[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Haspin is a serine/threonine kinase that phosphorylates Thr-3 of histone H3 in mitosis that has emerged as a possible cancer therapeutic target. High throughput screening of approximately 140,000 compounds identified the beta-carbolines harmine and harmol as moderately potent haspin kinase inhibitors. Based on information obtained from a structure-activity relationship study previously conducted for an acridine series of haspin inhibitors in conjunction with in silico docking using a recently disclosed crystal structure of the kinase, harmine analogs were designed that resulted in significantly increased haspin kinase inhibitory potency. The harmine derivatives also demonstrated less activity towards DYRK2 compared to the acridine series. In vitro mouse liver microsome stability and kinase profiling of a representative member of the harmine series (42, LDN-211898) are also presented.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Excitotoxicity has been implicated as the mechanism of neuronal damage resulting from acute insults such as stroke, epilepsy, and trauma, as well as during the progression of adult-onset neurodegenerative disorders such as Alzheimer's disease and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). Excitotoxicity is defined as excessive exposure to the neurotransmitter glutamate or overstimulation of its membrane receptors, leading to neuronal injury or death. One potential approach to protect against excitotoxic neuronal damage is enhanced glutamate reuptake. The glial glutamate transporter EAAT2 is the quantitatively dominant glutamate transporter and plays a major role in clearance of glutamate. Expression of EAAT2 protein is highly regulated at the translational level. In an effort to identify compounds that can induce translation of EAAT2 transcripts, a cell-based enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay was developed using a primary astrocyte line stably transfected with a vector designed to identify modulators of EAAT2 translation. This assay was optimized for high-throughput screening, and a library of approximately 140,000 compounds was tested. In the initial screen, 293 compounds were identified as hits. These 293 hits were retested at 3 concentrations, and a total of 61 compounds showed a dose-dependent increase in EAAT2 protein levels. Selected compounds were tested in full 12-point dose-response experiments in the screening assay to assess potency as well as confirmed by Western blot, immunohistochemistry, and glutamate uptake assays to evaluate the localization and function of the elevated EAAT2 protein. These hits provide excellent starting points for developing therapeutic agents to prevent excitotoxicity.
Journal of Biomolecular Screening 07/2010; 15(6):653-62. · 2.21 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Haspin is a serine/threonine kinase required for completion of normal mitosis that is highly expressed during cell proliferation, including in a number of neoplasms. Consequently, it has emerged as a potential therapeutic target in oncology. A high throughput screen of approximately 140,000 compounds identified an acridine analog as a potent haspin kinase inhibitor. Profiling against a panel of 270 kinases revealed that the compound also exhibited potent inhibitory activity for DYRK2, another serine/threonine kinase. An optimization study of the acridine series revealed that the structure-activity relationship (SAR) of the acridine series for haspin and DYRK2 inhibition had many similarities. However, several structural differences were noted that allowed generation of a potent haspin kinase inhibitor (33, IC50 <60 nM) with 180-fold selectivity over DYRK2. In addition, a moderately potent DYRK2 inhibitor (41, IC50 <400 nM) with a 5.4-fold selectivity over haspin was also identified.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: A common feature of tumors arising from diverse tissue types is a reliance on aerobic glycolysis for glucose metabolism. This metabolic difference between cancer cells and normal cells could be exploited for therapeutic benefit in patients. Cancer cells universally express the M2 isoform of the glycolytic enzyme pyruvate kinase (PKM2), and previous work has demonstrated that PKM2 expression is necessary for aerobic glycolysis and cell proliferation in vivo. Because most normal tissues express an isoform of pyruvate kinase other than PKM2, selective targeting of PKM2 provides an opportunity to target cell metabolism for cancer therapy. PKM2 has an identical catalytic site as the related M1 splice variant (PKM1). However, isoform selective inhibition is possible as PKM2 contains a unique region for allosteric regulation. We have screened a library of greater than 1,00,000 small molecules to identify such inhibitors. The inhibitors identified for PKM2 fell primarily into three distinct structural classes. The most potent PKM2 inhibitor resulted in decreased glycolysis and increased cell death following loss of growth factor signaling. At least part of this effect was due to on-target PKM2 inhibition as less cell death was observed in cells engineered to express PKM1. These data suggest that isoform selective inhibition of PKM2 with small molecules is feasible and support the hypothesis that inhibition of glucose metabolism in cancer cells is a viable strategy to treat human malignancy.