[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: PURPOSE: Visualization of the cell cycle in living subjects has long been a big challenge. The present study aimed to noninvasively visualize mitotic arrest of the cell cycle with an optical reporter in living subjects. PROCEDURES: An N-terminal cyclin B1-luciferase fusion construct (cyclin B-Luc) controlled by the cyclin B promoter, as a mitosis reporter, was generated. HeLa or HCT116 cells stably expressing cyclin B-Luc reporter were used to evaluate its cell cycle-dependent regulation and ubiquitination-mediated degradation. We also evaluated its feasibility to monitor the mitotic arrest caused by Taxotere both in vitro and in vivo. RESULTS: We showed that the cyclin B-Luc fusion protein was regulated in a cell cycle-dependent manner and accumulated in the mitotic phase (M phase) in cellular assays. The regulation of cyclin B-Luc reporter was mediated by proteasome ubiquitination. In the present study, in vitro imaging showed that antimitotic reagents like Taxotere upregulated the reporter through cell cycle arrest in the M phase. Noninvasive longitudinal bioluminescence imaging further demonstrated an upregulation of the reporter consistent with mitotic arrest induced in tumor xenograft models. Induction of this reporter was also observed with a kinesin spindle protein inhibitor, which causes cell cycle blockage in the M phase. CONCLUSIONS: Our results demonstrate that the cyclin B-Luc reporter can be used to image whether compounds are capable, in vivo, of causing an M phase arrest and/or altering cyclin B turnover. This reporter can also be potentially used in high-throughput screening efforts aimed at discovering novel molecules that will cause cell cycle arrest at the M phase in cultivated cell lines and animal models.
Molecular imaging and biology: MIB: the official publication of the Academy of Molecular Imaging 02/2013; · 2.47 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Transgenic mice with Tie2- green fluorescent protein (GFP) are used as a model to study the kinetic distribution of the Cy5-siRNA delivered by lipid nanoparticles (LNP) into the liver. After the mouse is injected with the LNP, it undergoes a procedure of intra-vital multi-photon microscopy imaging over a period of two hours, during which the process for the nanoparticle to diffuse into the hepatocytes from the vasculature system is monitored. Since the images are obtained in-vivo, the quantification of Cy5 kinetics suffers from the moving field of view (FOV). A method is proposed to register the sequence of images through template matching. Based on the semi-automatic segmentations of the vessels in the common FOV, the registered images are segmented into three regions of interest (ROI) in which the Cy5 signals are quantified. Computation of the percentage signal strength in the ROIs over time allows for the analysis of the diffusion of Cy5-siRNA into the hepatocytes, and helps demonstrate the effectiveness of the Cy5-siRNA delivery vehicle.
Conference proceedings: ... Annual International Conference of the IEEE Engineering in Medicine and Biology Society. IEEE Engineering in Medicine and Biology Society. Conference 08/2012; 2012:3712-5.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: A major hurdle for harnessing small interfering RNA (siRNA) for therapeutic application is an effective and safe delivery of siRNA to target tissues and cells via systemic administration. While lipid nanoparticles (LNPs) composed of a cationic lipid, poly-(ethylene glycol) lipid and cholesterol, are effective in delivering siRNA to hepatocytes via systemic administration, they may induce multi-faceted toxicities in a dose-dependent manner, independently of target silencing. To understand the underlying mechanism of toxicities, pharmacological probes including anti-inflammation drugs and specific inhibitors blocking different pathways of innate immunity were evaluated for their abilities to mitigate LNP-siRNA-induced toxicities in rodents. Three categories of rescue effects were observed: (i) pretreatment with a Janus kinase (Jak) inhibitor or dexamethasone abrogated LNP-siRNA-mediated lethality and toxicities including cytokine induction, organ impairments, thrombocytopenia and coagulopathy without affecting siRNA-mediated gene silencing; (ii) inhibitors of PI3K, mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR), p38 and IκB kinase (IKK)1/2 exhibited a partial alleviative effect; (iii) FK506 and etoricoxib displayed no protection. Furthermore, knockout of Jak3, tumor necrosis factor receptors (Tnfr)p55/p75, interleukin 6 (IL-6) or interferon (IFN)-γ alone was insufficient to alleviate LNP-siRNA-associated toxicities in mice. These indicate that activation of innate immune response is a primary trigger of systemic toxicities and that multiple innate immune pathways and cytokines can mediate toxic responses. Jak inhibitors are effective in mitigating LNP-siRNA-induced toxicities.