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Sterol 14α-demethylases (CYP51) are the cytochrome P450 enzymes required for biosynthesis of sterols in eukaryotes, the major targets for antifungal agents and prospective targets for treatment of protozoan infections. Human CYP51 could be and, for a while, was considered as a potential target for cholesterol-lowering drugs (the role that is now played by statins, which are also in clinical trials for cancer) but revealed high intrinsic resistance to inhibition. While microbial CYP51 enzymes are often inhibited stoichiometrically and functionally irreversibly, no strong inhibitors have been identified for human CYP51. In this study, we used comparative structure/functional analysis of CYP51 orthologs from different biological kingdoms and employed site-directed mutagenesis to elucidate the molecular basis for the resistance of the human enzyme to inhibition and also designed, synthesized, and characterized new compounds. Two of them inhibit human CYP51 functionally irreversibly with their potency approaching the potencies of azole drugs currently used to inhibit microbial CYP51.
Human cytochrome P450 (P450) family 4 enzymes are involved in the metabolism of fatty acids and the bioactivation of carcinogenic arylamines and toxic natural products, e.g., 4-ipomeanol. These and other drug-metabolizing P450s are redox sensitive, showing a loss of activity resulting from preincubation with HO and recovery with mild reducing agents [Albertolle, M. W., et al. (2017) J. Biol. Chem. 292, 11230-11242]. The inhibition is due to sulfenylation of the heme-thiolate ligand, as determined by chemopreoteomics and spectroscopy. This phenomenon may have implications for chemical toxicity and observed disease-drug interactions, in which the decreased metabolism of P450 substrates occurs in patients with inflammatory diseases (e.g., influenza and autoimmunity). Human P450 1A2 was determined to be redox insensitive. To determine the mechanism underlying the differential redox sensitivity, molecular dynamics (MD) simulations were employed using the crystal structure of rabbit P450 4B1 (Protein Data Bank entry 5T6Q ). In simulating either the thiolate (Cys-S) or the sulfenic acid (Cys-SOH) at the heme ligation site, MD revealed Gln-451 in either an "open" or "closed" conformation, respectively, between the cytosol and heme-thiolate cysteine. Mutation to either an isosteric leucine (Q451L) or glutamate (Q451E) abrogated the redox sensitivity, suggesting that this "open" conformation allows for reduction of the sulfenic acid and religation of the thiolate to the heme iron. In summary, MD simulations suggest that Gln-451 in P450 4B1 adopts conformations that may stabilize and protect the heme-thiolate sulfenic acid; mutating this residue destabilizes the interaction, producing a redox insensitive enzyme.
The peptide ghrelin targets the growth hormone secretagogue receptor 1a (GHSR) to signal changes in cell metabolism and is a sought-after therapeutic target, although no structure is known to date. To investigate the structural basis of ghrelin binding to GHSR, we used solid-state nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectroscopy, site-directed mutagenesis, and Rosetta modeling. The use of saturation transfer difference NMR identified key residues in the peptide for receptor binding beyond the known motif. This information combined with assignment of the secondary structure of ghrelin in its receptor-bound state was incorporated into Rosetta using an approach that accounts for flexible binding partners. The NMR data and models revealed an extended binding surface that was confirmed via mutagenesis. Our results agree with a growing evidence of peptides interacting via two sites at G protein-coupled receptors.
Copyright © 2018 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
Ceritinib, an advanced anaplastic lymphoma kinase (ALK) next-generation inhibitor, has been proved excellent antitumor activity in the treatment of ALK-associated cancers. However, the accumulation of acquired resistance mutations compromise the therapeutic efficacy of ceritinib. Despite abundant mutagenesis data, the structural determinants for reduced ceritinib binding in mutants remains elusive. Focusing on the G1123S and F1174C mutations, we applied molecular dynamics (MD) simulations to study possible reasons for drug resistance caused by these mutations. The MD simulations predict that the studied mutations allosterically impact the configurations of the ATP-binding pocket. An important hydrophobic cluster is identified that connects P-loop and the αC-helix, which has effects on stabilizing the conformation of ATP-binding pocket. It is suggested, in this study, that the G1123S and F1174C mutations can induce the conformational change of P-loop thereby causing the reduced ceritinib affinity and causing drug resistance.
