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From a high content in vivo screen for modulators of developmental patterning in embryonic zebrafish, we previously identified eggmanone (EGM1, 3) as a Hedgehog (Hh) signaling inhibitor functioning downstream of Smoothened. Phenotypic optimization studies for in vitro probe development utilizing a Gli transcription-linked stable luciferase reporter cell line identified EGM1 analogs with improved potency and aqueous solubility. Mechanistic profiling of optimized analogs indicated two distinct scaffold clusters: PDE4 inhibitors able to inhibit downstream of Sufu, and PDE4-independent Hh inhibitors functioning between Smo and Sufu. Each class represents valuable in vitro probes for elucidating the complex mechanisms of Hh regulation.
Published by Elsevier Ltd.
Hedgehog (Hh) signaling plays an integral role in vertebrate development, and its dysregulation has been accepted widely as a driver of numerous malignancies. While a variety of small molecules target Smoothened (Smo) as a strategy for Hh inhibition, Smo gain-of-function mutations have limited their clinical implementation. Modulation of targets downstream of Smo could define a paradigm for treatment of Hh-dependent cancers. Here, we describe eggmanone, a small molecule identified from a chemical genetic zebrafish screen, which induced an Hh-null phenotype. Eggmanone exerts its Hh-inhibitory effects through selective antagonism of phosphodiesterase 4 (PDE4), leading to protein kinase A activation and subsequent Hh blockade. Our study implicates PDE4 as a target for Hh inhibition, suggests an improved strategy for Hh-dependent cancer therapy, and identifies a unique probe of downstream-of-Smo Hh modulation.
Copyright © 2015 The Authors. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
BACKGROUND - We previously established a three-dimensional (3-D) colonic crypt model using HKe3 cells which are human colorectal cancer (CRC) HCT116 cells with a disruption in oncogenic KRAS, and revealed the crucial roles of oncogenic KRAS both in inhibition of apoptosis and in disruption of cell polarity; however, the molecular mechanism of KRAS-induced these 3-D specific biological changes remains to be elucidated.
RESULTS - Among the genes that were upregulated by oncogenic KRAS in this model, we focused on the phosphodiesterase 4B (PDE4B) of which expression levels were found to be higher in clinical tumor samples from CRC patients in comparison to those from healthy control in the public datasets of gene expression analysis. PDE4B2 was specifically overexpressed among other PDE4 isoforms, and re-expression of oncogenic KRAS in HKe3 cells resulted in PDE4B overexpression. Furthermore, the inhibition of PDE4 catalytic activity using rolipram reverted the disorganization of HCT116 cells into the normal physiologic state of the epithelial cell polarity by inducing the apical assembly of ZO-1 (a tight junction marker) and E-cadherin (an adherens junction marker) and by increasing the activity of caspase-3 (an apoptosis marker) in luminal cavities. Notably, rolipram reduced the AKT phosphorylation, which is known to be associated with the disruption of luminal cavity formation and CRC development. Similar results were also obtained using PDE4B2-shRNAs. In addition, increased expression of PDE4B mRNA was found to be correlated with relapsed CRC in a public datasets of gene expression analysis.
CONCLUSIONS - These results collectively suggested that PDE4B is upregulated by oncogenic KRAS, and also that the inhibition of PDE4 catalytic activity can induce both epithelial cell polarity and luminal apoptosis in CRC, thus highlighting the utility of our 3-D culture (3 DC) model for the KRAS-induced development of CRC in 3-D microenvironment. Indeed, using this model, we found that PDE4B is a promising candidate for a therapeutic target as well as prognostic molecular marker in CRC. Further elucidation of the signaling network of PDE4B2 in 3 DC would provide a better understanding of CRC in vivo.
Chronic ethanol consumption disrupts G protein-dependent signaling pathways in rat adipocytes. Because lipolysis in adipocytes is regulated by G protein-mediated cAMP signal transduction, we hypothesized that cAMP-regulated lipolysis may be vulnerable to long-term ethanol exposure. Male Wistar rats were fed a liquid diet containing ethanol as 35% of total calories or pair-fed a control diet that isocalorically substituted maltose dextrins for ethanol for 4 wk. Lipolysis was measured by glycerol release over 1 h with or without agonists in adipocytes isolated from epididymal fat. Chronic ethanol feeding decreased beta-adrenergic receptor-stimulated lipolysis, but had no effect on basal lipolysis. In response to beta-adrenergic activation, the early peak of cAMP accumulation was suppressed after ethanol feeding, although the basal cAMP concentration in adipocytes did not differ between pair- and ethanol-fed rats. The suppression in cAMP accumulation caused by ethanol feeding was associated with increased activity of phosphodiesterase 4. Chronic ethanol feeding also decreased beta-adrenergic receptor-stimulated protein kinase A activation and phosphorylation of its downstream proteins, perilipin A and hormone-sensitive lipase, the primary lipase-mediating lipolysis. In conclusion, these data suggest that chronic ethanol feeding increased phosphodiesterase 4 activity in adipocytes, resulting in decreased accumulation of cAMP in response to beta-adrenergic activation and a suppression of beta-adrenergic stimulation of lipolysis.