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Mouse models with liver-specific expression of firefly luciferase were developed that enable a noninvasive and longitudinal assessment of small-interfering RNA (siRNA)-mediated gene silencing in hepatocytes of live animals via bioluminescence imaging. Using these models, a set of lipid nanoparticles (LNPs) with different compositions of cationic lipids, polyethylene glycol (PEG), and cholesterol, were tested for their abilities in delivering a luciferase siRNA to the liver via systemic administration. A dose-dependent luciferase knockdown by LNP/siRNA assemblies was measured by in vivo bioluminescence imaging, which correlated well with the results from parallel ex vivo analyses of luciferase mRNA and protein levels in the liver. RNA interference (RNAi)-mediated target silencing was further confirmed by the detection of RNAi-specific target mRNA cleavage. A single dose of LNP02L at 3 mg/kg (siRNA) caused 90% reduction of luciferase expression and the target repression lasted for at least 10 days. With identical components, LNPs containing 2% PEG are more potent than those with 5.4% PEG. Our results demonstrate that these liver-luciferase mouse models provide a powerful tool for a high-throughput evaluation of hepatic delivery platforms by noninvasive imaging and that the molar ratio of PEG lipid can affect the efficacy of LNPs in silencing liver targets via systemic administration.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Despite recent progress, systemic delivery remains the major hurdle for development of safe and effective small inhibitory RNA (siRNA)-based therapeutics. Encapsulation of siRNA into liposomes is a promising option to overcome obstacles such as low stability in serum and inefficient internalization by target cells. However, a major liability of liposomes is the potential to induce an acute inflammatory response, thereby increasing the risk of numerous adverse effects. In this study, we characterized a liposomal siRNA delivery vehicle, LNP201, which is capable of silencing an mRNA target in mouse liver by over 80%. The biodistribution profile, efficacy after single and multiple doses, mechanism of action, and inflammatory toxicity are characterized for LNP201. Furthermore, we demonstrate that the glucocorticoid receptor (GR) agonist dexamethasone (Dex) inhibits LNP201-induced cytokine release, inflammatory gene induction, and mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) phosphorylation in multiple tissues. These data present a possible clinical strategy for increasing the safety profile of siRNA-based drugs while maintaining the potency of gene silencing.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Inhibition of kinesin spindle protein (KSP) is a novel mechanism for treatment of cancer with the potential to overcome limitations associated with currently employed cytotoxic agents. Herein, we describe a C2-hydroxymethyl dihydropyrrole KSP inhibitor ( 11) that circumvents hERG channel binding and poor in vivo potency, issues that limited earlier compounds from our program. However, introduction of the C2-hydroxymethyl group caused 11 to be a substrate for cellular efflux by P-glycoprotein (Pgp). Utilizing knowledge garnered from previous KSP inhibitors, we found that beta-fluorination modulated the p K a of the piperidine nitrogen and reduced Pgp efflux, but the resulting compound ( 14) generated a toxic metabolite in vivo. Incorporation of fluorine in a strategic, metabolically benign position by synthesis of an N-methyl-3-fluoro-4-(aminomethyl)piperidine urea led to compound 30 that has an optimal in vitro and metabolic profile. Compound 30 (MK-0731) was recently studied in a phase I clinical trial in patients with taxane-refractory solid tumors.
