 μM to both Bcl-2 and Bcl-xL. Linking this weak lead to another weak-affinity fragment derived from Abbott's ABT-737 led to an improvement of the binding affinity by a factor of >10,000. Further optimization ultimately yielded compounds with subnanomolar binding affinities to both Bcl-2 and Bcl-xL and potent cellular activity. The best compound (21) binds to Bcl-xL and Bcl-2 with Ki < 1 nM, inhibits cell growth in the H146 and H1417 small-cell lung cancer cell lines with IC50 values of 60–90 nM and induces robust cell death in the H146 cancer cell line at 30–100 nM.
Mitochondrial outer membrane permeabilization (MOMP) is a crucial step leading to apoptotic destruction of cancer cells. Bcl-2 family proteins delicately regulate mitochondrial outer membrane integrity through protein-protein interactions, which makes the mitochondrion an ideal cell-free system for screening molecules targeting the Bcl-2 anti-apoptotic proteins. But assay conditions need to be optimized for more reliable results. In this study, we aimed at establishing a reliable functional assay using mitochondria isolated from breast cancer cells to decipher the mode of action of BH3 peptides derived from BH3-only proteins. In this study, high ionic strength buffer was adopted during the initiation of MOMP. Mitochondria isolated from human breast cancer cell lines with distinct expression patterns of Bcl-2 anti-apoptotic proteins were permeabilized by different BH3 peptides alone or in combination, with or without the presence of recombinant anti-apoptotic Bcl-2 family proteins. Cytochrome C and Smac/Diablo were tested in both supernatants and mitochondrial pellets by Western blotting.
Sufficient ionic strength was required for optimal release of Cytochrome C. Bad and Noxa BH3 peptides exhibited their bona fide antagonistic effects against Bcl-2/Bcl-xL and Mcl-1 proteins, respectively, whereas Bim BH3 peptide antagonized all three anti-apoptotic Bcl-2 members. Bad and Noxa peptides synergized with each other in the induction of MOMP when mitochondria were dually protected by both Bcl-2/Bcl-xL and Mcl-1.
This method based on MOMP is a useful screening tool for identifying BH3 mimetics with selective toxicity against breast cancer cell mitochondria protected by the three major Bcl-2 anti-apoptotic proteins.
Mitochondrion; B cell lymphoma 2 (Bcl-2); Bcl-2 homolog domain 3 (BH3); Mitochondrial outer membrane permeabilization (MOMP)
Research on the human urine proteome may lay the foundation for the discovery of relevant disease biomarkers. Post-translational modifications (PTMs) have important effects on the functions of protein biomarkers. Identifying PTMs without enrichment adds no extra steps to conventional identification procedures for urine proteomics. The only difference is that this method requires software that can conduct unrestrictive identifications of PTMs. In this study, routine urine proteomics techniques were used to identify urine proteins. Unspecified PTMs were searched by MODa and PEAKS 6 automated software, followed by a manual search to screen out in vivo PTMs by removing all in vitro PTMs and amino acid substitutions.
There were 75 peptides with 6 in vivo PTMs that were found by both MODa and PEAKS 6. Of these, 34 peptides in 18 proteins have novel in vivo PTMs compared with the annotation information of these proteins on the Universal Protein Resource website. These new in vivo PTMs had undergone methylation, dehydration, oxidation, hydroxylation, phosphorylation, or dihydroxylation.
In this study, we identified PTMs of urine proteins without the need for enrichment. Our investigation may provide a useful reference for biomarker discovery in the future.
Urine proteomics; MODa; PEAKS 6; PTMs without enrichment; In vivo PTMs
We report the discovery and characterization of SM-406 (compound 2), a potent and orally bioavailable Smac mimetic and an antagonist of the inhibitor of apoptosis proteins (IAPs). This compound binds to XIAP, cIAP1 and cIAP2 proteins with Ki values of 66.4 nM, 1.9 nM and 5.1 nM, respectively. Compound 2 effectively antagonizes XIAP BIR3 protein in a cell-free functional assay, induces rapid degradation of cellular cIAP1 protein and inhibits cancer cell growth in various human cancer cell lines. It has good oral bioavailability in mice, rats, non-human primates and dogs, is highly effective in induction of apoptosis in xenograft tumors and is capable of complete inhibition of tumor growth. Compound 2 is currently in Phase I clinical trials for the treatment of human cancer.
The variable-stiffness colonoscope (VSC) appears to have advantages over the standard adult colonoscope (SAC), although data are conflicting. To provide a comprehensive up-to-date review, we conducted a meta-analysis to compare the efficacies of the VSC and SAC.
