Daniel H Appella

National Institutes of Health, Maryland, United States

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Publications (47)277.33 Total impact

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    ABSTRACT: A programmable ligand display system can be used to dissect the multivalent effects of ligand binding to a membrane receptor. An antagonist of the A2A adenosine receptor, a G protein-coupled receptor that is a drug target for neurodegenerative conditions, was displayed in 35 different multivalent configurations and binding to A2A was determined. A theoretical model based on statistical mechanics was developed to interpret the binding data, suggesting the importance of receptor dimers. Using this model, extended multivalent arrangements of ligands were constructed with progressive improvements in binding to A2A. The results highlight the ability to use a highly controllable multivalent approach to determine optimal ligand valency and spacing that can be subsequently optimized for binding to a membrane receptor. Models explaining the multivalent binding data are also presented.
    Journal of the American Chemical Society 08/2014; · 10.68 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Recent studies have shown that guanine-rich (G-rich) sequences with the potential to form quadruplexes might play a role in normal transcription as well as overexpression of oncogenes. Chemical tools that allow examination of the specific roles of G-quadruplex formation in vivo, and their association with gene regulation will be essential to understanding the functions of these quadruplexes and might lead to beneficial therapies. Properly designed peptide nucleic acids (PNAs) can invade G-rich DNA duplexes and induce the formation of a G-quadruplex in the free DNA strand. Replacing guanines in the PNA sequence with pyrazolo[3,4-d]pyrimidine guanine (PPG) nucleobases eliminates G-quadruplex formation with PNA and promotes invasion of the target DNA.
    ChemBioChem 07/2014; · 3.74 Impact Factor
  • Ethan A Englund, Ning Zhang, Daniel H Appella
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    ABSTRACT: Incorporating a cyclopentane ring into the two-carbon unit of a peptide nucleic acid backbone increases its binding affinity to complementary nucleic acid sequences. This approach is a general method to improve binding and can be applied at either purine or pyrimidine bases.
    Methods in molecular biology (Clifton, N.J.) 01/2014; 1050:13-8. · 1.29 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Here we report the identification of protein targets of chemopreventive phenethyl isothiocyanate (PEITC) via “click” chemistry in the A549 human lung cancer cell line, using a novel alkyne-tagged PEITC which was also found to show potent in vitro anticancer activity.
    RSC Advances 12/2013; 4(8). · 3.71 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Synthesis of a novel class of compounds and their biophysical studies with TAR-RNA are presented. The synthesis of these compounds was achieved by conjugating neomycin, an aminoglycoside, with benzimidazoles modeled from a B-DNA minor groove binder, Hoechst 33258. The neomycin-benzimidazole conjugates have varying linkers that connect the benzimidazole and neomycin units. The linkers of varying length (5-23 atoms) in these conjugates contain one to three triazole units. The UV thermal denaturation experiments showed that the conjugates resulted in greater stabilization of the TAR-RNA than either neomycin or benzimidazole used in the synthesis of conjugates. These results were corroborated by the FID displacement and tat-TAR inhibition assays. The binding of ligands to the TAR-RNA is affected by the length and composition of the linker. Our results show that increasing the number of triazole groups and the linker length in these compounds have diminishing effect on the binding to TAR-RNA. Compounds that have shorter linker length and fewer triazole units in the linker displayed increased affinity towards the TAR RNA.
    Bioorganic & medicinal chemistry letters 08/2013; · 2.65 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: We report the development of chemically-modified peptide nucleic acids (PNAs) as probes for qualitative and quantitative detection of DNA. The remarkable stability of PNAs toward enzymatic degradation makes this class of molecules ideal to develop as part of a diagnostic device that can be used outside of a laboratory setting. Using an enzyme-linked reporter assay, we demonstrate that excellent levels of detection and accuracy for anthrax DNA can be achieved using PNA probes with suitable chemical components designed into the probe. In addition, we report on DNA-templated crosslinking of PNA probes as a way to preserve genetic information for repetitive and subsequent analysis. This report is the first detailed examination of the qualitative and quantitative properties of chemically-modified PNA for nucleic acid detection and provides a platform for studying and optimizing PNA probes prior to incorporation into new technological platforms.