Journal of Medicinal Chemistry 07/2008; 51(14):4239-52. · 5.61 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: 3,5-diaryl-4,5-dihydropyrazoles were discovered to be potent KSP inhibitors with excellent in vivo potency. These enzyme inhibitors possess desirable physical properties that can be readily modified by incorporation of a weakly basic amine. Careful adjustment of amine basicity was essential for preserving cellular potency in a multidrug resistant cell line while maintaining good aqueous solubility.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Observations from two structurally related series of KSP inhibitors led to the proposal and discovery of dihydropyrazolobenzoxazines that possess ideal properties for cancer drug development. The synthesis and characterization of this class of inhibitors along with relevant pharmacokinetic and in vivo data are presented. The synthesis is highlighted by a key [3+2] cycloaddition to form the pyrazolobenzoxazine core followed by diastereospecific installation of a quaternary center.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Inspired by previous efforts in the pyrazolobenzoxazine class of KSP inhibitors, the design and synthesis of 1,4-diaryl-4,5-dihydropyrazole inhibitors of KSP are described. Crystallographic evidence of binding mode and in vivo potency data is also highlighted.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The kinesin spindle protein (KSP), a microtubule motor protein, is essential for the formation of bipolar spindles during mitosis. Inhibition of KSP activates the spindle checkpoint and causes apoptosis. It was shown that prolonged inhibition of KSP activates Bax and caspase-3, which requires a competent spindle checkpoint and couples with mitotic slippage. Here we investigated how Bax is activated by KSP inhibition and the roles of Bax and p53 in KSP inhibitor-induced apoptosis. We demonstrate that small interfering RNA-mediated knockdown of Bax greatly attenuates KSP inhibitor-induced apoptosis and that Bax activation is upstream of caspase activation. This indicates that Bax mediates the lethality of KSP inhibitors and that KSP inhibition provokes apoptosis via the intrinsic apoptotic pathway where Bax activation is prior to caspase activation. Although the BH3-only protein Puma is induced after mitotic slippage, suppression of de novo protein synthesis that abrogates Puma induction does not block activation of Bax or caspase-3, indicating that Bax activation is triggered by a posttranslational event. Comparison of KSP inhibitor-induced apoptosis between matched cell lines containing either functional or deficient p53 reveals that inhibition of KSP induces apoptosis independently of p53 and that p53 is dispensable for spindle checkpoint function. Thus, KSP inhibitors should be active in p53-deficient tumors.
Molecular and Cellular Biology 02/2007; 27(2):689-98. · 5.37 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The inhibition of KSP causes mitotic arrest by activating the spindle assembly checkpoint. While transient inhibition of KSP leads to reversible mitotic arrest, prolonged exposure to a KSP inhibitor induces apoptosis. Induction of apoptosis by the KSP inhibitor couples with mitotic slippage. Slippage-refractory cells show resistance to KSP inhibitor-mediated lethality, whereas promotion of slippage after mitotic arrest enhances apoptosis. However, attenuation of the spindle checkpoint confers resistance to KSP inhibitor-induced apoptosis. Furthermore, sustained KSP inhibition activates the proapoptotic protein, Bax, and both activation of the spindle checkpoint and subsequent mitotic slippage are required for Bax activation. These studies indicate that in response to KSP inhibition, activation of the spindle checkpoint followed by mitotic slippage initiates apoptosis by activating Bax.
Cancer Cell 08/2005; 8(1):49-59. · 24.76 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: A series of macrocyclic piperazinone compounds with dual farnesyltransferase/geranylgeranyltransferase-I inhibitory activity was prepared. These compounds were found to be potent inhibitors of protein prenylation in cell culture. A hypothesis for the binding mode of compound 3o in FPTase is proposed.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Farnesyl:protein transferase (FPTase) catalyzes the covalent addition of the isoprenyl moiety of farnesylpyrophosphate to the C-terminus of the Ras oncoprotein and other cellular proteins. Inhibitors of FPTase (FTIs) have been developed as potential anticancer agents, and several compounds have been evaluated in clinical trials. To facilitate the identification of cell-active FTIs with high potency, the authors developed a method that uses a radiolabeled FTI that serves as a ligand in competitive displacement assays. Using high-affinity [(3)H]-labeled or [(125)I]-labeled FTI radioligands, they show that specific binding to FPTase can be detected in intact cells. Binding of these labeled FTI radioligands can be competed with a variety of structurally diverse FTIs, and the authors show that inhibition of FTI radioligand binding correlates well with inhibition of FPTase substrate prenylation in cells. This method provides a rapid and quantitative means of assessing FTI potency in cells and is useful for guiding the discovery of potent, novel inhibitors of FPTase. Similar methods could be employed in the optimization of inhibitors for other intracellular drug targets.
