The development of imatinib, an ATP-competitive inhibitor of the BCR-ABL oncoprotein, has revolutionized the treatment of chronic myelogenous leukemia (CML). Unfortunately, the leukemia eventually becomes resistant imatinib as a result of emergence of cells expressing drug insensitive BCR-ABL mutant proteins. This has motivated the development of several next-generation ATP-competitive drugs. This chapter describes the discovery and development of a complementary strategy involving inhibiting BCR-ABL by targeting an allosteric binding site. Compounds that bind to the myristate-binding pocket of BCR-ABL are able to induce formation of an "inactive" state and are able to overcome resistance mutations located in the ATP-binding pocket including the recalcitrant T315I "gatekeeper" mutation. Myristate-pocket inhibitors are also able to function synergistically with ATP-competitive inhibitors in cellular and murine models of CML and this dual inhibitory strategy is currently being investigated in the clinic.
Anaplastic lymphoma kinase (ALK) is an important molecular target in neuroblastoma. Although tyrosine kinase inhibitors abrogating ALK activity are currently in clinical use for the treatment of ALK-positive (ALK(+)) disease, monotherapy with ALK tyrosine kinase inhibitors may not be an adequate solution for ALK(+) neuroblastoma patients. Increased expression of the gene encoding the transcription factor MYCN is common in neuroblastomas and correlates with poor prognosis. We found that the kinase ERK5 [also known as big mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) 1 (BMK1)] is activated by ALK through a pathway mediated by phosphoinositide 3-kinase (PI3K), AKT, MAPK kinase kinase 3 (MEKK3), and MAPK kinase 5 (MEK5). ALK-induced transcription of MYCN and stimulation of cell proliferation required ERK5. Pharmacological or RNA interference-mediated inhibition of ERK5 suppressed the proliferation of neuroblastoma cells in culture and enhanced the antitumor efficacy of the ALK inhibitor crizotinib in both cells and xenograft models. Together, our results indicate that ERK5 mediates ALK-induced transcription of MYCN and proliferation of neuroblastoma, suggesting that targeting both ERK5 and ALK may be beneficial in neuroblastoma patients.
The human FGF receptors (FGFRs) play critical roles in various human cancers, and several FGFR inhibitors are currently under clinical investigation. Resistance usually results from selection for mutant kinases that are impervious to the action of the drug or from up-regulation of compensatory signaling pathways. Preclinical studies have demonstrated that resistance to FGFR inhibitors can be acquired through mutations in the FGFR gatekeeper residue, as clinically observed for FGFR4 in embryonal rhabdomyosarcoma and neuroendocrine breast carcinomas. Here we report on the use of a structure-based drug design to develop two selective, next-generation covalent FGFR inhibitors, the FGFR irreversible inhibitors 2 (FIIN-2) and 3 (FIIN-3). To our knowledge, FIIN-2 and FIIN-3 are the first inhibitors that can potently inhibit the proliferation of cells dependent upon the gatekeeper mutants of FGFR1 or FGFR2, which confer resistance to first-generation clinical FGFR inhibitors such as NVP-BGJ398 and AZD4547. Because of the conformational flexibility of the reactive acrylamide substituent, FIIN-3 has the unprecedented ability to inhibit both the EGF receptor (EGFR) and FGFR covalently by targeting two distinct cysteine residues. We report the cocrystal structure of FGFR4 with FIIN-2, which unexpectedly exhibits a "DFG-out" covalent binding mode. The structural basis for dual FGFR and EGFR targeting by FIIN3 also is illustrated by crystal structures of FIIN-3 bound with FGFR4 V550L and EGFR L858R. These results have important implications for the design of covalent FGFR inhibitors that can overcome clinical resistance and provide the first example, to our knowledge, of a kinase inhibitor that covalently targets cysteines located in different positions within the ATP-binding pocket.
The siRNA knockdown of IFN Regulatory Factor 5 (IRF5) in the human plasmacytoid dendritic cell line Gen2.2 prevented IFN? production induced by compound CL097, a ligand for Toll-like receptor 7 (TLR7). CL097 also stimulated the phosphorylation of IRF5 at Ser462 and stimulated the nuclear translocation of wild-type IRF5, but not the IRF5[Ser462Ala] mutant. The CL097-stimulated phosphorylation of IRF5 at Ser462 and its nuclear translocation was prevented by the pharmacological inhibition of protein kinase IKK? or the siRNA knockdown of IKK? or its "upstream" activator, the protein kinase TAK1. Similar results were obtained in a murine macrophage cell line stimulated with the TLR7 agonist compound R848 or the nucleotide oligomerization domain 1 (NOD1) agonist KF-1B. IKK? phosphorylated IRF5 at Ser462 in vitro and induced the dimerization of wild-type IRF5 but not the IRF5[S462A] mutant. These findings demonstrate that IKK? activates two "master" transcription factors of the innate immune system, IRF5 and NF-?B.