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Haspin/Gsg2 is a kinase that phosphorylates histone H3 at Thr-3 (H3T3ph) during mitosis. Its depletion by RNA interference results in failure of chromosome alignment and a block in mitosis. Haspin, therefore, is a novel target for development of antimitotic agents. We report the development of a high-throughput time-resolved fluorescence resonance energy transfer (TR-FRET) kinase assay for haspin. Histone H3 peptide was used as a substrate, and a europium-labeled H3T3ph phosphospecific monoclonal antibody was used to detect phosphorylation. A library of 137632 small molecules was screened at K(m) concentrations of ATP and peptide to allow identification of diverse inhibitor types. Reconfirmation of hits and IC( 50) determinations were carried out with the TR-FRET assay and by a radiometric assay using recombinant histone H3 as the substrate. A preliminary assessment of specificity was made by testing inhibition of 2 unrelated kinases. EC( 50) values in cells were determined using a cell-based ELISA of H3T3ph. Five compounds were selected as leads based on potency and chemical structure considerations. These leads form the basis for the development of specific inhibitors of haspin that will have clear utility in basic research and possible use as starting points for development of antimitotic anticancer therapeutics.
Journal of Biomolecular Screening 11/2008; 13(10):1025-34. · 2.21 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: shRNA loss-of-function screens were used to identify kinases that were rate-limiting for promoting cell proliferation and survival. Here, we study the differences in kinase requirements among various human cells, including freshly prepared primary cells, isogenic cells, immortalized cells, and cancer cell lines. Closely related patterns of kinase requirements among the various cell types were observed in three cases: (i) in repeat experiments using the same cells, (ii) with multiple populations of freshly prepared primary epithelial cells isolated from the same tissue source, and (iii) between nearly isogenic cells that differ from each other by the expression of a single gene. Other commonly used cancer cell lines were distinct from one another, even when they were isolated from similar tumor types. Even primary cells of different lineages isolated from the same tissue source showed many differences. The differences in kinase requirements among cell lines observed in this study suggest that the control of proliferation and survival may be significantly different between cell lines and that simple comparisons from any one cell to another may be misleading. Although the regulation of cell proliferation and survival are heavily studied areas, we did not see a bias in these screens toward the identification of previously known and well studied kinases, suggesting that our knowledge of molecular events in these areas is still meager.
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 11/2008; 105(43):16472-7. · 9.74 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Phosphatidylcholine transfer protein (PC-TP, also referred to as StarD2) is a highly specific intracellular lipid-binding protein that catalyzes the transfer of phosphatidylcholines between membranes in vitro. Recent studies have suggested that PC-TP in vivo functions to regulate fatty acid and glucose metabolism, possibly via interactions with selected other proteins. To begin to address the relationship between activity in vitro and biological function, we undertook a high-throughput screen to identify small-molecule inhibitors of the phosphatidylcholine transfer activity of PC-TP. After adapting a fluorescence quench assay to measure phosphatidylcholine transfer activity, we screened 114,752 compounds of a small-molecule library. The high-throughput screen identified 14 potential PC-TP inhibitors. Of these, 6 compounds exhibited characteristics consistent with specific inhibition of PC-TP activity, with IC(50) values that ranged from 4.1 to 95.0muM under conditions of the in vitro assay. These compounds should serve as valuable reagents to elucidate the biological function of PC-TP. Because mice with homozygous disruption of the PC-TP gene (Pctp) are sensitized to insulin action and relatively resistant to the development of atherosclerosis, these inhibitors may also prove to be of value in the management of diabetes and atherosclerotic cardiovascular diseases.