[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Background:
Searching for two-dimensional (2D) structural similarities is a useful tool to identify new active compounds in drug-discovery programs. However, as 2D similarity measures neglect important structural and functional features, similarity by 2D might be underestimated. In the present study, we used combined 2D and three-dimensional (3D) similarity comparisons to reveal possible new functions and/or side-effects of known bioactive compounds.
We utilised more than 10,000 compounds from the SuperTarget database with known inhibition values for twelve different anti-cancer targets. We performed all-against-all comparisons resulting in 2D similarity landscapes. Among the regions with low 2D similarity scores are inhibitors of vascular endothelial growth factor receptor (VEGFR) and inhibitors of poly ADP-ribose polymerase (PARP). To demonstrate that 3D landscape comparison can identify similarities, which are untraceable in 2D similarity comparisons, we analysed this region in more detail. This 3D analysis showed the unexpected structural similarity between inhibitors of VEGFR and inhibitors of PARP. Among the VEGFR inhibitors that show similarities to PARP inhibitors was Vatalanib, an oral "multi-targeted" small molecule protein kinase inhibitor being studied in phase-III clinical trials in cancer therapy. An in silico docking simulation and an in vitro HT universal colorimetric PARP assay confirmed that the VEGFR inhibitor Vatalanib exhibits off-target activity as a PARP inhibitor, broadening its mode of action.
In contrast to the 2D-similarity search, the 3D-similarity landscape comparison identifies new functions and side effects of the known VEGFR inhibitor Vatalanib.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Resistance to cell death is the major cause of chemotherapy failure in most kinds of cancers, including Burkitt lymphoma (BL). When analyzing therapy resistance in Burkitt lymphoma (BL), we discovered a link between apoptosis resistance and ploidy control. We therefore studied systematically a panel of 15 BL lines for apoptosis induction upon treatment with microtubule inhibitors and compared three types of microtubule toxins, i.e., paclitaxel, nocodazole and vincristine. We found an inverse relationship between apoptosis sensitivity and ploidy control. Thus, cells resistant to paclitaxel- or nocodazole-induced apoptosis underwent mitotic catastrophe and developed polyploidy (>4N). Mechanistically, apoptosis resistance was linked to failure of caspase activation, which was most pronounced in cells lacking the pro-apoptotic multidomain Bcl-2 homologs Bax and Bak. Pharmacological caspase inhibition promoted polyploidy upon exposure to paclitaxel and nocodazole supporting the relationship between resistance to apoptosis and polyploidization. Of note, vincristine induced persistent mitotic arrest but no loss of ploidy control. Considering targets to facilitate Bax/Bak-independent cell death and to avoid drug-induced mitotic catastrophe and consecutive mitotic catastrophe should be of great importance to overcome therapy resistance and therapy-related events that result in ploidy changes and tumor progression.
Inverse relation of apoptosis and polyploidy induction by paclitaxel or nocodazole in BL. Resistant cells undergo mitotic catastrophe and develop polyploidy. Lack of Bax/Bak confers resistance and leads to induction of polyploidy in BL. Intact apoptosis response protects from polyploidy as a result of mitotic catastrophe.
Full-text · Article · Dec 2014 · Journal of Molecular Medicine
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: TRAIL is a promising anticancer agent, capable of inducing apoptosis in a wide range of treatment-resistant tumor cells. In 'type II' cells, the death signal triggered by TRAIL requires amplification via the mitochondrial apoptosis pathway. Consequently, deregulation of the intrinsic apoptosis-signaling pathway, for example, by loss of Bax and Bak, confers TRAIL-resistance and limits its application. Here, we show that despite resistance of Bax/Bak double-deficient cells, TRAIL-treatment resulted in caspase-8 activation and complete processing of the caspase-3 proenzymes. However, active caspase-3 was degraded by the proteasome and not detectable unless the XIAP/proteasome pathway was inhibited. Direct or indirect inhibition of XIAP by RNAi, Mithramycin A or by the SMAC mimetic LBW-242 as well as inhibition of the proteasome by Bortezomib overcomes TRAIL-resistance of Bax/Bak double-deficient tumor cells. Moreover, activation and stabilization of caspase-3 becomes independent of mitochondrial death signaling, demonstrating that inhibition of the XIAP/proteasome pathway overcomes resistance by converting 'type II' to 'type I' cells. Our results further demonstrate that the E3 ubiquitin ligase XIAP is a gatekeeper critical for the 'type II' phenotype. Pharmacological manipulation of XIAP therefore is a promising strategy to sensitize cells for TRAIL and to overcome TRAIL-resistance in case of central defects in the intrinsic apoptosis-signaling pathway.