    Analytical Chemistry 12/2012; · 5.70 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The adaptor protein Grb2 links cell-surface receptors, such as Her2, to the multisite docking proteins Gab1 and 2, leading to cell growth and proliferation in breast and other cancers. Gab2 interacts with the C-terminal SH3 domain (SH3C) of Grb2 through atypical RxxK motifs within polyproline II or 3(10) helices. A virtual screen was conducted for putative binders of the Grb2 SH3C domain. Of the top hits, 34 were validated experimentally by surface plasmon resonance spectroscopy and isothermal titration calorimetry. A subset of these molecules was found to inhibit the Grb2-Gab2 interaction in a competition assay, with moderate to low affinities (5: IC(50) 320μM). The most promising binders were based on a dihydro-s-triazine scaffold, and are the first small molecules reported to target the Grb2 SH3C protein-interaction surface.
    Bioorganic & medicinal chemistry 10/2012; · 2.82 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Regulation of genetic functions based on targeting DNA or RNA sequences with complementary oligonucleotides is especially attractive in the post-genome era. Oligonucleotides can be rationally designed to bind their targets based on simple nucleic acid base pairing rules. However, the use of natural DNA and RNA oligonucleotides as targeting probes can cause numerous off-target effects. In addition, natural nucleic acids are prone to degradation in vivo by various nucleases. To address these problems, nucleic acid mimics such as peptide nucleic acids (PNA) have been developed. They are more stable, show less off-target effects, and, in general, have better binding affinity to their targets. However, their high affinity to DNA can reduce their sequence-specificity. The formation of alternative DNA secondary structures, such as the G-quadruplex, provides an extra level of specificity as targets for PNA oligomers. PNA probes can target the loops of G-quadruplex, invade the core by forming PNA-DNA guanine-tetrads, or bind to the open bases on the complementary cytosine-rich strand. Not only could the development of such G-quadruplex-specific probes allow regulation of gene expression, but it will also provide a means to clarify the biological roles G-quadruplex structures may possess.
    Current pharmaceutical design 02/2012; 18(14):1984-91. · 4.41 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: A series of neomycin dimers have been synthesized using "click chemistry" with varying functionality and length in the linker region to target the human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) TAR RNA region of the HIV virus. The TAR (Trans-Activation Responsive) RNA region, a 59 bp stem-loop structure located at the 5'-end of all nascent viral transcripts, interacts with its target, a key regulatory protein, Tat, and necessitates the replication of HIV-1. Neomycin, an aminosugar, has been shown to exhibit multiple binding sites on TAR RNA. This observation prompted us to design and synthesize a library of triazole-linked neomycin dimers using click chemistry. The binding between neomycin dimers and TAR RNA was characterized using spectroscopic techniques, including FID (fluorescent intercalator displacement), a FRET (fluorescence resonance energy transfer) competitive assay, circular dichroism (CD), and UV thermal denaturation. UV thermal denaturation studies demonstrate that binding of neomycin dimers increases the melting temperature (T(m)) of the HIV TAR RNA up to 10 °C. Ethidium bromide displacement (FID) and a FRET competition assay revealed nanomolar binding affinity between neomycin dimers and HIV TAR RNA, while in case of neomycin, only weak binding was detected. More importantly, most of the dimers exhibited lower IC(50) values toward HIV TAR RNA, when compared to the fluorescent Tat peptide, and show increased selectivity over mutant TAR RNA. Cytopathic effects investigated using MT-2 cells indicate a number of the dimers with high affinity toward TAR show promising anti-HIV activity.
    Biochemistry 02/2012; 51(11):2331-47. · 3.38 Impact Factor
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    Jonathan K Pokorski, Daniel H Appella
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    ABSTRACT: Folded RNA molecules have recently emerged as critical regulatory elements in biological pathways, serving not just as carriers of genetic information but also as key components in enzymatic assemblies. In particular, the transactivation response element (TAR) of the HIV genome regulates transcriptional elongation by interacting specifically with the Tat protein, initiating the recruitment of the elongation complex. Preventing this interaction from occurring in vivo halts HIV replication, thus making RNA-binding molecules an intriguing pharmaceutical target. Using α-amino acids as starting materials, we have designed and synthesized a new class of polyamino-amido oligomers, called PAAs, specifically for binding to folded RNA structures. The PAA monomers were readily incorporated into a 125-member combinatorial library of PAA trimers. In order to rapidly assess RNA binding, a quantum dot-based fluorescent screen was developed to visualize RNA binding on-resin. The binding affinities of hits were quantified using a terbium footprinting assay, allowing us to identify a ligand (SFF) with low micromolar affinity (k(d) = 14 μM) for TAR RNA. The work presented herein represents the development of a flexible scaffold that can be easily synthesized, screened, and subsequently modified to provide ligands specific for binding to folded RNAs.
    Journal of nucleic acids 01/2012; 2012:971581.
