A-1155463, a highly potent and selective BCL-XL inhibitor, was discovered through nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) fragment screening and structure-based design. This compound is substantially more potent against BCL-XL-dependent cell lines relative to our recently reported inhibitor, WEHI-539, while possessing none of its inherent pharmaceutical liabilities. A-1155463 caused a mechanism-based and reversible thrombocytopenia in mice and inhibited H146 small cell lung cancer xenograft tumor growth in vivo following multiple doses. A-1155463 thus represents an excellent tool molecule for studying BCL-XL biology as well as a productive lead structure for further optimization.
Maintenance of nuclear architecture is crucial for gene regulation, cell proliferation and tissue development. However, during every open mitosis and meiosis, chromosomes are exposed to cytoskeletal forces until they are fully reassembled into mature nuclei. Here we discuss our recent study of nuclear assembly in Xenopus egg extracts, where we showed that the DNA binding protein Developmental pluripotency associated 2 (Dppa2) directly inhibits microtubule polymerization during nuclear formation, and that this is essential for normal nuclear shape and replication. We explore mechanisms by which microtubule dynamics could regulate nuclear formation and morphology, and discuss the importance of both spatial and temporal regulation of microtubules in this process. Moreover, expression of Dppa2 is limited to the early embryo and pluripotent tissues, and we highlight the specific demands of mitosis in these often rapidly dividing cells, in which telophase nuclear assembly must be expedited and may facilitate developmental changes in nuclear architecture.
Nuclear shape and size vary between species, during development, and in many tissue pathologies, but the causes and effects of these differences remain poorly understood. During fertilization, sperm nuclei undergo a dramatic conversion from a heavily compacted form into decondensed, spherical pronuclei, accompanied by rapid nucleation of microtubules from centrosomes. Here we report that the assembly of the spherical nucleus depends on a critical balance of microtubule dynamics, which is regulated by the chromatin-binding protein Developmental pluripotency-associated 2 (Dppa2). Whereas microtubules normally promote sperm pronuclear expansion, in Dppa2-depleted Xenopus egg extracts excess microtubules cause pronuclear assembly defects, leading to abnormal morphology and disorganized DNA replication. Dppa2 inhibits microtubule polymerization in vitro, and Dppa2 activity is needed at a precise time and location during nascent pronuclear formation. This demonstrates a strict spatiotemporal requirement for local suppression of microtubules during nuclear formation, fulfilled by chromatin-bound microtubule regulators.
Proteins in the B cell CLL/lymphoma 2 (BCL-2) family are key regulators of the apoptotic process. This family comprises proapoptotic and prosurvival proteins, and shifting the balance toward the latter is an established mechanism whereby cancer cells evade apoptosis. The therapeutic potential of directly inhibiting prosurvival proteins was unveiled with the development of navitoclax, a selective inhibitor of both BCL-2 and BCL-2-like 1 (BCL-X(L)), which has shown clinical efficacy in some BCL-2-dependent hematological cancers. However, concomitant on-target thrombocytopenia caused by BCL-X(L) inhibition limits the efficacy achievable with this agent. Here we report the re-engineering of navitoclax to create a highly potent, orally bioavailable and BCL-2-selective inhibitor, ABT-199. This compound inhibits the growth of BCL-2-dependent tumors in vivo and spares human platelets. A single dose of ABT-199 in three patients with refractory chronic lymphocytic leukemia resulted in tumor lysis within 24 h. These data indicate that selective pharmacological inhibition of BCL-2 shows promise for the treatment of BCL-2-dependent hematological cancers.
A hallmark of mitosis is the appearance of high levels of histone phosphorylation, yet the roles of these modifications remain largely unknown. Here, we demonstrate that histone H3 phosphorylated at threonine 3 is directly recognized by an evolutionarily conserved binding pocket in the BIR domain of Survivin, which is a member of the chromosomal passenger complex (CPC). This binding mediates recruitment of the CPC to chromosomes and the resulting activation of its kinase subunit Aurora B. Consistently, modulation of the kinase activity of Haspin, which phosphorylates H3T3, leads to defects in the Aurora B-dependent processes of spindle assembly and inhibition of nuclear reformation. These findings establish a direct cellular role for mitotic histone H3T3 phosphorylation, which is read and translated by the CPC to ensure accurate cell division.
The blood protein plasminogen is proteolytically cleaved to produce angiostatin and kringle 5 (K5), both of which are known angiogenesis inhibitors. A common structural element between K5, angiostatin and other endogenous angiogenesis inhibitors is the presence of the kringle protein-interacting domain. Another kringle domain-containing protein, hepatocyte growth factor (HGF), promotes angiogenesis by binding to and stimulating the tyrosine kinase receptor Met. HGF binding to Met is dependent on the kringle domains of HGF. Because both K5 and HGF contain kringle motifs and because these proteins have opposite effects on angiogenesis, we hypothesised that K5 can antagonise HGF-mediated signalling in a Met-dependent manner. We determined that K5 binding to H1299 cells is competed by HGF suggesting that these two proteins bind to the same protein. Purified K5 immunoprecipitates with Met and this interaction is abolished by increasing doses of HGF. Using proliferation, phosphorylation of Met and Akt as markers of HGF activity, we determined that K5 inhibits HGF-mediated signalling. Taken together, these data support a model by which K5 binds to Met and functions as a competitive antagonist of HGF signalling and presents a novel mechanism of action of K5.
The Wilms tumor antigen (WT1) is an attractive target for immunotherapy of leukemia. In the past, we isolated and characterized the specificity and function of a WT1-specific T-cell receptor. The goal of this translational study was to develop a safe and efficient WT1-T-cell receptor retroviral vector for an adoptive immunotherapy trial with engineered T cells.
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