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In a recent study, we found that blocking the protein kinase ataxia telangiectasia mutated (ATM) with the small molecule inhibitor (SMI) KU-55933 can completely abrogate Mn-induced phosphorylation of p53 at serine 15 (p-p53) in human induced pluripotent stem cell (hiPSC)-differentiated striatal neuroprogenitors. However, in the immortalized mouse striatal progenitor cell line STHdh, a concentration of KU55933 far exceeding its IC for ATM was required to inhibit Mn-induced p-p53. This suggested an alternative signaling system redundant with ATM kinase for activating p53 in this cell line- one that was altered by KU55933 at these higher concentrations (i.e. mTORC1, DNApk, PI3K). To test the hypothesis that one or more of these signaling pathways contributed to Mn-induced p-p53, we utilized a set of SMIs (e.g. NU7441 and LY294002) known to block DNApk, PI3K, and mTORC1 at distinct concentrations. We found that the SMIs inhibit Mn-induced p-p53 expression near the expected IC for PI3K, versus other known targets. We hypothesized that inhibiting PI3K reduces intracellular Mn and thereby decreases activation of p53 by Mn. Using the cellular fura-2 manganese extraction assay (CFMEA), we determined that KU55933/60019, NU7441, and LY294002 (at concentrations near their IC for PI3K) all decrease intracellular Mn (∼50%) after a dual, 24-h Mn and SMI exposure. Many pathways are activated by Mn aside from p-p53, including AKT and mTOR pathways. Thus, we explored the activation of these pathways by Mn in STHdh cells as well as the effects of other pathway inhibitors. p-AKT and p-S6 activation by Mn is almost completely blocked upon addition of NU7441(5μM) or LY294002(7μM), supporting PI3K's upstream role in the AKT/mTOR pathway. We also investigated whether PI3K inhibition blocks Mn uptake in other cell lines. LY294002 exposure did not reduce Mn uptake in ST14A, Neuro2A, HEK293, MEF, or hiPSC-derived neuroprogenitors. Next, we sought to determine whether inhibition of PI3K blocked p53 phosphorylation by directly blocking an unknown PI3K/p53 interaction or indirectly reducing intracellular Mn, decreasing p-p53 expression. In-Cell Western and CFMEA experiments using multiple concentrations of Mn exposures demonstrated that intracellular Mn levels directly correlated with p-p53 expression with or without addition of LY294002. Finally, we examined whether PI3K inhibition was able to block Mn-induced p-p53 activity in hiPSC-derived striatal neuroprogenitors. As expected, LY294002 does not block Mn-induced p-p53 as PI3K inhibition is unable to reduce Mn net uptake in this cell line, suggesting the effect of LY294002 on Mn uptake is relatively specific to the STHdh mouse striatal cell line.
Copyright © 2017 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
The design of immunogens that elicit broadly reactive neutralizing antibodies (bnAbs) has been a major obstacle to HIV-1 vaccine development. One approach to assess potential immunogens is to use mice expressing precursors of human bnAbs as vaccination models. The bnAbs of the VRC01-class derive from the IGHV1-2 immunoglobulin heavy chain and neutralize a wide spectrum of HIV-1 strains via targeting the CD4 binding site of the envelope glycoprotein gp120. We now describe a mouse vaccination model that allows a germline human IGHV1-2(∗)02 segment to undergo normal V(D)J recombination and, thereby, leads to the generation of peripheral B cells that express a highly diverse repertoire of VRC01-related receptors. When sequentially immunized with modified gp120 glycoproteins designed to engage VRC01 germline and intermediate antibodies, IGHV1-2(∗)02-rearranging mice, which also express a VRC01-antibody precursor light chain, can support the affinity maturation of VRC01 precursor antibodies into HIV-neutralizing antibody lineages.
Copyright © 2016 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
This Letter describes the further lead optimization of the CHT inhibitor probe, ML352 (VU0476201), and the development of VU6001221, an improved in vivo tool. A multi-dimensional optimization effort encountered steep SAR, and ultimately, subtle tuning of the electronics of the central phenyl core provided VU6001221, a CHT inhibitor with comparable potency for choline uptake inhibition as ML352, yet improved PK and CNS penetration. Moreover, VU6001221 enabled evaluation, for the first time, of a CHT inhibitor in a standard preclinical rodent cognition model, novel object recognition (NOR). We observed VU6001221 to elicit a dose-responsive increase in NOR, raising the possibility of agonism of synaptic α7 nicotinic ACh receptors by elevated extracellular choline, that if confirmed would represent a novel molecular strategy to enhance cognition.
