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The unfolded protein response (UPR) detects and restores deficits in the endoplasmic reticulum (ER) protein folding capacity. Ceapins specifically inhibit the UPR sensor ATF6α, an ER-tethered transcription factor, by retaining it at the ER through an unknown mechanism. Our genome-wide CRISPR interference (CRISPRi) screen reveals that Ceapins function is completely dependent on the ABCD3 peroxisomal transporter. Proteomics studies establish that ABCD3 physically associates with ER-resident ATF6α in cells and in vitro in a Ceapin-dependent manner. Ceapins induce the neomorphic association of ER and peroxisomes by directly tethering the cytosolic domain of ATF6α to ABCD3's transmembrane regions without inhibiting or depending on ABCD3 transporter activity. Thus, our studies reveal that Ceapins function by chemical-induced misdirection which explains their remarkable specificity and opens up new mechanistic routes for drug development and synthetic biology.
© 2019, Torres et al.
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.
Overexpression of myeloid cell leukemia-1 (Mcl-1) in cancers correlates with high tumor grade and poor survival. Additionally, Mcl-1 drives intrinsic and acquired resistance to many cancer therapeutics, including B cell lymphoma 2 family inhibitors, proteasome inhibitors, and antitubulins. Therefore, Mcl-1 inhibition could serve as a strategy to target cancers that require Mcl-1 to evade apoptosis. Herein, we describe the use of structure-based design to discover a novel compound (42) that robustly and specifically inhibits Mcl-1 in cell culture and animal xenograft models. Compound 42 binds to Mcl-1 with picomolar affinity and inhibited growth of Mcl-1-dependent tumor cell lines in the nanomolar range. Compound 42 also inhibited the growth of hematological and triple negative breast cancer xenografts at well-tolerated doses. These findings highlight the use of structure-based design to identify small molecule Mcl-1 inhibitors and support the use of 42 as a potential treatment strategy to block Mcl-1 activity and induce apoptosis in Mcl-1-dependent cancers.
There are intense interests in discovering proregenerative medicine leads that can promote cardiac differentiation and regeneration, as well as repair damaged heart tissues. We have combined zebrafish embryo-based screens with cardiomyogenesis assays to discover selective small molecules that modulate heart development and regeneration with minimal adverse effects. Two related compounds with novel structures, named as Cardiomogen 1 and 2 (CDMG1 and CDMG2), were identified for their capacity to promote myocardial hyperplasia through expansion of the cardiac progenitor cell population. We find that Cardiomogen acts as a Wnt inhibitor by targeting β-catenin and reducing Tcf/Lef-mediated transcription in cultured cells. CDMG treatment of amputated zebrafish hearts reduces nuclear β-catenin in injured heart tissue, increases cardiomyocyte (CM) proliferation, and expedites wound healing, thus accelerating cardiac muscle regeneration. Importantly, Cardiomogen can alleviate the functional deterioration of mammalian hearts after myocardial infarction. Injured hearts exposed to CDMG1 display increased newly formed CMs and reduced fibrotic scar tissue, which are in part attributable to the β-catenin reduction. Our findings indicate Cardiomogen as a Wnt inhibitor in enhancing injury-induced CM proliferation and heart regeneration, highlighting the values of embryo-based small molecule screens in discovery of effective and safe medicine leads.
© The Author(s) (2019). Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of Journal of Molecular Cell Biology, IBCB, SIBS, CAS. All rights reserved.
This chapter provides a broad overview of ion mobility-mass spectrometry (IM-MS) and its applications in separation science, with a focus on pharmaceutical applications. A general overview of fundamental ion mobility (IM) theory is provided with descriptions of several contemporary instrument platforms which are available commercially (i.e., drift tube and traveling wave IM). Recent applications of IM-MS toward the evaluation of structural isomers are highlighted and placed in the context of both a separation and characterization perspective. We conclude this chapter with a guided reference protocol for obtaining routine IM-MS spectra on a commercially available uniform-field IM-MS.
Small molecule flexible alignment is a critical component of both ligand- and structure-based methods in computer-aided drug discovery. Despite its importance, the availability of high-quality flexible alignment software packages is limited. Here, we present BCL::MolAlign, a freely available property-based molecular alignment program. BCL::MolAlign accommodates ligand flexibility through a combination of pregenerated conformers and on-the-fly bond rotation. BCL::MolAlign converges on alignment poses by sampling the relative orientations of mutually matching atom pairs between molecules through Monte Carlo Metropolis sampling. Across six diverse ligand data sets, BCL::MolAlign flexible alignment outperforms MOE, ROCS, and FLEXS in recovering native ligand binding poses. Moreover, the BCL::MolAlign alignment score is more predictive of ligand activity than maximum common substructure similarity across 10 data sets. Finally, on a recently published benchmark set of 20 high quality congeneric ligand-protein complexes, BCL::MolAlign is able to recover a larger fraction of native binding poses than maximum common substructure-based alignment and RosettaLigand. BCL::MolAlign can be obtained as part of the Biology and Chemistry Library (BCL) software package freely with an academic license or can be accessed via Web server at http://meilerlab.org/index.php/servers/molalign .
Pharmacologic arm-selective unfolded protein response (UPR) signaling pathway activation is emerging as a promising strategy to ameliorate imbalances in endoplasmic reticulum (ER) proteostasis implicated in diverse diseases. The small molecule (2-hydroxy-5-methylphenyl)-3-phenylpropanamide () was previously identified (
Plate et al., 2016) to preferentially activate the ATF6 arm of the UPR, promoting protective remodeling of the ER proteostasis network. Here we show that -dependent ATF6 activation requires metabolic oxidation to form an electrophile that preferentially reacts with ER proteins. Proteins covalently modified by include protein disulfide isomerases (PDIs), known to regulate ATF6 activation. Genetic depletion of PDIs perturbs -dependent induction of the ATF6-target gene, , implicating covalent modifications of PDIs in the preferential activation of ATF6 afforded by treatment with . Thus, is a pro-drug that preferentially activates ATF6 signaling through a mechanism involving localized metabolic activation and selective covalent modification of ER resident proteins that regulate ATF6 activity.
© 2018, Paxman et al.
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.
encodes a transcription factor that is anchored in the endoplasmic reticulum (ER) and activated during the unfolded protein response (UPR) to protect cells from ER stress. Deletion of the isoform activating transcription factor 6α (ATF6α) and its paralog ATF6β results in embryonic lethality and notochord dysgenesis in nonhuman vertebrates, and loss-of-function mutations in ATF6α are associated with malformed neuroretina and congenital vision loss in humans. These phenotypes implicate an essential role for ATF6 during vertebrate development. We investigated this hypothesis using human stem cells undergoing differentiation into multipotent germ layers, nascent tissues, and organs. We artificially activated ATF6 in stem cells with a small-molecule ATF6 agonist and, conversely, inhibited ATF6 using induced pluripotent stem cells from patients with mutations. We found that ATF6 suppressed pluripotency, enhanced differentiation, and unexpectedly directed mesodermal cell fate. Our findings reveal a role for ATF6 during differentiation and identify a new strategy to generate mesodermal tissues through the modulation of the ATF6 arm of the UPR.
Copyright © 2018 The Authors, some rights reserved; exclusive licensee American Association for the Advancement of Science. No claim to original U.S. Government Works.
The unique metabolic demands of cancer cells underscore potentially fruitful opportunities for drug discovery in the era of precision medicine. However, therapeutic targeting of cancer metabolism has led to surprisingly few new drugs to date. The neutral amino acid glutamine serves as a key intermediate in numerous metabolic processes leveraged by cancer cells, including biosynthesis, cell signaling, and oxidative protection. Herein we report the preclinical development of V-9302, a competitive small molecule antagonist of transmembrane glutamine flux that selectively and potently targets the amino acid transporter ASCT2. Pharmacological blockade of ASCT2 with V-9302 resulted in attenuated cancer cell growth and proliferation, increased cell death, and increased oxidative stress, which collectively contributed to antitumor responses in vitro and in vivo. This is the first study, to our knowledge, to demonstrate the utility of a pharmacological inhibitor of glutamine transport in oncology, representing a new class of targeted therapy and laying a framework for paradigm-shifting therapies targeting cancer cell metabolism.