[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Drugs that act more promiscuously provide fewer routes for the emergence of resistant mutants. This benefit, however, often comes at the cost of serious off-target and dose-limiting toxicities. The classic example is the antifungal amphotericin B (AmB), which has evaded resistance for more than half a century. We report markedly less toxic amphotericins that nevertheless evade resistance. They are scalably accessed in just three steps from the natural product, and they bind their target (the fungal sterol ergosterol) with far greater selectivity than AmB. Hence, they are less toxic and far more effective in a mouse model of systemic candidiasis. To our surprise, exhaustive efforts to select for mutants resistant to these more selective compounds revealed that they are just as impervious to resistance as AmB. Thus, highly selective cytocidal action and the evasion of resistance are not mutually exclusive, suggesting practical routes to the discovery of less toxic, resistance-evasive therapies.
No preview · Article · Jun 2015 · Nature Chemical Biology
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The ribosome is centrally situated to sense metabolic states, but whether its activity, in turn, coherently rewires transcriptional responses is unknown. Here, through integrated chemical-genetic analyses, we found that a dominant transcriptional effect of blocking protein translation in cancer cells was inactivation of heat shock factor 1 (HSF1), a multifaceted transcriptional regulator of the heat-shock response and many other cellular processes essential for anabolic metabolism, cellular proliferation, and tumorigenesis. These analyses linked translational flux to the regulation of HSF1 transcriptional activity and to the modulation of energy metabolism. Targeting this link with translation initiation inhibitors such as rocaglates deprived cancer cells of their energy and chaperone armamentarium and selectively impaired the proliferation of both malignant and premalignant cells with early-stage oncogenic lesions.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: We have previously reported asymmetric syntheses and absolute configuration assignments of the aglains (+)-ponapensin and (+)-elliptifoline and proposed a biosynthetic kinetic resolution process to produce enantiomeric rocaglamides and aglains. Herein, we report a biomimetic approach for the synthesis of enantiomerically enriched aglains and rocaglamides via kinetic resolution of a bridged ketone utilizing enantioselective transfer hydrogenation. The methodology has been employed to synthesize and confirm the absolute stereochemistries of the pyrimidone rocaglamides (+)-aglaiastatin and (-)-aglaroxin C. Additionally, the enantiomers and racemate of each metabolite were assayed for inhibition of the heat-shock response, cytotoxicity, and translation inhibition.
No preview · Article · Dec 2014 · Journal of the American Chemical Society
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The efficacy of hormonal therapies for advanced estrogen receptor-positive breast cancers is limited by the nearly inevitable development of acquired resistance. Efforts to block the emergence of resistance have met with limited success, largely because the mechanisms underlying it are so varied and complex. Here, we investigate a new strategy aimed at the very processes by which cancers evolve resistance. From yeast to vertebrates, heat shock protein 90 (HSP90) plays a unique role among molecular chaperones by promoting the evolution of heritable new traits. It does so by regulating the folding of a diverse portfolio of metastable client proteins, many of which mediate adaptive responses that allow organisms to adapt and thrive in the face of diverse challenges, including those posed by drugs. Guided by our previous work in pathogenic fungi, in which very modest HSP90 inhibition impairs resistance to mechanistically diverse antifungals, we examined the effect of similarly modest HSP90 inhibition on the emergence of resistance to antiestrogens in breast cancer models. Even though this degree of inhibition fell below the threshold for proteotoxic activation of the heat-shock response and had no overt anticancer activity on its own, it dramatically impaired the emergence of resistance to hormone antagonists both in cell culture and in mice. Our findings strongly support the clinical testing of combined hormone antagonist-low-level HSP90 inhibitor regimens in the treatment of metastatic estrogen receptor-positive breast cancer. At a broader level, they also provide promising proof of principle for a generalizable strategy to combat the pervasive problem of rapidly emerging resistance to molecularly targeted therapeutics.
Full-text · Article · Dec 2014 · Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Calcineurin (CN) is a highly conserved Ca(2+)-calmodulin (CaM)-dependent phosphatase that senses Ca(2+) concentrations and transduces that information into cellular responses. Ca(2+) homeostasis is disrupted by α-synuclein (α-syn), a small lipid binding protein whose misfolding and accumulation is a pathological hallmark of several neurodegenerative diseases. We report that α-syn, from yeast to neurons, leads to sustained highly elevated levels of cytoplasmic Ca(2+), thereby activating a CaM-CN cascade that engages substrates that result in toxicity. Surprisingly, complete inhibition of CN also results in toxicity. Limiting the availability of CaM shifts CN's spectrum of substrates toward protective pathways. Modulating CN or CN's substrates with highly selective genetic and pharmacological tools (FK506) does the same. FK506 crosses the blood brain barrier, is well tolerated in humans, and is active in neurons and glia. Thus, a tunable response to CN, which has been conserved for a billion years, can be targeted to rebalance the phosphatase's activities from toxic toward beneficial substrates. These findings have immediate therapeutic implications for synucleinopathies.