Copyright © 2016 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
Chikungunya virus (CHIKV) is a mosquito-transmitted RNA virus that causes acute febrile infection associated with polyarthralgia in humans. Mechanisms of protective immunity against CHIKV are poorly understood, and no effective therapeutics or vaccines are available. We isolated and characterized human monoclonal antibodies (mAbs) that neutralize CHIKV infectivity. Among the 30 mAbs isolated, 13 had broad and ultrapotent neutralizing activity (IC50 < 10 ng/ml), and all of these mapped to domain A of the E2 envelope protein. Potent inhibitory mAbs blocked post-attachment steps required for CHIKV membrane fusion, and several were protective in a lethal challenge model in immunocompromised mice, even when administered at late time points after infection. These highly protective mAbs could be considered for prevention or treatment of CHIKV infection, and their epitope location in domain A of E2 could be targeted for rational structure-based vaccine development.
Copyright © 2015 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Flecainide blocks ryanodine receptor type 2 (RyR2) channels in the open state, suppresses arrhythmogenic Ca2+ waves and prevents catecholaminergic polymorphic ventricular tachycardia (CPVT) in mice and humans. We hypothesized that differences in RyR2 activity induced by CPVT mutations determines the potency of open-state RyR2 blockers like flecainide (FLEC) and R-propafenone (RPROP) against Ca2+ waves in cardiomyocytes. Using confocal microscopy, we studied Ca2+ sparks and waves in isolated saponin-permeabilized ventricular myocytes from two CPVT mouse models (Casq2-/-, RyR2-R4496C+/-), wild-type (c57bl/6, WT) mice, and WT rabbits (New Zealand white rabbits). Consistent with increased RyR2 activity, Ca2+ spark and wave frequencies were significantly higher in CPVT compared to WT mouse myocytes. We next obtained concentration-response curves of Ca2+ wave inhibition for FLEC, RPROP (another open-state RyR2 blocker), and tetracaine (TET) (a state-independent RyR2 blocker). Both FLEC and RPROP inhibited Ca2+ waves with significantly higher potency (lower IC50) and efficacy in CPVT compared to WT. In contrast, TET had similar potency in all groups studied. Increasing RyR2 activity of permeabilized WT myocytes by exposure to caffeine (150 µM) increased the potency of FLEC and RPROP but not of TET. RPROP and FLEC were also significantly more potent in rabbit ventricular myocytes that intrinsically exhibit higher Ca2+ spark rates than WT mouse ventricular myocytes. In conclusion, RyR2 activity determines the potency of open-state blockers FLEC and RPROP for suppressing arrhythmogenic Ca2+ waves in cardiomyocytes, a mechanism likely relevant to antiarrhythmic drug efficacy in CPVT.
IMPORTANCE - The PIK3CA mutation is one of the most common mutations in head and neck squamous cell carcinoma (HNSCC). Through this research we attempt to elicit the role of oncogene dependence and effects of targeted therapy on this PIK3CA mutation.
OBJECTIVES - (1) To determine the role of oncogene dependence on PIK3CA-one of the more common and targetable oncogenes in HNSCC, and (2) to evaluate the consequence of this oncogene on the effectiveness of newly developed targeted therapies.
DESIGN, SETTING, AND PARTICIPANTS - This was a cell culture-based, in vitro study performed at an academic research laboratory assessing the viability of PIK3CA-mutated head and neck cell lines when treated with targeted therapy.
EXPOSURES - PIK3CA-mutated head and neck cell lines were treated with 17-AAG, GDC-0941, trametinib, and BEZ-235.
MAIN OUTCOMES AND MEASURES - Assessment of cell viability of HNSCC cell lines characterized for PIK3CA mutations or SCC25 cells engineered to express the PIK3CA hotspot mutations E545K or H1047R.
RESULTS - Surprisingly, in engineered cell lines, the hotspot E545K and H1047R mutations conferred increased, rather than reduced, IC50 assay measurements when treated with the respective HSP90, PI3K, and MEK inhibitors, 17-AAG, GDC-0941, and trametinib, compared with the SCC25 control cell lines. When treated with BEZ-235, H1047R-expressing cell lines showed increased sensitivity to inhibition compared with control, whereas those expressing E545K showed slightly increased sensitivity of unclear significance.