Drug-resistance acquisition through kinase gate-keeper mutations is a major hurdle in the clinic. Here, we determined the first crystal structures of the human FGFR4 kinase domain (FGFR4K) alone and complexed with ponatinib, a promiscuous type-2 (DFG-out) kinase inhibitor, and an oncogenic FGFR4K harboring the V550L gate-keeper mutation bound to FIIN-2, a new type-1 irreversible inhibitor. Remarkably, like ponatinib, FIIN-2 also binds in the DFG-out mode despite lacking a functional group necessary to occupy the pocket vacated upon the DFG-out flip. Structural analysis reveals that the covalent bond between FIIN-2 and a cysteine, uniquely present in the glycine-rich loop of FGFR kinases, facilitates the DFG-out conformation, which together with the internal flexibility of FIIN-2 enables FIIN-2 to avoid the steric clash with the gate-keeper mutation that causes the ponatinib resistance. The structural data provide a blueprint for the development of next generation anticancer inhibitors through combining the salient inhibitory mechanisms of ponatinib and FIIN-2.
Everolimus, an inhibitor of the mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR), is effective in treating tumors harboring alterations in the mTOR pathway. Mechanisms of resistance to everolimus remain undefined. Resistance developed in a patient with metastatic anaplastic thyroid carcinoma after an extraordinary 18-month response. Whole-exome sequencing of pretreatment and drug-resistant tumors revealed a nonsense mutation in TSC2, a negative regulator of mTOR, suggesting a mechanism for exquisite sensitivity to everolimus. The resistant tumor also harbored a mutation in MTOR that confers resistance to allosteric mTOR inhibition. The mutation remains sensitive to mTOR kinase inhibitors.
Mutations in the ALK tyrosine kinase receptor gene represent important therapeutic targets in neuroblastoma, yet their clinical translation has been challenging. The ALK(F1174L) mutation is sensitive to the ALK inhibitor crizotinib only at high doses and mediates acquired resistance to crizotinib in ALK-translocated cancers. We have shown that the combination of crizotinib and an inhibitor of downstream signaling induces a favorable response in transgenic mice bearing ALK(F1174L)/MYCN-positive neuroblastoma. Here, we investigated the molecular basis of this effect and assessed whether a similar strategy would be effective in ALK-mutated tumors lacking MYCN overexpression. We show that in ALK-mutated, MYCN-amplified neuroblastoma cells, crizotinib alone does not affect mTORC1 activity as indicated by persistent RPS6 phosphorylation. Combined treatment with crizotinib and an ATP-competitive mTOR inhibitor abrogated RPS6 phosphorylation, leading to reduced tumor growth and prolonged survival in ALK(F1174L)/MYCN-positive models compared to single agent treatment. By contrast, this combination, while inducing mTORC1 downregulation, caused reciprocal upregulation of PI3K activity in ALK-mutated cells expressing wild-type MYCN. Here, an inhibitor with potency against both mTOR and PI3K was more effective in promoting cytotoxicity when combined with crizotinib. Our findings should enable a more precise selection of molecularly targeted agents for patients with ALK-mutated tumors.
Activating mutations in the RAS oncogene occur frequently in human leukemias. Direct targeting of RAS has proven to be challenging, although targeting of downstream RAS mediators, such as MEK, is currently being tested clinically. Given the complexity of RAS signaling, it is likely that combinations of targeted agents will be more effective than single agents.
The extracellular signal-regulated kinase 5 (ERK5 or BMK1) is involved in tumour development. The ERK5 gene may be amplified in hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC), but its biological role has not been clarified. In this study, we explored the role of ERK5 expression and activity in HCC in vitro and in vivo.
Deubiquitylases (DUBs) are key regulators of the ubiquitin system which cleave ubiquitin moieties from proteins and polyubiquitin chains. Several DUBs have been implicated in various diseases and are attractive drug targets. We have developed a sensitive and fast assay to quantify in vitro DUB enzyme activity using matrix-assisted laser desorption/ionization time-of-flight (MALDI-TOF) mass spectrometry. Unlike other current assays, this method uses unmodified substrates, such as diubiquitin topoisomers. By analysing 42 human DUBs against all diubiquitin topoisomers we provide an extensive characterization of DUB activity and specificity. Our results confirm the high specificity of many members of the OTU and JAB/MPN/Mov34 metalloenzyme DUB families and highlight that all USPs tested display low linkage selectivity. We also demonstrate that this assay can be deployed to assess the potency and specificity of DUB inhibitors by profiling 11 compounds against a panel of 32 DUBs.
Genetic alterations that reduce the function of the immunoregulatory cytokine IL-10 contribute to colitis in mouse and man. Myeloid cells such as macrophages (M?s) and dendritic cells (DCs) play an essential role in determining the relative abundance of IL-10 versus inflammatory cytokines in the gut. As such, using small molecules to boost IL-10 production by DCs-M?s represents a promising approach to increase levels of this cytokine specifically in gut tissues. Toward this end, we screened a library of well-annotated kinase inhibitors for compounds that enhance production of IL-10 by murine bone-marrow-derived DCs stimulated with the yeast cell wall preparation zymosan. This approach identified a number of kinase inhibitors that robustly up-regulate IL-10 production including the Food and Drug Administration (FDA)-approved drugs dasatinib, bosutinib, and saracatinib that target ABL, SRC-family, and numerous other kinases. Correlating the kinase selectivity profiles of the active compounds with their effect on IL-10 production suggests that inhibition of salt-inducible kinases (SIKs) mediates the observed IL-10 increase. This was confirmed using the SIK-targeting inhibitor HG-9-91-01 and a series of structural analogs. The stimulatory effect of SIK inhibition on IL-10 is also associated with decreased production of the proinflammatory cytokines IL-1?, IL-6, IL-12, and TNF-?, and these coordinated effects are observed in human DCs-M?s and anti-inflammatory CD11c(+) CX3CR1(hi) cells isolated from murine gut tissue. Collectively, these studies demonstrate that SIK inhibition promotes an anti-inflammatory phenotype in activated myeloid cells marked by robust IL-10 production and establish these effects as a previously unidentified activity associated with several FDA-approved multikinase inhibitors.