Electronic databases, including PubMed, EMBASE, the Cochrane library and the Science Citation Index, were searched to retrieve relevant trials. In addition, meeting abstracts and the reference lists of retrieved articles were reviewed for further relevant studies.
Eight randomized controlled trials (RCTs), enrolling a total of 2033 patients, were included in the meta-analysis. There was no significant heterogeneity among these studies. The cecal intubation rate was higher with the use of VSC (RR = 1.03, 95% CI 1.01 to 1.06, 8 RCTs). The VSC was also associated with fewer position changes made during colonoscopy. Time to cecal intubation was similar with VSC and SAC (WMD −0.54, 95% CI −1.40 to 0.32) but shorter in subgroup analysis with the use of VSC (WMD = −1.36, 95% CI −2.29 to −0.43). Sedation dose used with the two types of instruments showed no evidence of differences either. For all trials, only patients were blinded because of the nature of the interventions.
Use of the VSC significantly improved the cecal intubation rate and reduced ancillary maneuvers made during the procedure. Cecal intubation time was similar for the two colonoscope types over all trials, whereas a shortened time with the use of the adult VSC was seen in subgroup analysis.
Colonoscope; Variable-stiffness colonoscope; Stiffness; Meta-analysis
We have synthesized and evaluated a series of non-peptidic, bivalent Smac mimetics as antagonists of the inhibitor of apoptosis proteins and new anticancer agents. All these bivalent Smac mimetics bind to full-length XIAP with low nanomolar affinities and function as ultra-potent antagonists of XIAP. While these Smac mimetics bind to cIAP1/2 with similar low nanomolar affinities, their potencies to induce degradation of cIAP1/2 proteins in cells differ by more than 100-fold. The most potent bivalent Smac mimetics inhibit cell growth with IC50 values from 1–3 nM in the MDA-MB-231 breast cancer cell line and are 100-times more potent than the least potent compounds. Determination of intracellular concentrations for several representative compounds showed that the linkers in these bivalent Smac mimetics significantly affect their intracellular concentrations, hence the overall cellular activity. Compound 27 completely inhibits tumor growth in the MDA-MB-231 xenografts, while causing no signs of toxicity in the animals.
Antenatal ultrasound scan is a widely accepted component of antenatal care. Studies have looked at the relationship between ultrasound scanning and caesarean section (CS) in certain groups of women in China. However, there are limited data on the utilization of antenatal ultrasound scanning in the general population, including its association with CS. The purpose of this study is to describe the utilization of antenatal ultrasound screening in rural Eastern China and to explore the association between antenatal ultrasound scan and uptake of CS.
Based on a cluster randomized sample, a total of 2326 women with childbirth participated in the study. A household survey was conducted to collect socio-economic information, obstetric history and utilization of maternal health services.
Coverage of antenatal care was 96.8% (2251/2326). During antenatal care, 96.1% (2164/2251) women received ultrasound screening and the reported average number was 2.55. 46.8% women received at least 3 ultrasound scans and the maximum number reached 11. The CS rate was found to be 54.8% (1275/2326). After adjusting for socio-demographic and clinical variables, it showed a statistically significant association between antenatal ultrasound scans and uptake of CS by multivariate logistic regression model. High husband education level, high maternal age, having previous adverse pregnant outcome and pregnancy complications during the index pregnancy were also found to be risk factors of choosing a CS.
A high use of antenatal ultrasound scan in rural Eastern China is found and is influenced by socio-demographic and clinical factors. Evidence-based guidelines for antenatal ultrasound scans need to be developed and disseminated to clinicians including physicians, nurses and sonographers. Guidance about the appropriate use of ultrasound scans should also be shared with women in order to discourage unreasonable expectations and demands. It is important to monitor the use of antenatal ultrasound scan as well as the indications for caesarean section in rural China.
Ultrasonography; Prenatal; Caesarean Section; Rural Health; China
Collecting duct (CD) renin is stimulated by angiotensin (Ang) II providing a pathway for Ang I generation and further conversion to Ang II. Ang II stimulates epithelial sodium channel (ENaC) via Ang II type 1 receptor (AT1R) and increases mineralocorticoid receptor (MR) activity due to increased aldosterone release. Our objective was to determine if CD renin augmentation is mediated directly by AT1R or via ENaC and MR. In vivo studies examined the effects of ENaC blockade (amiloride; 5 mg/kg/day) on CD renin expression and urinary renin content (URC) in Ang II-infused rats (80 ng/min, 2 weeks). Ang II infusion increased systolic blood pressure (SBP), medullary renin mRNA, URC and intrarenal Ang II levels. Amiloride co-treatment did not alter these responses despite reduction in the rate of progression of SBP. In primary cultures of inner medullary CD (IMCD) cells, renin mRNA and (pro)renin protein levels increased with Ang II (100 nmol/L), and candesartan (AT1R antagonist) prevented this effect. Aldosterone (10−10 to 10−7 mol/L) with or without amiloride did not modify the upregulation of renin mRNA in Ang II treated cells. However, inhibition of protein kinase C (PKC) with calphostin C prevented the Ang II-mediated increases in renin mRNA and (pro)renin protein levels. Furthermore, PKC activation with phorbol 12-myristate 13-acetate (PMA) increased renin expression to the same extent as Ang II. These data indicate that AT1R-mediated increase in CD renin is induced directly by Ang II via PKC pathway and that this regulation is independent of MR activation or ENaC activity.
