Mark A Hughes

North Carolina Central University, Durham, North Carolina, United States

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Publications (6)9.69 Total impact

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    Syed Ahmad · Mark A Hughes · Gary L Johnson · John E Scott
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    ABSTRACT: The kinase MEKK2 (MAP3K2) has recently been implicated in tumor growth and metastasis. Thus, selective inhibition of MEKK2 may be a novel strategy for cancer therapy. To identify inhibitors of MEKK2 kinase activity, we have developed a novel activity assay for MEKK2 based on the discovery that recombinant purified MEKK2 has intrinsic ATPase activity. This MEKK2 ATPase assay was validated for enzyme identity and enzymatic purity by multiple methods including mass spectrometry analysis, testing different sources of MEKK2 and comparing ATPase assay IC(50) data for multiple inhibitors to literature values and to IC(50) data generated using MEKK2 binding and transphosphorylation assays. Taken together, these data indicated that genuine MEKK2 activity was being measured in this assay and no other ATPases contributed to the signal. A miniaturized version of the assay was validated for high-throughput screening, and compound libraries were screened. The screening hits generated comparable potencies in the MEKK2 intrinsic ATPase, binding, and transphosphorylation assays. We identified a novel MEKK2 inhibitor and confirmed that crizotinib and bosutinib are potent in vitro inhibitors of MEKK2 activity with IC(50) values of <100 nM. Thus, this assay has utility for the discovery of small-molecule inhibitors of MEKK2 activity.
    Preview · Article · Nov 2012 · Journal of Biomolecular Screening
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    Syed Ahmad · Mark A Hughes · Li-An Yeh · John E Scott
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    ABSTRACT: The active metabolite of the chemotherapeutic irinotecan, SN-38, is detoxified through glucuronidation and then excreted into the gastrointestinal tract. Intestinal bacteria convert the glucuronidated metabolite back to the toxic SN-38 using β-glucuronidase (GUS), resulting in debilitating diarrhea. Inhibiting GUS activity may relieve this side effect of irinotecan. In this study, we sought to determine whether any known drugs have GUS inhibitory activity. We screened a library of Food and Drug Administration-approved drugs with a cell-free biochemical enzyme assay using purified bacterial GUS. After triage, five drugs were confirmed to inhibit purified bacterial GUS. Three of these were the monoamine oxidase inhibitors nialamide, isocarboxazid, and phenelzine with average IC(50) values for inhibiting GUS of 71, 128, and 2300 nM, respectively. The tricyclic antidepressant amoxapine (IC(50) = 388 nM) and the antimalarial mefloquine (IC(50) = 1.2 µM) also had activity. Nialamide, isocarboxazid, and amoxapine had no significant activity against purified mammalian GUS but showed potent activity for inhibiting endogenous GUS activity in a cell-based assay using living intact Escherichia coli with average IC(50) values of 17, 336, and 119 nM, respectively. Thus, nialamide, isocarboxazid, and amoxapine have potential to be repurposed as therapeutics to reduce diarrhea associated with irinotecan chemotherapy and warrant further investigation for this use.
    Preview · Article · Apr 2012 · Journal of Biomolecular Screening
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    ABSTRACT: CPT-11 is a widely-used anti-cancer drug that is converted in vivo to its active metabolite, SN-38. In the liver, enzymes detoxify SN-38 by coupling it to a glucuronidate moiety and this inactive compound (SN-38G) is excreted into the gastrointestinal tract. In the intestine, commensal bacteria convert the SN-38G back to the active and toxic SN-38 using bacterial β-glucuronidase enzyme (GUS). This intestinal SN-38 causes debilitating diarrhea that prevents dose-intensification and efficacy in a significant fraction of patients undergoing CPT-11 treatment for cancer. This CPT-11 metabolic pathway suggests that small molecule inhibitors of GUS may have utility as novel therapeutics for prevention of dose-limiting diarrhea resulting from CPT-11 therapy. To identify chemical inhibitors of GUS activity, we employed and validated a high throughput, fluorescence-based biochemical assay and used this assay to screen a compound library. Novel inhibitors of GUS were identified with IC(50) values ranging from 50 nM to 4.8 µM. These compounds may be useful as chemical probes for use in proof-of-concept experiments designed to determine the efficacy of GUS inhibitors in altering the intestinal metabolism of drugs. Our results demonstrate that this high throughput assay can be used to identify small molecule inhibitors of GUS.