Malaria, an infectious disease caused by eukaryotic parasites of the genus Plasmodium, afflicts hundreds of millions of people every year. Both the parasite and its host utilize protein kinases to regulate essential cellular processes. Bioinformatic analyses of parasite genomes predict at least 65 protein kinases, but their biological functions and therapeutic potential are largely unknown. We profiled 1358 small-molecule kinase inhibitors to evaluate the role of both the human and the malaria kinomes in Plasmodium infection of liver cells, the parasites' obligatory but transient developmental stage that precedes the symptomatic blood stage. The screen identified several small molecules that inhibit parasite load in liver cells, some with nanomolar efficacy, and each compound was subsequently assessed for activity against blood-stage malaria. Most of the screening hits inhibited both liver- and blood-stage malaria parasites, which have dissimilar gene expression profiles and infect different host cells. Evaluation of existing kinase activity profiling data for the library members suggests that several kinases are essential to malaria parasites, including cyclin-dependent kinases (CDKs), glycogen synthase kinases, and phosphoinositide-3-kinases. CDK inhibitors were found to bind to Plasmodium protein kinase 5, but it is likely that these compounds target multiple parasite kinases. The dual-stage inhibition of the identified kinase inhibitors makes them useful chemical probes and promising starting points for antimalarial development.
We developed a pharmacophore model for type II inhibitors that was used to guide the construction of a library of kinase inhibitors. Kinome-wide selectivity profiling of the library resulted in the identification of a series of 4-substituted 1H-pyrrolo[2,3-b]pyridines that exhibited potent inhibitory activity against two mitogen-activated protein kinases (MAPKs), TAK1 (MAP3K7) and MAP4K2, as well as pharmacologically well interrogated kinases such as p38? (MAPK14) and ABL. Further investigation of the structure-activity relationship (SAR) resulted in the identification of potent dual TAK1 and MAP4K2 inhibitors such as 1 (NG25) and 2 as well as MAP4K2 selective inhibitors such as 16 and 17. Some of these inhibitors possess good pharmacokinetic properties that will enable their use in pharmacological studies in vivo. A 2.4 Å cocrystal structure of TAK1 in complex with 1 confirms that the activation loop of TAK1 assumes the DFG-out conformation characteristic of type II inhibitors.
MET targeted therapies are under clinical evaluation for non-small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC) patients. Tyrosine kinase inhibitors (TKI) against MET have varying degrees of specificity. Tivantinib (ARQ 197) is reported to be a non-ATP competitive selective MET inhibitor. We aimed to compare the activity of tivantinib to established MET TKIs in a panel of NSCLC cell lines characterized by their MET dependency and by different relevant genotypes. A549, H3122, PC9 and HCC827, their respective resistant clones PC9 GR4 and HCC827 GR6 and the MET amplified cell lines H1993 and EBC-1 were treated in vitro with tivantinib, crizotinib or PHA-665752. Crizotinib and PHA-665752 showed growth inhibition restricted to MET dependent cell lines. The pattern of activity was related to MET inhibition and downstream signaling inhibition of AKT and ERK1/2, resulting in G0/G1 cycle arrest and apoptosis. In contrast, tivantinib possessed more potent anti-proliferative activity that was not restricted to only MET dependent cell lines. Tivantinib did not inhibit cellular MET activity or phosphorylation of downstream signaling proteins AKT or ERK1/2 in either MET dependent or independent cell lines. Cell cycle analysis demonstrated that tivantinib induced a G2/M arrest and induced apoptosis. Tivantinib but not crizotinib effected microtubule dynamics, disrupting mitotic spindles by a mechanism consistent with it functioning as a microtubule depolymerizer. Tivantinib activity is independent of MET signaling in NSCLC and suggests alternative mechanisms of action that should be considered when interpreting the results from on-going clinical studies.
The c-Src tyrosine kinase cooperates with the focal adhesion kinase (FAK) to regulate cell adhesion and motility. FAK engages the regulatory SH3 and SH2 domains of c-Src resulting in localized kinase activation that contributes to tumor cell metastasis. Using assay conditions where c-Src kinase activity required binding to a tyrosine phosphopeptide based on the FAK SH3-SH2 docking sequence, we screened a kinase-biased library for selective inhibitors of the Src/FAK peptide complex vs. c-Src alone. This approach identified an aminopyrimidinyl carbamate compound, WH-4-124-2, with nanomolar inhibitory potency and five-fold selectivity for c-Src when bound to the phospho-FAK peptide. Molecular docking studies indicate that WH-4-124-2 may preferentially inhibit the 'DFG-out' conformation of the kinase active site. These findings suggest that interaction of c-Src with FAK induces a unique kinase domain conformation amenable to selective inhibition. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.
