A Modified HSP70 Inhibitor Shows Broad Activity as an Anticancer Agent

The Wistar Institute.
Molecular Cancer Research (Impact Factor: 4.35). 01/2013; 11(3). DOI: 10.1158/1541-7786.MCR-12-0547-T
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT The stress-induced heat shock protein 70 (HSP70) is an ATP-dependent molecular chaperone that plays a key role in refolding misfolded proteins and promoting cell survival following stress. HSP70 is marginally expressed in non-transformed cells, but is greatly overexpressed in tumor cells. Silencing HSP70 is uniformly cytotoxic to tumor but not normal cells; therefore, there has been great interest in the development of HSP70 inhibitors for cancer therapy. Here we report that the HSP70 inhibitor 2-phenylethynesulfonamide (PES) binds to the substrate-binding domain of HSP70, and requires the C-terminal helical 'lid' of this protein (amino acids 573-616) in order to bind. Using molecular modeling and in silico docking, we have identified a candidate binding site for PES in this region of HSP70, and we identify point mutants that fail to interact with PES. A preliminary structure-activity relationship analysis has revealed a derivative of PES, 2-(3-chlorophenyl) ethynesulfonamide (PES-Cl), which shows increased cytotoxicity and ability to inhibit autophagy, along with significantly improved ability to extend the life of mice with pre-B cell lymphoma, compared to the parent compound (p=0.015). Interestingly, we also show that these HSP70 inhibitors impair the activity of the Anaphase Promoting Complex/Cyclosome (APC/C) in cell-free extracts, and induce G2/M arrest and genomic instability in cancer cells. PES-Cl is thus a promising new anti-cancer compound with several notable mechanisms of action.

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    ABSTRACT: PES (2-phenylethynesulfonamide) was initially identified as an inhibitor of p53 translocation to mitochondria and named Pifithrin-µ. Further studies showed that PES selectively killed tumour cells and was thus a promising anticancer agent. PES-induced cell death was characterised by a non-apoptotic, autophagosome-rich phenotype. We observed this phenotype via electron microscopy in wild type (wt) and double Bax-/- Bak-/- (DKO) mouse embryonic fibroblasts (MEFs) treated with PES. We excluded the involvement of effector caspases, BAX and BAK, in causing PES-triggered cell death. Therefore, apoptosis was ruled out as the lethal mode of action of PES. Surprisingly, MEFs containing BAX were significantly protected from PES treatments. BAX overexpression in Bax-/- MEFs confirmed this pro-survival effect. Moreover, this protective effect required the ability of BAX to localise to mitochondrial membranes. Conversely, mitochondrial fusion induced by treatment with Mdivi-1 conferred increased resistance to MEFs subjected to PES treatment. The involvement of BAX in the regulation of mitochondrial dynamics has been reported. We propose the promotion of mitochondrial fusion by BAX to be the pro-survival function attributed to PES.
    Cancer Letters 08/2014; 354(1). DOI:10.1016/j.canlet.2014.07.037 · 5.02 Impact Factor


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May 31, 2014