Journal of Biomolecular Screening 08/2003; 8(4):430-8. · 2.21 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: We have prepared a series of potent, dual inhibitors of the prenyl transferases farnesyl protein transferase (FPTase) and geranyl-geranyl protein transferase I (GGPTase). The compounds were shown to possess potent activity against both enzymes in cell culture. Mechanistic analysis has shown that the compounds are CAAX competitive for FPTase inhibition but geranyl-geranyl pyrophosphate (GGPP) competitive for GGPTase inhibiton.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Farnesyl:protein transferase (FPTase) inhibitors were developed as anti-Ras drugs, but they fail to inhibit Ki-Ras activity because Ki-Ras can be modified by geranylgeranyl:protein transferase type-I (GGPTase-I). L-778,123, an inhibitor of FPTase and GGPTase-I, was developed in part because it can completely inhibit Ki-Ras prenylation. To support the clinical development of L-778,123, we developed pharmacodynamic assays using peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) to measure the inhibition of prenylation of HDJ2 and Rap1A, proteins that are FPTase- and GGPTase-I substrates, respectively. We validated these assays in animal models and show that inhibition of HDJ2 prenylation in mouse PBMCs correlates with the concentration of FPTase inhibitors in blood. In dogs, continuous infusion of L-778,123 inhibited both HDJ2 and Rap1A prenylation in PBMCs, but we did not detect inhibition of Ki-Ras prenylation. We reported previously results from the first L-778,123 Phase I trial that showed a dose-dependent inhibition of HDJ2 farnesylation in PBMCs. In this report, we present additional analysis of patient samples from this trial and a second Phase I trial of L-778,123, and demonstrate the inhibition of both HDJ2 and Rap1A prenylation in PBMC samples. This study represents the first demonstration of GGPTase-I inhibition in humans. However, no inhibition of Ki-Ras prenylation by L-778,123 was detected in patient samples. These results confirm the pharmacologic profile of L-778,123 in humans as a dual inhibitor of FPTase and GGPTase-I, but indicate that the intended target of the drug, Ki-Ras, was not inhibited.
Molecular Cancer Therapeutics 08/2002; 1(9):747-58. · 5.60 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: A series of macrocyclic 3-aminopyrrolidinone farnesyltransferase inhibitors (FTIs) has been synthesized. Compared with previously described linear 3-aminopyrrolidinone FTIs such as compound 1, macrocycles such as 49 combined improved pharmacokinetic properties with a reduced potential for side effects. In dogs, oral bioavailability was good to excellent, and increases in plasma half-life were due to attenuated clearance. It was observed that in vivo clearance correlated with the flexibility of the molecules and this concept proved useful in the design of FTIs that exhibited low clearance, such as FTI 78. X-ray crystal structures of compounds 49 and 66 complexed with farnesyltransferase (FTase)-farnesyl diphosphate (FPP) were determined, and they provide details of the key interactions in such ternary complexes. Optimization of this 3-aminopyrrolidinone series of compounds led to significant increases in potency, providing 83 and 85, the most potent inhibitors of FTase in cells described to date.