Embryonic stem cells (ESCs) of mice and humans have distinct molecular and biological characteristics, raising the question of whether an earlier, "naive" state of pluripotency may exist in humans. Here we took a systematic approach to identify small molecules that support self-renewal of naive human ESCs based on maintenance of endogenous OCT4 distal enhancer activity, a molecular signature of ground state pluripotency. Iterative chemical screening identified a combination of five kinase inhibitors that induces and maintains OCT4 distal enhancer activity when applied directly to conventional human ESCs. These inhibitors generate human pluripotent cells in which transcription factors associated with the ground state of pluripotency are highly upregulated and bivalent chromatin domains are depleted. Comparison with previously reported naive human ESCs indicates that our conditions capture a distinct pluripotent state in humans that closely resembles that of mouse ESCs. This study presents a framework for defining the culture requirements of naive human pluripotent cells.
Reversing multidrug resistance (MDR) has been an important goal for clinical and investigational oncologists. In the last few decades, significant effort has been made to search for inhibitors to reverse MDR by targeting ATP-binding cassette (ABC) transporters (Pgp, MRP) directly, but these efforts have achieved little clinical success. Protein kinases play important roles in many aspects of tumor cell growth and survival. Combinations of kinase inhibitors and chemotherapeutics have been observed to overcome cancer drug resistance in certain circumstances.
Directly targeting oncogenic V-Ki-ras2 Kirsten rat sarcoma viral oncogene homolog (K-Ras) with small-molecule inhibitors has historically been considered prohibitively challenging. Recent reports of compounds that bind directly to the K-Ras G12C mutant suggest avenues to overcome key obstacles that stand in the way of developing such compounds. We aim to target the guanine nucleotide (GN)-binding pocket because the natural contents of this pocket dictate the signaling state of K-Ras. Here, we characterize the irreversible inhibitor SML-8-73-1 (SML), which targets the GN-binding pocket of K-Ras G12C. We report a high-resolution X-ray crystal structure of G12C K-Ras bound to SML, revealing that the compound binds in a manner similar to GDP, forming a covalent linkage with Cys-12. The resulting conformation renders K-Ras in the open, inactive conformation, which is not predicted to associate productively with or activate downstream effectors. Conservation analysis of the Ras family GN-binding pocket reveals variability in the side chains surrounding the active site and adjacent regions, especially in the switch I region. This variability may enable building specificity into new iterations of Ras and other GTPase inhibitors. High-resolution in situ chemical proteomic profiling of SML confirms that SML effectively discriminates between K-Ras G12C and other cellular GTP-binding proteins. A biochemical assay provides additional evidence that SML is able to compete with millimolar concentrations of GTP and GDP for the GN-binding site.
Despite marked advances in breast cancer therapy, basal-like breast cancer (BBC), an aggressive subtype of breast cancer usually lacking estrogen and progesterone receptors, remains difficult to treat. In this study, we report the identification of MELK as a novel oncogenic kinase from an in vivo tumorigenesis screen using a kinome-wide open reading frames (ORFs) library. Analysis of clinical data reveals a high level of MELK overexpression in BBC, a feature that is largely dependent on FoxM1, a master mitotic transcription factor that is also found to be highly overexpressed in BBC. Ablation of MELK selectively impairs proliferation of basal-like, but not luminal breast cancer cells both in vitro and in vivo. Mechanistically, depletion of MELK in BBC cells induces caspase-dependent cell death, preceded by defective mitosis. Finally, we find that Melk is not required for mouse development and physiology. Together, these data indicate that MELK is a normally non-essential kinase, but is critical for BBC and thus represents a promising selective therapeutic target for the most aggressive subtype of breast cancer.DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.7554/eLife.01763.001.
The ATP site of kinases displays remarkable conformational flexibility when accommodating chemically diverse small molecule inhibitors. The so-called activation segment, whose conformation controls catalytic activity and access to the substrate binding pocket, can undergo a large conformational change with the active state assuming a 'DFG-in' and an inactive state assuming a 'DFG-out' conformation. Compounds that preferentially bind to the DFG-out conformation are typically called 'type II' inhibitors in contrast to 'type I' inhibitors that bind to the DFG-in conformation. This review surveys the large number of type II inhibitors that have been developed and provides an analysis of their crystallographically determined binding modes. Using a small library of type II inhibitors, we demonstrate that more than 200 kinases can be targeted, suggesting that type II inhibitors may not be intrinsically more selective than type I inhibitors.
Tumour oncogenes include transcription factors that co-opt the general transcriptional machinery to sustain the oncogenic state, but direct pharmacological inhibition of transcription factors has so far proven difficult. However, the transcriptional machinery contains various enzymatic cofactors that can be targeted for the development of new therapeutic candidates, including cyclin-dependent kinases (CDKs). Here we present the discovery and characterization of a covalent CDK7 inhibitor, THZ1, which has the unprecedented ability to target a remote cysteine residue located outside of the canonical kinase domain, providing an unanticipated means of achieving selectivity for CDK7. Cancer cell-line profiling indicates that a subset of cancer cell lines, including human T-cell acute lymphoblastic leukaemia (T-ALL), have exceptional sensitivity to THZ1. Genome-wide analysis in Jurkat T-ALL cells shows that THZ1 disproportionally affects transcription of RUNX1 and suggests that sensitivity to THZ1 may be due to vulnerability conferred by the RUNX1 super-enhancer and the key role of RUNX1 in the core transcriptional regulatory circuitry of these tumour cells. Pharmacological modulation of CDK7 kinase activity may thus provide an approach to identify and treat tumour types that are dependent on transcription for maintenance of the oncogenic state.