Angiotensin II-dependent hypertension; collecting duct renin; renin gene expression; protein kinase C; cell signaling pathway
The success of prenatal carrier screening as a disease prevention strategy in the Ashkenazi Jewish (AJ) population has driven the expansion of screening panels as disease-causing founder mutations have been identified. However, the carrier frequencies of many of these mutations have not been reported in large AJ cohorts. We determined the carrier frequencies of over 100 mutations for 16 recessive disorders in the New York metropolitan area AJ population. Among the 100% AJ-descended individuals, screening for 16 disorders resulted in ~1 in 3.3 being a carrier for one disease and ~1 in 24 for two diseases. The carrier frequencies ranged from 0.066 (1 in 15.2; Gaucher disease) to 0.006 (1 in 168; nemaline myopathy), which averaged ~15% higher than those for all screenees. Importantly, over 95% of screenees chose to be screened for all possible AJ diseases, including disorders with lower carrier frequencies and/or detectability. Carrier screening also identified rare individuals homozygous for disease-causing mutations who had previously unrecognized clinical manifestations. Additionally, prenatal testing results and experience for all 16 disorders (n = 574) are reported. Together, these data indicate the general acceptance, carrier frequencies, and prenatal testing results for an expanded panel of 16 diseases in the AJ population.
Ashkenazi Jewish; carrier screening; carrier frequency; residual risk; prenatal diagnosis
Naturally fermented pickles harbour many lactic acid bacteria (LAB). Forty-three LAB strains with conjugated linoleic acid (CLA)-producing ability were isolated from three naturally fermented pickle brines. Of these isolates, lp15 identified as Lactobacillus plantarum by API 50 CHL system and full-length 16S rDNA sequence analysis exhibited the highest CLA-producing ability (26.1% conversion) at 48 h in de Man Rogosa Sharpe (MRS) broth in the presence of 100 µg/ml of linoleic acid (LA). Compared to other strains, L. plantarum strain lp15 showed the highest tolerance upon increased levels of LA in the medium, i.e., up to 600 µg/ml. This strain converted about 25% of LA into CLA isomers [predominantly cis-9, trans-11 CLA (9-CLA) and trans-10, cis-12 CLA (10-CLA)], of which 75% was 9-CLA. Interestingly, though the conversion rate of LA into CLA by lp15 remained stable between 100 to 600 µg/ml LA levels in the medium, it dropped sharply at 1000 µg/ml. Taken together, the lp15 strain displayed relatively high LA tolerance with higher conversion rate, which implies that this strain is a valuable candidate for enhancing the CLA content in food-sources like pickles.
Conjugated linoleic acids; Lactobacillus plantarum; Lactic acid bacteria; Pickle; Gas chromatography
A series of compounds were designed and synthesized as antagonists of cIAP-1/2 and XIAP based upon our previously identified lead compound SM-122 (1). The most potent of these (7) binds to XIAP, cIAP-1 and cIAP-2 proteins with Ki values of 36, <1 and <1.9 nM, respectively. Consistent with its potent binding affinities to IAPs, 7 effectively antagonizes XIAP in a cell-free caspase-9 functional assay, efficiently induces cIAP-1 degradation in cells at concentrations as low as 10 nM, and triggers activation of caspases and PARP cleavage in the MDA-MB-231 breast cancer cell line. Compound 7 potently inhibits cell growth in the MDA-MB-231 cancer cell line with an IC50 value of 200 nM and is 9 times more potent than compound 1.
Two cyclopeptidic Smac mimetics, 2 and 3, were
designed and synthesized. These two compounds bind to XIAP and cIAP-1/2 with low
nanomolar affinities, and restore the activities of caspase-9 and caspase-3/-7
inhibited by XIAP. Compound 2 potently inhibits cancer cell growth
and is 5–8 times more potent than the initial lead compound.
