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WD repeat domain 5 (WDR5) is a member of the WD40-repeat protein family that plays a critical role in multiple chromatin-centric processes. Overexpression of WDR5 correlates with a poor clinical outcome in many human cancers, and WDR5 itself has emerged as an attractive target for therapy. Most drug-discovery efforts center on the WIN site of WDR5 that is responsible for the recruitment of WDR5 to chromatin. Here, we describe discovery of a novel WDR5 WIN site antagonists containing a dihydroisoquinolinone bicyclic core using a structure-based design. These compounds exhibit picomolar binding affinity and selective concentration-dependent antiproliferative activities in sensitive MLL-fusion cell lines. Furthermore, these WDR5 WIN site binders inhibit proliferation in MYC-driven cancer cells and reduce MYC recruitment to chromatin at MYC/WDR5 co-bound genes. Thus, these molecules are useful probes to study the implication of WDR5 inhibition in cancers and serve as a potential starting point toward the discovery of anti-WDR5 therapeutics.
Prostaglandins (PG) are pleiotropic bioactive lipids involved in the control of many physiological processes, including key roles in regulating inflammation. This links PG to the modulation of the quality and magnitude of immune responses. T cells, as a core part of the immune system, respond readily to inflammatory cues from their environment, and express a diverse array of PG receptors that contribute to their function and phenotype. Here we put in context our knowledge about how PG affect T cell biology, and review advances that bring light into how specific T cell functions that have been newly discovered are modulated through PG. We will also comment on drugs that target PG metabolism and sensing, their effect on T cell function during disease, and we will finally discuss how we can design new approaches that modulate PG in order to maximize desired therapeutic T cell effects.
Published by Elsevier Ltd.
Minichromosome maintenance protein 10 (Mcm10) is essential for DNA unwinding by the replisome during S phase. It is emerging as a promising anti-cancer target as MCM10 expression correlates with tumour progression and poor clinical outcomes. Here we used a competition-based fluorescence polarization (FP) high-throughput screening (HTS) strategy to identify compounds that inhibit Mcm10 from binding to DNA. Of the five active compounds identified, only the anti-parasitic agent suramin exhibited a dose-dependent decrease in replication products in an in vitro replication assay. Structure-activity relationship evaluation identified several suramin analogues that inhibited ssDNA binding by the human Mcm10 internal domain and full-length Xenopus Mcm10, including analogues that are selective for Mcm10 over human RPA. Binding of suramin analogues to Mcm10 was confirmed by surface plasmon resonance (SPR). SPR and FP affinity determinations were highly correlated, with a similar rank between affinity and potency for killing colon cancer cells. Suramin analogue NF157 had the highest human Mcm10 binding affinity (FP K 170 nM, SPR K 460 nM) and cell activity (IC 38 µM). Suramin and its analogues are the first identified inhibitors of Mcm10 and probably block DNA binding by mimicking the DNA sugar phosphate backbone due to their extended, polysulfated anionic structures.
Novel therapeutic regulators of uterine contractility are needed to manage preterm labor, induce labor and control postpartum hemorrhage. Therefore, we previously developed a high-throughput assay for large-scale screening of small molecular compounds to regulate calcium-mobilization in primary mouse uterine myometrial cells. The goal of this study was to select the optimal myometrial cells for our high-throughput drug discovery assay, as well as determine the similarity or differences of myometrial cells to vascular smooth muscle cells (VSMCs)-the most common off-target of current myometrial therapeutics. Molecular and pharmacological assays were used to compare myometrial cells from four sources: primary cells isolated from term pregnant human and murine myometrium, immortalized pregnant human myometrial (PHM-1) cells and immortalized non-pregnant human myometrial (hTERT-HM) cells. In addition, myometrial cells were compared to vascular SMCs. We found that the transcriptome profiles of hTERT-HM and PHM1 cells were most similar (r = 0.93 and 0.90, respectively) to human primary myometrial cells. Comparative transcriptome profiling of primary human myometrial transcriptome and VSMCs revealed 498 upregulated (p ≤ 0.01, log2FC≥1) genes, of which 142 can serve as uterine-selective druggable targets. In the high-throughput Ca-assay, PHM1 cells had the most similar response to primary human myometrial cells in OT-induced Ca-release (E = 195% and 143%, EC = 30 nM and 120 nM, respectively), while all sources of myometrial cells showed excellent and similar robustness and reproducibility (Z' = 0.52 to 0.77). After testing a panel of 61 compounds, we found that the stimulatory and inhibitory responses of hTERT-HM cells were highly-correlated (r = 0.94 and 0.95, respectively) to human primary cells. Moreover, ten compounds were identified that displayed uterine-selectivity (≥5-fold E or EC compared to VSMCs). Collectively, this study found that hTERT-HM cells exhibited the most similarity to primary human myometrial cells and, therefore, is an optimal substitute for large-scale screening to identify novel therapeutic regulators of myometrial contractility. Moreover, VSMCs can serve as an important counter-screening tool to assess uterine-selectivity of targets and drugs given the similarity observed in the transcriptome and response to compounds.