CONCLUSIONS AND RELEVANCE - (1) The PIK3CA mutations within our engineered cell model did not lead to enhanced oncogene-dependent cell death when treated with direct inhibition of the PI3K enzyme yet did show increased sensitivity compared with control with dual PI3K/mTOR inhibition. (2) Oncogene addiction to PIK3CA hotspot mutations, if it occurs, is likely to evolve in vivo in the context of additional molecular changes that remain to be identified. Additional study is required to develop new model systems and approaches to determine the role of targeted therapy in the treatment of PI3K-overactive HNSCC tumors.
Herein we report the design and synthesis of a series of substituted pyrazolo[1,5-a]quinazolin-5(4H)-ones as negative allosteric modulators of metabotropic glutamate receptors 2 and 3 (mGlu2 and mGlu3, respectively). Development of this series was initiated by reports that pyrazolo[1,5-a]quinazoline-derived scaffolds can yield compounds with activity at group II mGlu receptors which are prone to molecular switching following small structural changes. Several potent analogues, including 4-methyl-2-phenyl-8-(pyrimidin-5-yl)pyrazolo[1,5-a]quinazolin-5(4H)-one (10b), were discovered with potent in vitro activity as dual mGlu2/mGlu3 NAMs, with excellent selectivity versus the other mGluRs.
Copyright © 2014 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
A multidimensional, iterative parallel synthesis effort identified a series of highly selective mGlu3 NAMs with submicromolar potency and good CNS penetration. Of these, ML337 resulted (mGlu3 IC50 = 593 nM, mGlu2 IC50 >30 μM) with B:P ratios of 0.92 (mouse) to 0.3 (rat). DMPK profiling and shallow SAR led to the incorporation of deuterium atoms to address a metabolic soft spot, which subsequently lowered both in vitro and in vivo clearance by >50%.
OBJECTIVE - Nevirapine is metabolized by cytochrome P450 (CYP) 2B6 and CYP3A4. We characterized relationships between clinical parameters, human genetics, pharmacokinetics, and human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) drug resistance mutations in pregnant women following single-dose intrapartum nevirapine.
METHODS - In AIDS Clinical Trials Group study A5207, women received nevirapine at onset of labor and were randomly assigned to receive lamivudine/zidovudine, emtricitabine/tenofovir, or lopinavir/ritonavir for 7 or 21 days. Plasma nevirapine level was quantified on postpartum day 1 and on weeks 1, 3, and 5. We assayed 214 polymorphisms in CYP2B6 and other genes and evaluated associations with pharmacokinetic parameters, including elimination constant, time to protein-adjusted 50% inhibitory concentration (IC50), and week 5 nevirapine level below the quantification limit.
RESULTS - Among 301 women with evaluable pharmacokinetic and genotype data, lower body mass index and random assignment to receive lopinavir/ritonavir were associated with more rapid nevirapine elimination. Among those of African ancestry, longer time to IC50 was associated with CYP2B6 983T → C (P = .004) but not with CYP2B6 516G → T (P = .8). Among Indians, slower nevirapine elimination was associated with CYP2B6 516G → T (P = .04). Emergent resistance was infrequent and not associated with pharmacokinetics or CYP2B6 genotype.
CONCLUSIONS - The effects on plasma drug exposure following single-dose nevirapine may be greater for CYP2B6 983T → C than for 516G → T and are less pronounced than at steady state.
Staphylococcus aureus is a significant infectious threat to global public health. Acquisition or synthesis of heme is required for S. aureus to capture energy through respiration, but an excess of this critical cofactor is toxic to bacteria. S. aureus employs the heme sensor system (HssRS) to overcome heme toxicity; however, the mechanism of heme sensing is not defined. Here, we describe the identification of a small molecule activator of HssRS that induces endogenous heme biosynthesis by perturbing central metabolism. This molecule is toxic to fermenting S. aureus, including clinically relevant small colony variants. The utility of targeting fermenting bacteria is exemplified by the fact that this compound prevents the emergence of antibiotic resistance, enhances phagocyte killing, and reduces S. aureus pathogenesis. Not only is this small molecule a powerful tool for studying bacterial heme biosynthesis and central metabolism; it also establishes targeting of fermentation as a viable antibacterial strategy.