Smac mimetics; IAP antagonists; Apoptosis inducers; New anticancer agents
A macrocyclic alkaloid, halicyclamine A, was re-discovered from an Indonesian marine sponge of Haliclona sp. 05A08 as an anti-dormant mycobacterial substance. To clarify action-mechanism of halicyclamine A, halicyclamine A-resistant strains were screened from the transformants of Mycobacterium smegmatis with the genomic DNA library of M. bovis BCG, which were constructed in the multi-copy shuttle cosmid pYUB145. Sequencing analysis of the cosmids isolated from the halicyclamine A-resistant transformants revealed that the responsible gene was involved in the genome region between 2920.549 kb and 2933.210 kb. Further experiments using the transformants over-expressing individual gene contained in the responsible region were executed, and the transformant, which over-expressed BCG2664 gene assigned as dedA gene, was found to become halicyclamine A-resistant. This evidence strongly suggested that DedA protein correlates with the action-mechanism of halicyclamine A as an anti-dormant mycobacterial substance.
halicyclamine A; dedA; marine sponge; dormant; tuberculosis
The aim of this work was to construct a novel food-grade industrial arming yeast displaying β-1,3-1,4-glucanase and to evaluate the thermal stability of the glucanase for practical application. For this purpose, a bi-directional vector containing galactokinase (GAL1) and phosphoglycerate kinase 1 (PGK1) promoters in different orientations was constructed. The β-1,3-1,4-glucanase gene from Bacillus subtilis was fused to α-agglutinin and expressed under the control of the GAL1 promoter. α-galactosidase induced by the constitutive PGK1 promoter was used as a food-grade selection marker. The feasibility of the α-galactosidase marker was confirmed by the growth of transformants harboring the constructed vector on a medium containing melibiose as a sole carbon source, and by the clear halo around the transformants in Congo-red plates owing to the expression of β-1,3-1,4-glucanase. The analysis of β-1,3-1,4-glucanase activity in cell pellets and in the supernatant of the recombinant yeast strain revealed that β-1,3-1,4-glucanase was successfully displayed on the cell surface of the yeast. The displayed β-1,3-1,4-glucanase activity in the recombinant yeast cells increased immediately after the addition of galactose and reached 45.1 U/ml after 32-h induction. The thermal stability of β-1,3-1,4-glucanase displayed in the recombinant yeast cells was enhanced compared with the free enzyme. These results suggest that the constructed food-grade yeast has the potential to improve the brewing properties of beer.
α-agglutinin; Food-grade selection marker; β-1,3-1,4-glucanase; α-galactosidase; Thermostability
Gastric teratoma (GT) is a seldom seen congenital abnormality. GT always occurs in children. The greater curvature and posterior wall of the stomach are the most common sites involving GT. We diagnosed a case of GT located on the inferior wall of the cardiac orifice in a 20-year-old man. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first case of GT located on the wall of the cardiac orifice in an adult in the English literature. We report this unusual case as an addition to this rare disease usually found in children. Computed tomography combined with endoscopic ultrasonography can be selected to diagnose GT.
Adult; Cardiac orifice; Endoscopic ultrasonography; Stomach; Teratoma
We investigated the higher structure of konjac glucomannan (KGM) in the amorphous state and solution using a laser particle size analyzer and a water activity meter. The results show that the thermodynamic structures of native KGM were primarily composed of the lamella structure units, which involve both granular crystalline and amorphous regions, and that the connection zones of such units contained both loose and tight aggregation regions. The value of surface tension (σ) of native KGM, resting with the density of its hydroxyl groups’ self-association, was an important parameter to analyze the higher structures of native KGM in the thermodynamic swelling model of native KGM.
Swelling model; Thermodynamic structure; Konjac glucomannan (KGM); Higher structure
Evidence of oxidative stress and the accumulation of fibrillar amyloid β proteins (Aβ) in senile plaques throughout the cerebral cortex are consistent features in the pathology of Alzheimer disease. To define a mechanistic link between these two processes, various aspects of the relationship between oxidative lipid membrane damage and amyloidogenesis were characterized by chemical and physical techniques. Earlier studies of this relationship demonstrated that oxidatively damaged synthetic lipid membranes promoted amyloidogenesis. The studies reported herein specify that 4-hydroxy-2-nonenal (HNE) is produced in both synthetic lipids and human brain lipid extracts by oxidative lipid damage and that it can account for accelerated amyloidogenesis. Aβ promotes the copper-mediated generation of HNE from polyunsaturated lipids, and in turn, HNE covalently modifies the histidine side chains of Aβ. HNE-modified Aβ have an increased affinity for lipid membranes and an increased tendency to aggregate into amyloid fibrils. Thus, the prooxidant activity of Aβ leads to its own covalent modification and to accelerated amyloidogenesis. These results illustrate how lipid membranes may be involved in templating the pathological misfolding of Aβ, and they suggest a possible chemical mechanism linking oxidative stress with amyloid formation.