No preview · Article · Aug 2014 · Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Stromal cells within the tumor microenvironment are essential for tumor progression and metastasis. Surprisingly little is known about the factors that drive the transcriptional reprogramming of stromal cells within tumors. We report that the transcriptional regulator heat shock factor 1 (HSF1) is frequently activated in cancer-associated fibroblasts (CAFs), where it is a potent enabler of malignancy. HSF1 drives a transcriptional program in CAFs that complements, yet is completely different from, the program it drives in adjacent cancer cells. This CAF program is uniquely structured to support malignancy in a non-cell-autonomous way. Two central stromal signaling molecules-TGF-β and SDF1-play a critical role. In early-stage breast and lung cancer, high stromal HSF1 activation is strongly associated with poor patient outcome. Thus, tumors co-opt the ancient survival functions of HSF1 to orchestrate malignancy in both cell-autonomous and non-cell-autonomous ways, with far-reaching therapeutic implications.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: To understand the relationship of structure to the remarkably diverse bioactivities reported for withanolides, we obtained withaferin A (WA; 1) and 36 analogues (2-37), and compared their cytotoxicity to cytoprotective heat shock-inducing activity (HSA). Analyzing structure-activity relationships for the series, we found that the ring A enone is essential for both bioactivities. Acetylation of 27-OH of 4-epi-WA (28) to 33 enhanced, while introduction of β-OH to WA at C-12 (29) and C-15 (30) decreased both activities. Introduction of β-OAc to 4,27-diacetyl-WA (16) at C-15 (37) decreased HSA without affecting cytotoxicity, but at C-12 (36) it had minimal effect. Importantly, acetylation of 27-OH yielding 15 from 1, 16 from 14, and 35 from 34 enhanced HSA without increasing cytotoxicity. Our findings demonstrate that the withanolide scaffold can be modified to selectively enhance HSA, thereby assisting development of natural product-inspired drugs to combat protein aggregation-associated diseases by stimulating cellular defense mechanisms.
Full-text · Article · Mar 2014 · Journal of Medicinal Chemistry
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The evolution of drug resistance in microbial pathogens provides a paradigm for investigating evolutionary dynamics with important consequences for human health. Candida albicans, the leading fungal pathogen of humans, rapidly evolves resistance to two major antifungal classes, the triazoles and echinocandins. In contrast, resistance to the third major antifungal used in the clinic, amphotericin B (AmB), remains extremely rare despite 50 years of use as monotherapy. We sought to understand this long-standing evolutionary puzzle. We used whole genome sequencing of rare AmB-resistant clinical isolates as well as laboratory-evolved strains to identify and investigate mutations that confer AmB resistance in vitro. Resistance to AmB came at a great cost. Mutations that conferred resistance simultaneously created diverse stresses that required high levels of the molecular chaperone Hsp90 for survival, even in the absence of AmB. This requirement stemmed from severe internal stresses caused by the mutations, which drastically diminished tolerance to external stresses from the host. AmB-resistant mutants were hypersensitive to oxidative stress, febrile temperatures, and killing by neutrophils and also had defects in filamentation and tissue invasion. These strains were avirulent in a mouse infection model. Thus, the costs of evolving resistance to AmB limit the emergence of this phenotype in the clinic. Our work provides a vivid example of the ways in which conflicting selective pressures shape evolutionary trajectories and illustrates another mechanism by which the Hsp90 buffer potentiates the emergence of new phenotypes. Developing antibiotics that deliberately create such evolutionary constraints might offer a strategy for limiting the rapid emergence of drug resistance.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The National Institutes of Health Molecular Libraries and Probe Production Centers Network (NIH-MLPCN) screened >300,000 compounds to evaluate their ability to restore fluconazole susceptibility in resistant Candida albicans isolates. Additional counter screens were incorporated to remove substances inherently toxic to either mammalian or fungal cells. A substituted indazole possessing the desired bioactivity profile was selected for further development, and initial investigation of structure-activity relationships led to the discovery of ML212.