Journal of Medicinal Chemistry 07/2002; 45(12):2388-409. · 5.61 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Compound 1 has been shown to be a dual prenylation inhibitor with FPTase (IC50=2 nM) and GGPTase-I (IC50=95 nM). Analogues of 1, which replaced the cyanophenyl group with various biaryls, led to the discovery of highly potent dual FPTase/GGPTase-I inhibitors. 4-trifluoromethylphenyl, trifluoropentynyl, and trifluoropentyl were identified as good p-cyano replacements.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Farnesyl:protein transferase (FPTase) inhibitors (FTIs) were originally developed as potential anticancer agents targeting the ras oncogene and are currently in clinical trials. Whereas FTIs inhibit the farnesylation of Ha-Ras, they do not completely inhibit the prenylation of Ki-Ras, the allele most frequently mutated in human cancers. Whereas farnesylation of Ki-Ras is blocked by FTIs, Ki-Ras remains prenylated in FTI-treated cells because of its modification by the related prenyltransferase, geranylgeranyl:protein transferase type I (GGPTase-I). Hence, cells transformed with Ki-ras tend to be more resistant to FTIs than Ha-ras-transformed cells. To determine whether Ki-ras-transformed cells can be targeted by combining an FTI with a GGPTase-I inhibitor (GGTI), we evaluated potent, selective FTIs, GGTIs, and dual prenylation inhibitors (DPIs) that have both FTI and GGTI activity. We find that in human PSN-1 pancreatic tumor cells, which harbor oncogenic Ki-ras, and in other tumor lines having either wild-type or oncogenic Ki-ras, treatment with an FTI/GGTI combination or with a DPI blocks Ki-Ras prenylation and induces markedly higher levels of apoptosis relative to FTI or GGTI alone. We demonstrate that these compounds can inhibit their enzyme targets in mice by monitoring pancreatic and tumor tissues from treated animals for inhibition of prenylation of Ki-Ras, HDJ2, a substrate specific for FPTase, and Rap1A, a substrate specific for GGPTase-I. Continuous infusion (72 h) of varying doses of GGTI in conjunction with a high, fixed dose of FTI causes a dose-dependent inhibition of Ki-Ras prenylation. However, a 72-h infusion of a GGTI, at a dose sufficient to inhibit Ki-Ras prenylation in the presence of an FTI, causes death within 2 weeks of the infusion when administered either as monotherapy or in combination with an FTI. DPIs are also lethal after a 72-h infusion at doses that inhibit Ki-Ras prenylation. Because 24 h infusion of a high dose of DPI is tolerated and inhibits Ki-Ras prenylation, we compared the antitumor efficacy from a 24-h FTI infusion to that of a DPI in a nude mouse/PSN-1 tumor cell xenograft model and in Ki-ras transgenic mice with mammary tumors. The FTI and DPI were dosed at a level that provided comparable inhibition of FPTase. The FTI and the DPI displayed comparable efficacy, causing a decrease in growth rate of the PSN-1 xenograft tumors and tumor regression in the transgenic model, but neither treatment regimen induced a statistically significant increase in tumor cell apoptosis. Although FTI/GGTI combinations elicit a greater apoptotic response than either agent alone in vitro, the toxicity associated with GGTI treatment in vivo limits the duration of treatment and, thus, may limit the therapeutic benefit that might be gained by inhibiting oncogenic Ki-Ras through dual prenyltransferase inhibitor therapy.
Cancer Research 01/2002; 61(24):8758-68. · 8.65 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: A series of amino acid-based linkers was used to investigate the effects of various substituents upon the potency, pharmacokinetic properties, and conformation of macrocyclic farnesyl-protein transferase inhibitors (FTIs). As a result of the studies described herein, highly potent FTIs with improved pharmacokinetic profiles have been identified.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The synthesis, structure−activity relationships, and biological properties of a novel series of imidazole-containing inhibitors of farnesyltransferase are described. Starting from a 3-aminopyrrolidinone core, a systematic series of modifications provided 5h, a non-thiol, non-peptide farnesyltransferase inhibitor with excellent bioavailability in dogs. Compound 5h was found to have an unusually favorable ratio of cell potency to intrinsic potency, compared with other known FTIs. It exhibited excellent potency against a range of tumor cell lines in vitro and showed full efficacy in the K-rasB transgenic mouse model.
Journal of Medicinal Chemistry 07/2001; 44(18). · 5.61 Impact Factor