Overexpression of the CXCR4 receptor is a hallmark of chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) and is important for CLL cell survival, migration, and interaction with their protective microenvironment. In acute myelogenous leukemia (AML), PIM1 was shown to regulate the surface expression of the CXCR4 receptor. Here, we show that PIM (proviral integration site for Moloney murine leukemia virus) kinases 1-3 are overexpressed and that the CXCR4 receptor is hyperphosphorylated on Ser339 in CLL compared with normal lymphocytes. Furthermore, CXCR4 phosphorylation correlates with PIM1 protein expression and PIM1 transcript levels in CLL. PIM kinase inhibition with three different PIM kinase inhibitors induced apoptosis in CLL cells independent of the presence of protective stromal cells. In addition, PIM inhibition caused dephosphorylation of the CXCR4 receptor on Ser339, resulting in enhanced ligand-dependent CXCR4 internalization and reduced re-externalization after withdrawal of CXCL12. Furthermore, PIM inhibition in CLL cells blocked CXCR4 functions, such as migration toward CXCL12- or CXCL12-induced extracellular signal-regulated kinase (ERK) phosphorylation. In concordance, pretreatment of CLL cells with PIM kinase inhibitors strongly reduced homing of CLL cells toward the bone marrow and the spleen of Rag2(-/-)?c(-/-) mice in vivo. Interestingly, the knockdown of PIM kinases in CLL cells demonstrated diverging functions, with PIM1 regulating CXCR4 surface expression and PIM2 and PIM3 as important for the survival of CLL cells. Our results show that PIM kinase inhibitors are an effective therapeutic option for CLL, not only by impairing PIM2/3-mediated CLL cell survival, but also by blocking the PIM1/CXCR4-mediated interaction of CLL cells with their protective microenvironment.
BTK is a member of the TEC family of non-receptor tyrosine kinases whose deregulation has been implicated in a variety of B-cell-related diseases. We have used structure-based drug design in conjunction with kinome profiling and cellular assays to develop a potent, selective, and irreversible BTK kinase inhibitor, QL47, which covalently modifies Cys481. QL47 inhibits BTK kinase activity with an IC50 of 7 nM, inhibits autophosphorylation of BTK on Tyr223 in cells with an EC50 of 475 nM, and inhibits phosphorylation of a downstream effector PLC?2 (Tyr759) with an EC50 of 318 nM. In Ramos cells QL47 induces a G1 cell cycle arrest that is associated with pronounced degradation of BTK protein. QL47 inhibits the proliferation of B-cell lymphoma cancer cell lines at submicromolar concentrations.
The related NUAK1 and NUAK2 are members of the AMPK (AMP-activated protein kinase) family of protein kinases that are activated by the LKB1 (liver kinase B1) tumour suppressor kinase. Recent work suggests they play important roles in regulating key biological processes including Myc-driven tumorigenesis, senescence, cell adhesion and neuronal polarity. In the present paper we describe the first highly specific protein kinase inhibitors of NUAK kinases namely WZ4003 and HTH-01-015. WZ4003 inhibits both NUAK isoforms (IC50 for NUAK1 is 20 nM and for NUAK2 is 100 nM), whereas HTH-01-015 inhibits only NUAK1 (IC50 is 100 nM). These compounds display extreme selectivity and do not significantly inhibit the activity of 139 other kinases that were tested including ten AMPK family members. In all cell lines tested, WZ4003 and HTH-01-015 inhibit the phosphorylation of the only well-characterized substrate, MYPT1 (myosin phosphate-targeting subunit 1) that is phosphorylated by NUAK1 at Ser(445). We also identify a mutation (A195T) that does not affect basal NUAK1 activity, but renders it ~50-fold resistant to both WZ4003 and HTH-01-015. Consistent with NUAK1 mediating the phosphorylation of MYPT1 we find that in cells overexpressing drug-resistant NUAK1[A195T], but not wild-type NUAK1, phosphorylation of MYPT1 at Ser(445) is no longer suppressed by WZ4003 or HTH-01-015. We also demonstrate that administration of WZ4003 and HTH-01-015 to MEFs (mouse embryonic fibroblasts) significantly inhibits migration in a wound-healing assay to a similar extent as NUAK1-knockout. WZ4003 and HTH-01-015 also inhibit proliferation of MEFs to the same extent as NUAK1 knockout and U2OS cells to the same extent as NUAK1 shRNA knockdown. We find that WZ4003 and HTH-01-015 impaired the invasive potential of U2OS cells in a 3D cell invasion assay to the same extent as NUAK1 knockdown. The results of the present study indicate that WZ4003 and HTH-01-015 will serve as useful chemical probes to delineate the biological roles of the NUAK kinases.