© 2019 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.
CagA is a secreted effector protein that contributes to gastric carcinogenesis. Previous studies showed that there is variation among strains in the steady-state levels of CagA and that a strain-specific motif downstream of the transcriptional start site (the +59 motif) is associated with both high levels of CagA and premalignant gastric histology. The 5' untranslated region contains a predicted stem-loop-forming structure adjacent to the +59 motif. In the current study, we investigated the effect of the +59 motif and the adjacent stem-loop on transcript levels and mRNA stability. Using site-directed mutagenesis, we found that mutations predicted to disrupt the stem-loop structure resulted in decreased steady-state levels of both the transcript and the CagA protein. Additionally, these mutations resulted in a decreased mRNA half-life. Mutagenesis of the +59 motif without altering the stem-loop structure resulted in reduced steady-state transcript and CagA protein levels but did not affect transcript stability. transcript stability was not affected by increased sodium chloride concentrations, an environmental factor known to augment transcript levels and CagA protein levels. These results indicate that both a predicted stem-loop structure and a strain-specific +59 motif in the 5' untranslated region influence the levels of expression.
Copyright © 2019 American Society for Microbiology.
The role that broadly neutralizing antibodies (bNAbs) play in natural clearance of human hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection and the underlying mechanisms remain unknown. Here, we investigate the mechanism by which bNAbs, isolated from two humans who spontaneously cleared HCV infection, contribute to HCV control. Using viral gene sequences amplified from longitudinal plasma of the two subjects, we found that these bNAbs, which target the front layer of the HCV envelope protein E2, neutralized most autologous HCV strains. Acquisition of resistance to bNAbs by some autologous strains was accompanied by progressive loss of E2 protein function, and temporally associated with HCV clearance. These data demonstrate that bNAbs can mediate clearance of human HCV infection by neutralizing infecting strains and driving escaped viruses to an unfit state. These immunopathologic events distinguish HCV from HIV-1 and suggest that development of an HCV vaccine may be achievable.
Copyright © 2018 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Synthetically engineered DNA-encoded monoclonal antibodies (DMAbs) are an in vivo platform for evaluation and delivery of human mAb to control against infectious disease. Here, we engineer DMAbs encoding potent anti-Zaire ebolavirus (EBOV) glycoprotein (GP) mAbs isolated from Ebola virus disease survivors. We demonstrate the development of a human IgG1 DMAb platform for in vivo EBOV-GP mAb delivery and evaluation in a mouse model. Using this approach, we show that DMAb-11 and DMAb-34 exhibit functional and molecular profiles comparable to recombinant mAb, have a wide window of expression, and provide rapid protection against lethal mouse-adapted EBOV challenge. The DMAb platform represents a simple, rapid, and reproducible approach for evaluating the activity of mAb during clinical development. DMAbs have the potential to be a mAb delivery system, which may be advantageous for protection against highly pathogenic infectious diseases, like EBOV, in resource-limited and other challenging settings.
Copyright © 2018 The Authors. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
CHIP (carboxyl terminus of heat shock 70-interacting protein) has long been recognized as an active member of the cellular protein quality control system given the ability of CHIP to function as both a co-chaperone and ubiquitin ligase. We discovered a genetic disease, now known as spinocerebellar autosomal recessive 16 (SCAR16), resulting from a coding mutation that caused a loss of CHIP ubiquitin ligase function. The initial mutation describing SCAR16 was a missense mutation in the ubiquitin ligase domain of CHIP (p.T246M). Using multiple biophysical and cellular approaches, we demonstrated that T246M mutation results in structural disorganization and misfolding of the CHIP U-box domain, promoting oligomerization, and increased proteasome-dependent turnover. CHIP-T246M has no ligase activity, but maintains interactions with chaperones and chaperone-related functions. To establish preclinical models of SCAR16, we engineered T246M at the endogenous locus in both mice and rats. Animals homozygous for T246M had both cognitive and motor cerebellar dysfunction distinct from those observed in the CHIP null animal model, as well as deficits in learning and memory, reflective of the cognitive deficits reported in SCAR16 patients. We conclude that the T246M mutation is not equivalent to the total loss of CHIP, supporting the concept that disease-causing CHIP mutations have different biophysical and functional repercussions on CHIP function that may directly correlate to the spectrum of clinical phenotypes observed in SCAR16 patients. Our findings both further expand our basic understanding of CHIP biology and provide meaningful mechanistic insight underlying the molecular drivers of SCAR16 disease pathology, which may be used to inform the development of novel therapeutics for this devastating disease.