No preview · Article · Jul 2013 · Beilstein Journal of Organic Chemistry
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The ribosome is centrally situated to sense metabolic states, but whether its activity, in turn, coherently rewires transcriptional
responses is unknown. Here, through integrated chemical-genetic analyses, we found that a dominant transcriptional effect
of blocking protein translation in cancer cells was inactivation of heat shock factor 1 (HSF1), a multifaceted transcriptional
regulator of the heat-shock response and many other cellular processes essential for anabolic metabolism, cellular proliferation,
and tumorigenesis. These analyses linked translational flux to the regulation of HSF1 transcriptional activity and to the
modulation of energy metabolism. Targeting this link with translation initiation inhibitors such as rocaglates deprived cancer
cells of their energy and chaperone armamentarium and selectively impaired the proliferation of both malignant and premalignant
cells with early-stage oncogenic lesions.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The interaction between the HSP90 chaperone and its client kinases is sensitive to the conformational status of the kinase, and stabilization of the kinase fold by small molecules strongly decreases chaperone interaction. Here we exploit this observation and assay small-molecule binding to kinases in living cells, using chaperones as 'thermodynamic sensors'. The method allows determination of target specificities of both ATP-competitive and allosteric inhibitors in the kinases' native cellular context in high throughput. We profile target specificities of 30 diverse kinase inhibitors against >300 kinases. Demonstrating the value of the assay, we identify ETV6-NTRK3 as a target of the FDA-approved drug crizotinib (Xalkori). Crizotinib inhibits proliferation of ETV6-NTRK3-dependent tumor cells with nanomolar potency and induces the regression of established tumor xenografts in mice. Finally, we show that our approach is applicable to other chaperone and target classes by assaying HSP70/steroid hormone receptor and CDC37/kinase interactions, suggesting that chaperone interactions will have broad application in detecting drug-target interactions in vivo.
Full-text · Article · Jun 2013 · Nature Biotechnology
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Recent studies have shown that novobiocin (NB), a member of the coumermycin (CA) family of antibiotics with demonstrated DNA gyrase inhibitory activity, inhibits Heat shock protein 90 (HSP90) by binding weakly to a putative ATP-binding site within its C-terminus. To develop more potent HSP90 inhibitors that target this site and to define structure-activity relationships (SARs) for this class of compounds, we have synthesized twenty seven 3-amido-7-noviosylcoumarin analogues starting from NB and CA. These were evaluated for evidence of HSP90 inhibition using several biological assays including inhibition of cell proliferation and cell cycle arrest, induction of the heat shock response, inhibition of luciferase-refolding in vitro, and depletion of the HSP90 client protein c-erbB-2/HER-2/neu (HER2). This SAR study revealed that a substantial increase in biological activity can be achieved by introduction of an indole-2-carboxamide group in place of 4-hydroxy-isopentylbenzamido group at C-3 of NB in addition to removal/derivatization of the 4-hydroxyl group from the coumarin ring. Methylation of the 4-hydroxyl group in the coumarin moiety moderately increased biological activity as shown by compounds 11 and 13. Our most potent new analogue 19 demonstrated biological activities consistent with known HSP90-binding agents, but with greater potency than NB.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Intrinsic stress response pathways are frequently mobilized within tumor cells. The mediators of these adaptive mechanisms and how they contribute to carcinogenesis remain poorly understood. A striking example is heat shock factor 1 (HSF1), master transcriptional regulator of the heat shock response. Surprisingly, we found that loss of the tumor suppressor gene neurofibromatosis type 1 (Nf1) increased HSF1 levels and triggered its activation in mouse embryonic fibroblasts. As a consequence, Nf1-/- cells acquired tolerance to proteotoxic stress. This activation of HSF1 depended on dysregulated MAPK signaling. HSF1, in turn, supported MAPK signaling. In mice, Hsf1 deficiency impeded NF1-associated carcinogenesis by attenuating oncogenic RAS/MAPK signaling. In cell lines from human malignant peripheral nerve sheath tumors (MPNSTs) driven by NF1 loss, HSF1 was overexpressed and activated, which was required for tumor cell viability. In surgical resections of human MPNSTs, HSF1 was overexpressed, translocated to the nucleus, and phosphorylated. These findings reveal a surprising biological consequence of NF1 deficiency: activation of HSF1 and ensuing addiction to this master regulator of the heat shock response. The loss of NF1 function engages an evolutionarily conserved cellular survival mechanism that ultimately impairs survival of the whole organism by facilitating carcinogenesis.
Full-text · Article · Sep 2012 · The Journal of clinical investigation