Development of Erasin: a chromone-based STAT3 inhibitor which induces apoptosis in Erlotinib-resistant lung cancer cells.

Lis C, Rubner S, Roatsch M, Berg A, Gilcrest T, Fu D, Nguyen E, Schmidt AM, Krautscheid H, Meiler J, Berg T
Sci Rep. 2017 7 (1): 17390

PMID: 29234062 · PMCID: PMC5727211 · DOI:10.1038/s41598-017-17600-x

Inhibition of protein-protein interactions by small molecules offers tremendous opportunities for basic research and drug development. One of the fundamental challenges of this research field is the broad lack of available lead structures from nature. Here, we demonstrate that modifications of a chromone-based inhibitor of the Src homology 2 (SH2) domain of the transcription factor STAT5 confer inhibitory activity against STAT3. The binding mode of the most potent STAT3 inhibitor Erasin was analyzed by the investigation of structure-activity relationships, which was facilitated by chemical synthesis and biochemical activity analysis, in combination with molecular docking studies. Erasin inhibits tyrosine phosphorylation of STAT3 with selectivity over STAT5 and STAT1 in cell-based assays, and increases the apoptotic rate of cultured NSCLC cells in a STAT3-dependent manner. This ability of Erasin also extends to HCC-827 cells with acquired resistance against Erlotinib, a clinically used inhibitor of the EGF receptor. Our work validates chromone-based acylhydrazones as privileged structures for antagonizing STAT SH2 domains, and demonstrates that apoptosis can be induced in NSCLC cells with acquired Erlotinib resistance by direct inhibition of STAT3.

MeSH Terms (15)

Antineoplastic Agents Apoptosis Carcinoma, Non-Small-Cell Lung Cell Line, Tumor Humans Lung Neoplasms Molecular Docking Simulation Phosphorylation Protein Processing, Post-Translational src Homology Domains STAT1 Transcription Factor STAT3 Transcription Factor STAT5 Transcription Factor Structure-Activity Relationship Tumor Suppressor Proteins

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