Full-text · Article · May 2013 · Cell Death & Disease
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Mutations in the dysferlin gene cause the most frequent adult-onset limb girdle muscular dystrophy, LGMD2B. There is no therapy. Dysferlin is a membrane protein comprised of seven, beta-sheet enriched, C2 domains and is involved in Ca(2+)dependent sarcolemmal repair after minute wounding. On the protein level, point mutations in DYSF lead to misfolding, aggregation within the endoplasmic reticulum, and amyloidogenesis. We aimed to restore functionality by relocating mutant dysferlin. Therefore, we designed short peptides derived from dysferlin itself and labeled them to the cell penetrating peptide TAT. By tracking fluorescently labeled short peptides we show that these dysferlin-peptides localize in the endoplasmic reticulum. There, they are capable of reducing unfolded protein response stress. We demonstrate that the mutant dysferlin regains function in membrane repair in primary human myotubes derived from patients' myoblasts by the laser wounding assay and a novel technique to investigate membrane repair: the interventional atomic force microscopy. Mutant dysferlin abuts to the sarcolemma after peptide treatment. The peptide-mediated approach has not been taken before in the field of muscular dystrophies. Our results could redirect treatment efforts for this condition.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The p14ARF tumor suppressor plays a central role in regulating cell cycle arrest and apoptosis. We reported previously that p14ARF is capable of triggering apoptosis in a p53-independent manner. However, the mechanism remained unclear. Here we demonstrate
that the p53-independent activation of the mitochondrial apoptosis pathway by p14ARF is primarily mediated by the pro-apoptotic Bax-homolog Bak. Expression of p14ARF exclusively triggers a N-terminal conformational switch of Bak, but not Bax, which allows for mitochondrial permeability
shift, release of cytochrome c, activation of caspases, and subsequent fragmentation of genomic DNA. Although forced expression of Bak markedly sensitizes
toward p14ARF-induced apoptosis, re-expression of Bax has no effect. Vice versa, knockdown of Bak by RNA interference attenuates p14ARF-induced apoptosis, whereas down-regulation of Bax has no effect. Bak activation coincides with a prominent, caspase-independent
deprivation of the endogenous Bak inhibitors Mcl-1 and Bcl-xL. In turn, mitochondrial apoptosis is fully blocked by overexpression of either Mcl-1 or Bcl-xL. Taken together, these data indicate that in the absence of functional p53 and Bax, p14ARF triggers mitochondrial apoptosis signaling by activating Bak, which is facilitated by down-regulating anti-apoptotic Mcl-1
and Bcl-xL. Moreover, our data suggest that the simultaneous inhibition of two central endogenous Bak inhibitors, i.e. Mcl-1 and Bcl-xL, may be sufficient to activate mitochondrial apoptosis in the absence of BH3-only protein regulation.
Full-text · Article · Feb 2012 · Journal of Biological Chemistry
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: BH3-only Proteine, eine pro-apoptotische Untergruppe der Bcl-2 Proteinfamilie, sind zentrale Mediatoren von apoptotischen Signalen durch die Regulierung intrinsischer Apoptose-signalwege. Unsere Arbeitsgruppe hat vor kurzem gezeigt, dass Apoptose, die durch den p14ARF Tumorsuppressor induziert wird über die p53-abhängige Aktivierung des BH3-only Proteins Puma/Bbc3 vermittelt wird. Interessanterweise induziert p14ARF aber auch in p53 defizienten Zellen Zellzyklusarrest und Apoptose. Die dahinterliegenden Signalwege sind jedoch nicht bekannt. In dieser Arbeit berichten wir, dass das BH3-only Protein Bmf (Bcl-2 modifying factor) beim p14ARF-induzierten Zelltod in p53 defizienten Zellen eine wichtige Rolle spielt. Expression von p14ARF führt zu einer Induktion der PERK Kinase, daran anschließender Phosphorylierung von eIF2α sowie Aktivierung der stromabwärts liegenden Transkriptionsfaktoren ATF4 und CHOP. Diese Signalkaskade ist normalerweise Teil einer zellulären Antwort auf fehl- oder ungefaltete Proteine im Endoplasmatischen Retikulum (ER), der sogenannten ‘unfolded protein response’ (UPR), die zum einen durch verminderte Translationsinitiation und Hochregulierung von Chaperonen die Menge der fehlgefalteten Proteine reduzieren soll. Allerdings induziert p14ARF keinen ER Stress, sondern den PERK‒CHOP Signalweg. Die Transkriptionsfaktoren ATF4 und CHOP binden direkt in der Promotorregion von bmf und sind für dessen transkriptionelle Regulation verantwortlich. Unsere Daten zeigen, dass der PERK‒eIF2α‒ATF4‒CHOP Signalweg eine wesentliche Rolle bei der Induktion von Apoptose durch p14ARF spielt. Dieser Weg könnte ein Sicherungsmechanismus sein, der es den Zellen auch nach Verlust von p53 erlaubt Apoptose einzuleiten, nachdem p14ARF durch Onkogene hochreguliert wurde.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: During apoptosis Bcl-2 proteins control permeabilization of the mitochondrial outer membrane leading to the release of cytochrome c. Essential gatekeepers for cytochrome c release are the proapoptotic multidomain proteins, Bax, and Bak. The expression of Bax is upregulated upon cellular stress by the tumor suppressor p53. Despite the high functional homology of Bax and Bak, little is known about how the bak gene is regulated. To investigate its transcriptional regulation in further detail, we have analyzed a region spanning 8200 bp upstream of the bak start codon (within exon 2) for transcription factor-binding sites, and identified three p53 consensus sites (BS1-3). Reporter gene assays in combination with site-directed mutagenesis revealed that only one putative p53-binding site (BS3) is necessary and sufficient for induction of reporter gene expression by p53. Consistently, p53 induces expression of endogenous Bak. At the mRNA level, induction of Bak expression is weaker than induction of Puma and p21. Interestingly, Bak expression can also be induced by p73 that binds however to each of the three p53-binding sites within the bak promoter region. Our data suggest that expression of Bak can be induced by both, p53 and p73 utilizing different binding sites within the bak promoter.