The discoidin domain receptors (DDRs), DDR1 and DDR2, form a unique subfamily of receptor tyrosine kinases that are activated by the binding of triple-helical collagen. Excessive signaling by DDR1 and DDR2 has been linked to the progression of various human diseases, including fibrosis, atherosclerosis and cancer. We report the inhibition of these unusual receptor tyrosine kinases by the multi-targeted cancer drugs imatinib and ponatinib, as well as the selective type II inhibitor DDR1-IN-1. Ponatinib is identified as the more potent molecule, which inhibits DDR1 and DDR2 with an IC50 of 9nM. Co-crystal structures of human DDR1 reveal a DFG-out conformation (DFG, Asp-Phe-Gly) of the kinase domain that is stabilized by an unusual salt bridge between the activation loop and ?D helix. Differences to Abelson kinase (ABL) are observed in the DDR1 P-loop, where a ?-hairpin replaces the cage-like structure of ABL. P-loop residues in DDR1 that confer drug resistance in ABL are therefore accommodated outside the ATP pocket. Whereas imatinib and ponatinib bind potently to both the DDR and ABL kinases, the hydrophobic interactions of the ABL P-loop appear poorly satisfied by DDR1-IN-1 suggesting a structural basis for its DDR1 selectivity. Such inhibitors may have applications in clinical indications of DDR1 and DDR2 overexpression or mutation, including lung cancer.
Activation of the ERK pathway is a hallmark of cancer, and targeting of upstream signaling partners led to the development of approved drugs. Recently, SCH772984 has been shown to be a selective and potent ERK1/2 inhibitor. Here we report the structural mechanism for its remarkable selectivity. In ERK1/2, SCH772984 induces a so-far-unknown binding pocket that accommodates the piperazine-phenyl-pyrimidine decoration. This new binding pocket was created by an inactive conformation of the phosphate-binding loop and an outward tilt of helix ?C. In contrast, structure determination of SCH772984 with the off-target haspin and JNK1 revealed two canonical but distinct type I binding modes. Notably, the new binding mode with ERK1/2 was associated with slow binding kinetics in vitro as well as in cell-based assay systems. The described binding mode of SCH772984 with ERK1/2 enables the design of a new type of specific kinase inhibitors with prolonged on-target activity.
We assemble a versatile molecular scaffold from simple building blocks to create binary and multiplexed stable isotope reagents for quantitative mass spectrometry. Termed Protected Amine Labels (PAL), these reagents offer multiple analytical figures of merit including, (1) robust targeting of peptide N-termini and lysyl side chains, (2) optimal mass spectrometry ionization efficiency through regeneration of primary amines on labeled peptides, (3) an amino acid-based mass tag that incorporates heavy isotopes of carbon, nitrogen, and oxygen to ensure matched physicochemical and MS/MS fragmentation behavior among labeled peptides, and (4) a molecularly efficient architecture, in which the majority of hetero-atom centers can be used to synthesize a variety of nominal mass and sub-Da isotopologue stable isotope reagents. We demonstrate the performance of these reagents in well-established strategies whereby up to four channels of peptide isotopomers, each separated by 4 Da, are quantified in MS-level scans with accuracies comparable to current commercial reagents. In addition, we utilize the PAL scaffold to create isotopologue reagents in which labeled peptide analogs differ in mass based on the binding energy in carbon and nitrogen nuclei, thereby allowing quantification based on MS or MS/MS spectra. We demonstrate accurate quantification for reagents that support 6-plex labeling and propose extension of this scheme to 9-channels based on a similar PAL scaffold. Finally, we provide exemplar data that extend the application of isotopologe-based quantification reagents to medium resolution, quadrupole time-of-flight mass spectrometers.
Many biological experiments are not compatible with the use of immunofluorescence, genetically encoded fluorescent tags, or FRET-based reporters. Conjugation of existing kinase inhibitors to cell-permeable fluorophores can provide a generalized approach to develop fluorescent probes of intracellular kinases. Here, we report the development of a small molecule probe of Src through conjugation of BODIPY to two well-established dual Src-Abl kinase inhibitors, dasatinib and saracatinib. We show that this approach is not successful for saracatinib but that dasatinib-BODIPY largely retains the biological activity of its parent compound and can be used to monitor the presence of Src kinase in individual cells by flow cytometry. It can also be used to track the localization of Src by fixed and live-cell fluorescence microscopy. This strategy could enable generation of additional kinase-specific probes useful in systems not amenable to genetic manipulation or could be used together with fluorescent proteins to enable a multiplexed assay readout.
LKB1 is a master kinase that regulates metabolism and growth through adenosine monophosphate-activated protein kinase (AMPK) and 12 other closely related kinases. Liver-specific ablation of LKB1 causes increased glucose production in hepatocytes in vitro and hyperglycaemia in fasting mice in vivo. Here we report that the salt-inducible kinases (SIK1, 2 and 3), members of the AMPK-related kinase family, play a key role as gluconeogenic suppressors downstream of LKB1 in the liver. The selective SIK inhibitor HG-9-91-01 promotes dephosphorylation of transcriptional co-activators CRTC2/3 resulting in enhanced gluconeogenic gene expression and glucose production in hepatocytes, an effect that is abolished when an HG-9-91-01-insensitive mutant SIK is introduced or LKB1 is ablated. Although SIK2 was proposed as a key regulator of insulin-mediated suppression of gluconeogenesis, we provide genetic evidence that liver-specific ablation of SIK2 alone has no effect on gluconeogenesis and insulin does not modulate SIK2 phosphorylation or activity. Collectively, we demonstrate that the LKB1-SIK pathway functions as a key gluconeogenic gatekeeper in the liver.
Her3 (also known as ErbB3) belongs to the epidermal growth factor receptor tyrosine kinases and is well credentialed as an anti-cancer target but is thought to be 'undruggable' using ATP-competitive small molecules because it lacks appreciable kinase activity. Here we report what is to our knowledge the first selective Her3 ligand, TX1-85-1, that forms a covalent bond with Cys721 located in the ATP-binding site of Her3. We demonstrate that covalent modification of Her3 inhibits Her3 signaling but not proliferation in some Her3-dependent cancer cell lines. Subsequent derivatization with a hydrophobic adamantane moiety demonstrates that the resultant bivalent ligand (TX2-121-1) enhances inhibition of Her3-dependent signaling. Treatment of cells with TX2-121-1 results in partial degradation of Her3 and serendipitously interferes with productive heterodimerization between Her3 with either Her2 or c-Met. These results suggest that small molecules will be capable of perturbing the biological function of Her3 and ?60 other pseudokinases found in human cells.
Genome-wide analyses determined previously that the receptor tyrosine kinase (RTK) EPHA2 is commonly overexpressed in non-small cell lung cancers (NSCLCs). EPHA2 overexpression is associated with poor clinical outcomes; therefore, EPHA2 may represent a promising therapeutic target for patients with NSCLC. In support of this hypothesis, here we have shown that targeted disruption of EphA2 in a murine model of aggressive Kras-mutant NSCLC impairs tumor growth. Knockdown of EPHA2 in human NSCLC cell lines reduced cell growth and viability, confirming the epithelial cell autonomous requirements for EPHA2 in NSCLCs. Targeting EPHA2 in NSCLCs decreased S6K1-mediated phosphorylation of cell death agonist BAD and induced apoptosis. Induction of EPHA2 knockdown within established NSCLC tumors in a subcutaneous murine model reduced tumor volume and induced tumor cell death. Furthermore, an ATP-competitive EPHA2 RTK inhibitor, ALW-II-41-27, reduced the number of viable NSCLC cells in a time-dependent and dose-dependent manner in vitro and induced tumor regression in human NSCLC xenografts in vivo. Collectively, these data demonstrate a role for EPHA2 in the maintenance and progression of NSCLCs and provide evidence that ALW-II-41-27 effectively inhibits EPHA2-mediated tumor growth in preclinical models of NSCLC.
After contusion spinal cord injury (SCI), astrocytes become reactive and form a glial scar. While this reduces spreading of the damage by containing the area of injury, it inhibits regeneration. One strategy to improve the recovery after SCI is therefore to reduce the inhibitory effect of the scar, once the acute phase of the injury has passed. The pleiotropic cytokine interleukin-6 (IL-6) is secreted immediately after injury and regulates scar formation; however, little is known about the role of IL-6 in the sub-acute phases of SCI. Interestingly, IL-6 also promotes axon regeneration, and therefore its induction in reactive astrocytes may improve regeneration after SCI. We found that IL-6 is expressed by astrocytes and neurons one week post-injury and then declines. Using primary cultures of rat astrocytes we delineated the molecular mechanisms that regulate IL-6 expression and secretion. IL-6 expression requires activation of p38 and depends on NF-?B transcriptional activity. Activation of these pathways in astrocytes occurs when the PI3K-mTOR-AKT pathway is inhibited. Furthermore, we found that an increase in cytosolic calcium concentration was necessary for IL-6 secretion. To induce IL-6 secretion in astrocytes, we used torin2 and rapamycin to block the PI3K-mTOR pathway and increase cytosolic calcium, respectively. Treating injured animals with torin2 and rapamycin for two weeks, starting two weeks after injury when the scar has been formed, lead to a modest effect on mechanical hypersensitivity, limited to the period of treatment. These data, taken together, suggest that treatment with torin2 and rapamycin induces IL-6 secretion by astrocytes and may contribute to the reduction of mechanical hypersensitivity after SCI.
The treatment of non-small cell lung cancer has evolved dramatically over the past decade with the adoption of widespread use of effective targeted therapies in patients with distinct molecular alterations. In lung squamous cell carcinoma (lung SqCC) recent studies have suggested that DDR2 mutations are a biomarker for therapeutic response to dasatinib and clinical trials are underway testing this hypothesis. While targeted therapeutics are typically quite effective as initial therapy for patients with lung cancer, nearly all patients develop resistance with long-term exposure to targeted drugs. Here, we use DDR2-dependent lung cancer cell lines to model acquired resistance to dasatinib therapy. We perform targeted exome sequencing to identify two distinct mechanisms of acquired resistance: acquisition of the T654I gatekeeper mutation in DDR2 and loss of NF1. We show that NF1 loss activates a bypass pathway which confers ERK dependency downstream of RAS activation. These results indicate that acquired resistance to dasatinib can occur via both second-site mutations in DDR2 and by activation of bypass pathways. These data may help to anticipate mechanisms of resistance which may be identified in upcoming clinical trials of anti-DDR2 therapy in lung cancer and suggest strategies to overcome resistance.