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    ABSTRACT: Multivalent effects dictate the binding affinity of multiple ligands on one molecular entity to receptors. Integrins are receptors that mediate cell attachment through multivalent binding to peptide sequences within the extracellular matrix, and overexpression promotes the metastasis of some cancers. Multivalent display of integrin antagonists enhances their efficacy, but current scaffolds have limited ranges and precision for the display of ligands. Here we present an approach to studying multivalent effects across wide ranges of ligand number, density, and three-dimensional arrangement. Using L-lysine γ-substituted peptide nucleic acids, the multivalent effects of an integrin antagonist were examined over a range of 1-45 ligands. The optimal construct improves the inhibitory activity of the antagonist by two orders of magnitude against the binding of melanoma cells to the extracellular matrix in both in vitro and in vivo models.
    Nature Communications 01/2012; 3:614. · 10.02 Impact Factor
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    Robert J Bahde, Daniel H Appella, William C Trenkle
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    ABSTRACT: The HIV-1 nucleocapsid (NCp7), structurally defined by zinc-binding domains, participates in crucial stages of the HIV-1 lifecycle and is mutationally nonpermissive, making it an attractive anti-HIV target. Mode of action studies have shown that the secondary structure and activity of NCp7 can be disrupted by acyl transfer from N-2-mercaptobenzoyl-amino amides. We have developed an improved one-pot reaction that affords N-2-mercaptobenzoyl-amino acids on multi-gram scales. This synthetic route allows for rapid modular construction and has greatly expanded the scope of easily accessible potential NCp7 inhibitors.
    Tetrahedron Letters 08/2011; 52(32):4103-4105. · 2.40 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: PPM1D (PP2Cδ or Wip1) was identified as a wild-type p53-induced Ser/Thr phosphatase that accumulates after DNA damage and classified into the PP2C family. It dephosphorylates and inactivates several proteins critical for cellular stress responses, including p38 MAPK, p53, and ATM. Furthermore, PPM1D is amplified and/or overexpressed in a number of human cancers. Thus, inhibition of its activity could constitute an important new strategy for therapeutic intervention to halt the progression of several different cancers. Previously, we reported the development of a cyclic thioether peptide with low micromolar inhibitory activity toward PPM1D. Here, we describe important improvements in the inhibitory activity of this class of cyclic peptides and also present a binding model based upon the results. We found that specific interaction of an aromatic ring at the X1 position and negative charge at the X5 and X6 positions significantly increased the inhibitory activity of the cyclic peptide, with the optimized molecule having a K(i) of 110 nM. To the best of our knowledge, this represents the highest inhibitory activity reported for an inhibitor of PPM1D. We further developed an inhibitor selective for PPM1D over PPM1A with a K(i) of 2.9 μM. Optimization of the cyclic peptide and mutagenesis experiments suggest that a highly basic loop unique to PPM1D is related to substrate specificity. We propose a new model for the catalytic site of PPM1D and inhibition by the cyclic peptides that will be useful both for the subsequent design of PPM1D inhibitors and for identification of new substrates.
    Biochemistry 05/2011; 50(21):4537-49. · 3.38 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Guanine-rich sequences are highly abundant in the human genome, especially in regulatory regions. Because guanine-rich sequences have the unique ability to form G-quadruplexes, these structures may play a role in the regulation of gene transcription. In previous studies, we demonstrated that formation of G-quadruplexes could be induced with peptide nucleic acids (PNAs). PNAs designed to bind the C-rich strand upstream of the human BCL2 gene promoted quadruplex formation in the complementary G-rich strand. However, the question whether G-quadruplex formation was essential for PNA invasion remained unanswered. In this study, we compared PNA invasion in the native and mutant, i.e. not forming G-quadruplex, BCL2 sequences and showed that G-quadruplex is required for effective PNA invasion into duplex DNA. This finding provides strong evidence for not only sequence-specific, but also quadruplex specific, gene targeting with PNA probes. In addition, we examined DNA-duplex invasion potential of PNAs of various charges. Using the gel shift assay, chemical probing and dimethyl sulfate (DMS) protection studies, we determined that uncharged zwitterionic PNA has the highest binding specificity while preserving efficient duplex invasion.