Copyright © 2019 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
Comparing fragment based molecular fingerprints of drug-like molecules is one of the most robust and frequently used approaches in computer-assisted drug discovery. Molprint2D, a popular atom environment (AE) descriptor, yielded the best enrichment of active compounds across a diverse set of targets in a recent large-scale study. We present here BCL::Mol2D descriptors that outperformed Molprint2D on nine PubChem datasets spanning a wide range of protein classes. Because BCL::Mol2D records the number of AEs from a universal AE library, a novel aspect of BCL::Mol2D over the Molprint2D is its reversibility. This property enables decomposition of prediction from machine learning models to particular molecular substructures. Artificial neural networks with dropout, when trained on BCL::Mol2D descriptors outperform those trained on Molprint2D descriptors by up to 26% in logAUC metric. When combined with the Reduced Short Range descriptor set, our previously published set of descriptors optimized for QSARs, BCL::Mol2D yields a modest improvement. Finally, we demonstrate how the reversibility of BCL::Mol2D enables visualization of a 'pharmacophore map' that could guide lead optimization for serine/threonine kinase 33 inhibitors.
Rett syndrome (RTT) is a neurodevelopmental disorder caused by mutations in the Methyl CpG binding protein 2 (MeCP2) gene. This Science & Society article focuses on pharmacological strategies that attack RTT treatment from multiple angles, including drug repurposing and de novo discovery efforts, and discusses the impacts of preclinical study design and translationally relevant outcome measures.
Copyright © 2019 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
Herein, we report the discovery of a new, orally bioavailable and CNS-penetrant metabotropic glutamate receptor 7 (mGlu) negative allosteric modulator (NAM) that achieves exposure in cerebral spinal fluid (CSF) 2.5× above the in vitro IC at minimum effective doses (MEDs) of 3 mg/kg in preclinical anxiety models.
is one of the most important human pathogens that is responsible for a variety of diseases ranging from skin and soft tissue infections to endocarditis and sepsis. In recent decades, the treatment of staphylococcal infections has become increasingly difficult as the prevalence of multi-drug resistant strains continues to rise. With increasing mortality rates and medical costs associated with drug resistant strains, there is an urgent need for alternative therapeutic options. Many innovative strategies for alternative drug development are being pursued, including disruption of biofilms, inhibition of virulence factor production, bacteriophage-derived antimicrobials, anti-staphylococcal vaccines, and light-based therapies. While many compounds and methods still need further study to determine their feasibility, some are quickly approaching clinical application and may be available in the near future.
This letter describes the first account of the chemical optimization (SAR and DMPK profiling) of a new series of mGlu positive allosteric modulators (PAMs), leading to the identification of VU0652957 (VU2957, Valiglurax), a compound profiled as a preclinical development candidate. Here, we detail the challenges faced in allosteric modulator programs (e.g., steep SAR, as well as subtle structural changes affecting overall physiochemical/DMPK properties and CNS penetration).
Copyright © 2018 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
This letter describes the further chemical optimization of VU0424238 (auglurant), an mGlu NAM clinical candidate that failed in non-human primate (NHP) 28 day toxicology due to accumulation of a species-specific aldehyde oxidase (AO) metabolite of the pyrimidine head group. Here, we excised the pyrimidine moiety, identified the minimum pharmacophore, and then developed a new series of saturated ether head groups that ablated any AO contribution to metabolism. Putative back-up compounds in this novel series provided increased sp character, uniform CYP-mediated metabolism across species, good functional potency and high CNS penetration. Key to the optimization was a combination of matrix and iterative libraries that allowed rapid surveillance of multiple domains of the allosteric ligand.
Copyright © 2018 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.