The inward rectifier potassium (Kir) channel Kir4.1 () carries out important physiologic roles in epithelial cells of the kidney, astrocytes in the central nervous system, and stria vascularis of the inner ear. Loss-of-function mutations in lead to EAST/SeSAME syndrome, which is characterized by epilepsy, ataxia, renal salt wasting, and sensorineural deafness. Although genetic approaches have been indispensable for establishing the importance of Kir4.1 in the normal function of these tissues, the availability of pharmacological tools for acutely manipulating the activity of Kir4.1 in genetically normal animals has been lacking. We therefore carried out a high-throughput screen of 76,575 compounds from the Vanderbilt Institute of Chemical Biology library for small-molecule modulators of Kir4.1. The most potent inhibitor identified was 2-(2-bromo-4-isopropylphenoxy)--(2,2,6,6-tetramethylpiperidin-4-yl)acetamide (VU0134992). In whole-cell patch-clamp electrophysiology experiments, VU0134992 inhibits Kir4.1 with an IC value of 0.97 M and is 9-fold selective for homomeric Kir4.1 over Kir4.1/5.1 concatemeric channels (IC = 9 M) at -120 mV. In thallium (Tl) flux assays, VU0134992 is greater than 30-fold selective for Kir4.1 over Kir1.1, Kir2.1, and Kir2.2; is weakly active toward Kir2.3, Kir6.2/SUR1, and Kir7.1; and is equally active toward Kir3.1/3.2, Kir3.1/3.4, and Kir4.2. This potency and selectivity profile is superior to Kir4.1 inhibitors amitriptyline, nortriptyline, and fluoxetine. Medicinal chemistry identified components of VU0134992 that are critical for inhibiting Kir4.1. Patch-clamp electrophysiology, molecular modeling, and site-directed mutagenesis identified pore-lining glutamate 158 and isoleucine 159 as critical residues for block of the channel. VU0134992 displayed a large free unbound fraction () in rat plasma ( = 0.213). Consistent with the known role of Kir4.1 in renal function, oral dosing of VU0134992 led to a dose-dependent diuresis, natriuresis, and kaliuresis in rats. Thus, VU0134992 represents the first in vivo active tool compound for probing the therapeutic potential of Kir4.1 as a novel diuretic target for the treatment of hypertension.
Copyright © 2018 by The American Society for Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics.
Allosteric modulation of metabotropic glutamate receptor 2 (mGlu) has demonstrated efficacy in preclinical rodent models of several brain disorders, leading to industry and academic drug discovery efforts. Although the pharmacology and binding sites of some mGlu allosteric modulators have been characterized previously, questions remain about the nature of the allosteric mechanism of cooperativity with glutamate and whether structurally diverse allosteric modulators bind in an identical manner to specific allosteric sites. To further investigate the in vitro pharmacology of mGlu allosteric modulators, we developed and characterized a novel mGlu positive allosteric modulator (PAM) radioligand in parallel with functional studies of a structurally diverse set of mGlu PAMs and negative allosteric modulators (NAMs). Using an operational model of allosterism to analyze the functional data, we found that PAMs affect both the affinity and efficacy of glutamate at mGlu, whereas NAMs predominantly affect the efficacy of glutamate in our assay system. More importantly, we found that binding of a novel mGlu PAM radioligand was inhibited by multiple structurally diverse PAMs and NAMs, indicating that they may bind to the mGlu allosteric site labeled with the novel mGlu PAM radioligand; however, further studies suggested that these allosteric modulators do not all interact with the radioligand in an identical manner. Together, these findings provide new insights into the binding sites and modes of efficacy of different structurally and functionally distinct mGlu allosteric modulators and suggest that different ligands either interact with distinct sites or adapt different binding poses to shared allosteric site(s).
Copyright © 2018 by The American Society for Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics.