Identification and optimization of small molecules that restore E-cadherin expression and reduce invasion in colorectal carcinoma cells.

Stoops SL, Pearson AS, Weaver C, Waterson AG, Days E, Farmer C, Brady S, Weaver CD, Beauchamp RD, Lindsley CW
ACS Chem Biol. 2011 6 (5): 452-65

PMID: 21241068 · PMCID: PMC3401128 · DOI:10.1021/cb100305h

E-cadherin is a transmembrane protein that maintains intercellular contacts and cell polarity in epithelial tissue. The down-regulation of E-cadherin contributes to the induction of the epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition (EMT), resulting in an increased potential for cellular invasion of surrounding tissues and entry into the bloodstream. Loss of E-cadherin has been observed in a variety of human tumors as a result of somatic mutations, chromosomal deletions, silencing of the CDH1 gene promoter, and proteolytic cleavage. To date, no compounds directly targeting E-cadherin restoration have been developed. Here, we report the development and use of a novel high-throughput immunofluorescent screen to discover lead compounds that restore E-cadherin expression in the SW620 colon adenocarcinoma cell line. We confirmed restoration of E-cadherin using immunofluorescent microscopy and were able to determine the EC(50) for selected compounds using an optimized In-Cell Western assay. The profiled compounds were also shown to have a minimal effect on cell proliferation but did decrease cellular invasion. We have also conducted preliminary investigations to elucidate a discrete molecular target to account for the phenotypic behavior of these small molecules and have noted a modest increase in E-cadherin mRNA transcripts, and RNA-Seq analysis demonstrated that potent analogues elicited a 10-fold increase in CDH1 (E-cadherin) gene expression.

MeSH Terms (8)

Cadherins Cell Line, Tumor Colorectal Neoplasms Drug Evaluation, Preclinical Epithelial-Mesenchymal Transition Humans Neoplasm Invasiveness RNA, Messenger

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