Full-text · Article · Jan 2011 · Cell death and differentiation
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Induction of cell death by p14(ARF) is mediated through a Bax/Bak-dependent mitochondrial apoptosis pathway. To investigate the upstream signaling events required for the activation of Bax and/or Bak and to determine the functional impact of de-regulated cell cycle restriction point control in this context, we genetically dissected the impact of BH3-only proteins and the role of the cyclin-dependent kinase (cdk) inhibitor p21(CDKN1). Using isogenic HCT116 colorectal cancer cells, either wild-type or homozygously deleted for the BH3-only protein Puma/bbc3 and/or p21(CDKN1) or p53-reconstituted DU145 prostate cancer cells, we show that p14(ARF)-induced apoptosis is attenuated in the absence of Puma. Upon expression of p14(ARF) in HCT116 cells, Puma is rapidly induced at both the mRNA and protein level. Puma-proficient HCT116 cells undergo apoptotic (nuclear) DNA fragmentation, which is preceded by the N-terminal conformational change of Bax, the breakdown of the mitochondrial membrane potential, and induction of caspase-9 (LEHD)-like and caspase-3/7 (DEVD)-like activities. In contrast, p14(ARF)-induced apoptosis is markedly attenuated in isogenic HCT116 cells bi-allelically deleted for puma. The sensitivity of Puma-deficient cells to p14(ARF)-induced apoptosis is fully restored by functional reconstitution of Puma using a conditional adenoviral expression vector. Notably, the concomitant deletion of p21(CDKN1) strongly enhances p14(ARF)-induced apoptosis in Puma-proficient cells, but not in isogenic Puma-deficient cells. These results indicate that p14(ARF)-induced mitochondrial apoptosis critically depends on the BH3-only protein Puma. In the presence of a functional p53/Puma/Bax-signaling axis, p14(ARF)-triggered apoptosis is enhanced by loss of p21(CDKN1)-mediated cell cycle checkpoint control.
No preview · Article · Apr 2010 · Journal of Molecular Medicine
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Tumor necrosis factor (alpha)-related apoptosis-inducing ligand (TRAIL) is a promising anticancer agent that preferentially kills tumor cells with limited cytotoxicity to nonmalignant cells. However, signaling from death receptors requires amplification via the mitochondrial apoptosis pathway (type II) in the majority of tumor cells. Thus, TRAIL-induced cell death entirely depends on the proapoptotic Bcl-2 family member Bax, which is often lost as a result of epigenetic inactivation or mutations. Consequently, Bax deficiency confers resistance against TRAIL-induced apoptosis. Despite expression of Bak, Bax-deficient cells are resistant to TRAIL-induced apoptosis. In this study, we show that the Bax dependency of TRAIL-induced apoptosis is determined by Mcl-1 but not Bcl-xL. Both are antiapoptotic Bcl-2 family proteins that keep Bak in check. Nevertheless, knockdown of Mcl-1 but not Bcl-xL overcame resistance to TRAIL, CD95/FasL and tumor necrosis factor (alpha) death receptor ligation in Bax-deficient cells, and enabled TRAIL to activate Bak, indicating that Mcl-1 rather than Bcl-xL is a major target for sensitization of Bax-deficient tumors for death receptor-induced apoptosis via the Bak pathway.
Full-text · Article · Mar 2010 · The Journal of Cell Biology