    Preview · Article · Apr 2011 · Current Chemical Genomics
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    ABSTRACT: The bacterial RecA protein has been implicated as a bacterial drug target not as an antimicrobial target, but as an adjuvant target with the potential to suppress the mechanism by which bacteria gain drug resistance. In order to identify small molecules that inhibit RecA/ssDNA nucleoprotein filament formation, we have adapted the phosphomolybdate-blue ATPase assay for high throughput screening to determine RecA ATPase activity against a library of 33,600 compounds, which is a selected representation of diverse structure of 350,000. Four distinct chemotypes were represented among the 40 validated hits. SAR and further chemical synthesis is underway to optimize this set of inhibitors to be used as antimicrobial adjuvant agents.
    Full-text · Article · May 2010 · Current Chemical Genomics
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    ABSTRACT: The phenomenon of antibiotic resistance has created a need for the development of novel antibiotic classes with nonclassical cellular targets. Unfortunately, target-based drug discovery against proteins considered essential for in vitro bacterial viability has yielded few new therapeutic classes of antibiotics. Targeting the large proportion of genes considered nonessential that have yet to be explored by high-throughput screening, for example, RecA, can complement these efforts. Recent evidence suggests that RecA-controlled processes are responsible for tolerance to antibiotic chemotherapy and are involved in pathways that ultimately lead to full-fledged antibiotic resistance. Therefore inhibitors of RecA may serve as therapeutic adjuvants in combination chemotherapy of bacterial infectious diseases. Toward the goal of validating RecA as a novel target in the chemotherapy of bacterial infections, the authors have screened 35,780 small molecules against RecA. In total, 80 small molecules were identified as primary hits and could be clustered in 6 distinct chemotype clades. The most potent class of hits was further examined, and 1 member compound was found to inhibit RecA-mediated strand exchange and prevent ciprofloxacin-induced SOS expression in Escherichia coli. This compound represents the first small molecule demonstrating an ability to inhibit the bacterial SOS response in live bacterial cell cultures.
    Full-text · Article · Sep 2009 · Journal of Biomolecular Screening
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    ABSTRACT: Twenty human proteins encode Phox/Bem1p (PB1) domains, which are involved in forming protein heterodimers. MEKK2, MEKK3, and MEK5 are 3 serine-threonine protein kinases that have PB1 domains. MEKK2, MEKK3, and MEK5 are the MAP3Ks and the MAP2K in the ERK5 mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) signaling module. ERK5 is a critical MAPK for both development of the vasculature and vascular homeostasis in the adult, but no other MAPK has been shown to be critical in vascular maintenance in the adult animal. MEKK2 and MEKK3 are the only MAP3Ks shown to physically interact with and activate the MEK5-ERK5 signaling module. Interaction of MEKK2 or MEKK3 with MEK5 is mediated by heterodimerization of the MEKK2 (or MEKK3) PB1 and MEK5 PB1 domains. The authors have developed a homogeneous, time-resolved fluorescence resonance energy transfer (TR-FRET) assay to monitor PB1-PB1 domain heterodimerization. The assay uses a europium-chelate conjugated GST-MEK5 PB1 domain chimera, biotinylated MEKK2 PB1 domain, and streptavidin-Cy5. Interaction of the MEKK2 and MEK5 PB1 domains gives a robust FRET signal (Z' factor = 0.93), which is completely abrogated by mutation of 2 acidic residues (64D65E-->AA) within the MEK5 PB1 domain that causes loss of stable PB1-PB1 domain interaction. This assay can be used to study the specificity of PB1-PB1 domain interactions and to screen for molecules that can regulate MEKK2/MEKK3-MEK5 interactions. Disruption of PB1 domain interactions represents a novel approach for selectively regulating the ERK5 signaling pathway independent of kinase active site-directed adenosine triphosphate competitive inhibitors.
    Preview · Article · Jun 2008 · Journal of Biomolecular Screening

Publication Stats

59 Citations
9.69 Total Impact Points


  • 2008-2012
    • North Carolina Central University
      • Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences
      Durham, North Carolina, United States
  • 2009
    • University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
      North Carolina, United States