    Nucleic Acids Research 05/2011; 39(16):7114-23. · 8.81 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Amonafide is a DNA intercalator in clinical development for the treatment of cancer. The drug has a 5-position amine that is variably acetylated to form a toxic metabolite in humans, increasing adverse effects and complicating the dosing of amonafide. Numonafides, 6-amino derivatives of amonafide that avoid the toxic acetylation, also show in vitro anticancer activity, as we have previously described. Here, we report the in vitro and in vivo activities of two numonafides, 6-methoxyethylamino-numonafide (MEAN) and 6-amino-numonafide (AN) with comparisons to amonafide. The in vitro potencies and cellular anticancer mechanisms are similar for the two numonafides and amonafide. Results from several mouse models of human cancer demonstrate that AN and MEAN require slightly higher doses than amonafide for equal efficacy in short-term dosing models, but the same dose of all three compounds in long-term dosing models are equally efficacious. MEAN is tolerated much better than amonafide and AN at equally efficacious doses based on weight change, activity, stool consistency, and dose tolerance with survival as the end point. The studies presented here demonstrate that MEAN is much less toxic than amonafide or AN in mouse models of human liver and gastric cancers while being equally efficacious in vivo and inhibiting cancer cells through similar mechanisms. These findings demonstrate that numonafides can be less toxic than amonafide and support further preclinical development and novel anticancer agents or as replacements or amonafide.
    Neoplasia (New York, N.Y.) 05/2011; 13(5):453-60. · 5.48 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Peptide nucleic acid (PNA) is known to bind with extraordinarily high affinity and sequence-specificity to complementary nucleic acid sequences and can be used to suppress gene expression. However, effective delivery into cells is a major obstacle to the development of PNA for gene therapy applications. Here, we present a novel method for the in vitro delivery of antigene PNA to cells. By using a nucleocapsid protein derived from Simian virus 40, we have been able to package PNA into pseudovirions, facilitating the delivery of the packaged PNA into cells. We demonstrate that this system can be used effectively to suppress gene expression associated with multidrug resistance in cancer cells, as shown by RT-PCR, flow cytometry, Western blotting, and cell viability under chemotherapy. The combination of PNA with the SV40-based delivery system is a method for suppressing a gene of interest that could be broadly applied to numerous targets.
    PLoS ONE 01/2011; 6(3):e17981. · 3.73 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The zinc fingers of the HIV-1 nucleocapsid protein, NCp7, are prime targets for antiretroviral therapeutics. Here we show that S-acyl-2-mercaptobenzamide thioester (SAMT) chemotypes inhibit HIV by modifying the NCp7 region of Gag in infected cells, thereby blocking Gag processing and reducing infectivity. The thiol produced by SAMT reaction with NCp7 is acetylated by cellular enzymes to regenerate active SAMTs via a recycling mechanism unique among small-molecule inhibitors of HIV.
    Nature Chemical Biology 12/2010; 6(12):887-9. · 12.95 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Inhibitors for protein-protein interactions are challenging to design, in part due to the unique and complex architectures of each protein's interaction domain. Most approaches to develop inhibitors for these interactions rely on rational design, which requires prior structural knowledge of the target and its ligands. In the absence of structural information, a combinatorial approach may be the best alternative to finding inhibitors of a protein-protein interaction. Current chemical libraries, however, consist mostly of molecules designed to inhibit enzymes. In this manuscript, we report the synthesis and screening of a library based on an N-acylated polyamine (NAPA) scaffold that we designed to have specific molecular features necessary to inhibit protein-protein interactions. Screens of the library identified a member with favorable binding properties to the HIV viral protein R (Vpr), a regulatory protein from HIV, that is involved in numerous interactions with other proteins critical for viral replication.
    Bioorganic & medicinal chemistry letters 09/2010; 20(22):6500-3. · 2.65 Impact Factor
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    Ning Zhang, Daniel H Appella
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    ABSTRACT: Peptide nucleic acids are a class of nondegradable oligonucleotide mimics that can be used as probes for nucleic acid sequences and could convey the necessary stability to be a diagnostic tool for use in a resource-limited setting. In this review, there is a brief introduction to the field of peptide nucleic acids and their potential benefits as probes for DNA and RNA sequences, followed by highlights of ways by which peptide nucleic acids could benefit a number of established diagnostic tools for human immunodeficiency virus detection.
    The Journal of Infectious Diseases 04/2010; 201 Suppl 1:S42-5. · 5.85 Impact Factor
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    Daniel H Appella
    Nature Chemical Biology 02/2010; 6(2):87-8. · 12.95 Impact Factor

Publication Stats

366 Citations
277.33 Total Impact Points

Institutions

  • 2005–2013
    • National Institutes of Health
      • Laboratory of Bioorganic Chemistry (LBC)
      Maryland, United States
  • 2006–2012
    • The National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases
      Maryland, United States
    • National Cancer Institute (USA)
      • Laboratory of Cell Biology
      Maryland, United States
  • 2008–2009
    • NCI-Frederick
      Maryland, United States
  • 2003–2004
    • Northwestern University
      • Department of Chemistry
      Evanston, IL, United States