Small molecule targeting Cdc42-intersectin interaction disrupts Golgi organization and suppresses cell motility.
ABSTRACT Signaling through the Rho family of small GTPases has been intensely investigated for its crucial roles in a wide variety of human diseases. Although RhoA and Rac1 signaling pathways are frequently exploited with the aid of effective small molecule modulators, studies of the Cdc42 subclass have lagged because of a lack of such means. We have applied high-throughput in silico screening and identified compounds that are able to fit into the surface groove of Cdc42, which is critical for guanine nucleotide exchange factor binding. Based on the interaction between Cdc42 and intersectin (ITSN), a specific Cdc42 guanine nucleotide exchange factor, we discovered compounds that rendered ITSN-like interactions in the binding pocket. By using in vitro binding and imaging as well as biochemical and cell-based assays, we demonstrated that ZCL278 has emerged as a selective Cdc42 small molecule modulator that directly binds to Cdc42 and inhibits its functions. In Swiss 3T3 fibroblast cultures, ZCL278 abolished microspike formation and disrupted GM130-docked Golgi structures, two of the most prominent Cdc42-mediated subcellular events. ZCL278 reduces the perinuclear accumulation of active Cdc42 in contrast to NSC23766, a selective Rac inhibitor. ZCL278 suppresses Cdc42-mediated neuronal branching and growth cone dynamics as well as actin-based motility and migration in a metastatic prostate cancer cell line (i.e., PC-3) without disrupting cell viability. Thus, ZCL278 is a small molecule that specifically targets Cdc42-ITSN interaction and inhibits Cdc42-mediated cellular processes, thus providing a powerful tool for research of Cdc42 subclass of Rho GTPases in human pathogenesis, such as those of cancer and neurological disorders.
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ABSTRACT: Abnormal expression or mutations in Ras proteins has been found in up to 30% of cancer cell types, making them excellent protein models to probe structure-function relationships of cell-signaling processes that mediate cell transformtion. Yet, there has been very little development of therapies to help tackle Ras-related diseased states. The development of small molecules to target Ras proteins to potentially inhibit abnormal Ras-stimulated cell signaling has been conceptualized and some progress has been made over the last 16 or so years. Here, we briefly review studies characterizing Ras protein-small molecule interactions to show the importance and potential that these small molecules may have for Ras-related drug discovery. We summarize recent results, highlighting small molecules that can be directly targeted to Ras using Structure-Based Drug Design (SBDD) and Fragment-Based Lead Discovery (FBLD) methods. The inactivation of Ras oncogenic signaling in vitro by small molecules is currently an attractive hurdle to try to and leap over in order to attack the oncogenic state. In this regard, important features of previously characterized properties of small molecule Ras targets, as well as a current understanding of conformational and dynamics changes seen for Ras-related mutants, relative to wild type, must be taken into account as newer small molecule design strategies towards Ras are developed.Open Journal of Biophysics 10/2013; 3(4):207-211.
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ABSTRACT: Cell division cycle 42 (CDC42), an important member of the Ras homolog (Rho) family, plays key role in regulating multiple cellular processes such as cell cycle progression, migration, cell cytoskeleton organization, cell fate determination and differentiation. Among the downstream effectors of CDC42, P21-activated kinases (PAKs) obtains the most attention. Although a large body of evidence indicate that CDC42/PAKs pathway plays important role in tumor growth, invasion and metastasis, the mechanism of their negative regulation remains unclear. Here, we identified CDC42, a PAKs activating factor, was a target of miR-133. Ectopic overexpression of miRNAs not only downregulated CDC42 expression and PAKs activation, but also inhibited cancer cell proliferation and migration. We also found that miR-133 was down-regulated in 180 pairs gastric cancer tissues. miR-133 expression was negatively associated with tumor size, invasion depth and peripheral organ metastasis. Besides, dysfunction of miR-133 was an independent prognosis factor for overall survival. Our findings could provide new insights into the molecuar mechanisms of gastric carcinogenesis, and may help facilitating development of CDC42/PAK-based therapies for human cancer.Cellular Signalling 08/2014; · 4.47 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Virtual screening has played a significant role in the discovery of small molecule inhibitors of therapeutic targets in last two decades. Various ligand and structure-based virtual screening approaches are employed to identify small molecule ligands for proteins of interest. These approaches are often combined in either hierarchical or parallel manner to take advantage of the strength and avoid the limitations associated with individual methods. Hierarchical combination of ligand and structure-based virtual screening approaches has received noteworthy success in numerous drug discovery campaigns. In hierarchical virtual screening, several filters using ligand and structure-based approaches are sequentially applied to reduce a large screening library to a number small enough for experimental testing. In this review, we focus on different hierarchical virtual screening strategies and their application in the discovery of small molecule modulators of important drug targets. Several virtual screening studies are discussed to demonstrate the successful application of hierarchical virtual screening in small molecule drug discovery.Methods 07/2014; 71. · 3.22 Impact Factor