We report the synthesis of a GDP analogue, SML-8-73-1, and a prodrug derivative, SML-10-70-1, which are selective, direct-acting covalent inhibitors of the K-Ras G12C mutant relative to wild-type Ras. Biochemical and biophysical measurements suggest that modification of K-Ras with SML-8-73-1 renders the protein in an inactive state. These first-in-class covalent K-Ras inhibitors demonstrate that irreversible targeting of the K-Ras guanine-nucleotide binding site is potentially a viable therapeutic strategy for inhibition of Ras signaling.
The DDR1 receptor tyrosine kinase is activated by matrix collagens and has been implicated in numerous cellular functions such as proliferation, differentiation, adhesion, migration, and invasion. Here we report the discovery of a potent and selective DDR1 inhibitor, DDR1-IN-1, and present the 2.2 Å DDR1 co-crystal structure. DDR1-IN-1 binds to DDR1 in the DFG-out conformation and inhibits DDR1 autophosphorylation in cells at submicromolar concentrations with good selectivity as assessed against a panel of 451 kinases measured using the KinomeScan technology. We identified a mutation in the hinge region of DDR1, G707A, that confers >20-fold resistance to the ability of DDR1-IN-1 to inhibit DDR1 autophosphorylation and can be used to establish what pharmacology is DDR1-dependent. A combinatorial screen of DDR1-IN-1 with a library of annotated kinase inhibitors revealed that inhibitors of PI3K and mTOR such as GSK2126458 potentiate the antiproliferative activity of DDR1-IN-1 in colorectal cancer cell lines. DDR1-IN-1 provides a useful pharmacological probe for DDR1-dependent signal transduction.
Glioblastomas exhibit a high level of chemotherapeutic resistance, including to the antimitotic agents vincristine and taxol. During the mitotic agent-induced arrest, glioblastoma cells are able to perform damage-control and self-repair to continue proliferation. Monopolar spindle 1 (MPS1/TTK) is a checkpoint kinase and a gatekeeper of the mitotic arrest.
The mechanistic target of rapamycin (mTOR) complex 1 (mTORC1) protein kinase promotes growth and is the target of rapamycin, a clinically useful drug that also prolongs life span in model organisms. A persistent mystery is why the phosphorylation of many bona fide mTORC1 substrates is resistant to rapamycin. We find that the in vitro kinase activity of mTORC1 toward peptides encompassing established phosphorylation sites varies widely and correlates strongly with the resistance of the sites to rapamycin, as well as to nutrient and growth factor starvation within cells. Slight modifications of the sites were sufficient to alter mTORC1 activity toward them in vitro and to cause concomitant changes within cells in their sensitivity to rapamycin and starvation. Thus, the intrinsic capacity of a phosphorylation site to serve as an mTORC1 substrate, a property we call substrate quality, is a major determinant of its sensitivity to modulators of the pathway. Our results reveal a mechanism through which mTORC1 effectors can respond differentially to the same signals.
The benzo[e]pyrimido-[5,4-b]diazepine-6(11H)-one core was discovered as a novel ERK5 (also known as MAPK7 and BMK1) inhibitor scaffold, previously. Further structure-activity relationship studies of this scaffold led to the discovery of ERK5-IN-1 (26) as the most selective and potent ERK5 inhibitor reported to date. 26 potently inhibits ERK5 biochemically with an IC50 of 0.162 ± 0.006 ?M and in cells with a cellular EC50 for inhibiting epidermal growth factor induced ERK5 autophosphorylation of 0.09 ± 0.03 ?M. Furthermore, 26 displays excellent selectivity over other kinases with a KINOMEscan selectivity score (S10) of 0.007, and exhibits exceptional bioavailability (F%) of 90% in mice. 26 will serve as a valuable tool compound to investigate the ERK5 signaling pathway and as a starting point for developing an ERK5 directed therapeutic agent.
Myeloid differentiation factor 88 (MYD88) L265P somatic mutation is highly prevalent in Waldenström macroglobulinemia (WM) and supports malignant growth through nuclear factor ?B (NF-?B). The signaling cascade(s) by which MYD88 L265P promotes NF-?B activation in WM remain unclear. By lentiviral knockdown or use of a MYD88 inhibitor, decreased phosphorylation of the NF-?B gatekeeper I?B? and survival occurred in MYD88 L265P-expressing WM cells. Conversely, WM cells engineered to overexpress MYD88 L265P showed enhanced survival. Coimmunoprecipitation studies identified Bruton tyrosine kinase (BTK) complexed to MYD88 in L265P-expressing WM cells, with preferential binding of MYD88 to phosphorylated BTK (pBTK). Increased pBTK was also observed in WM cells transduced to overexpress L265P vs wild-type MYD88. Importantly, MYD88 binding to BTK was abrogated following treatment of MYD88 L265P-expressing cells with a BTK kinase inhibitor. Inhibition of BTK or interleukin-1 receptor-associated kinase 1 and 4 (IRAK-1 and -4) kinase activity induced apoptosis of WM cells, and their combination resulted in more robust inhibition of NF-?B signaling and synergistic WM cell killing. The results establish BTK as a downstream target of MYD88 L265P signaling, and provide a framework for the study of BTK inhibitors alone, and in combination with IRAK inhibitors for the treatment of WM.
The synthesis, preclinical profile, and in vivo efficacy in rat xenograft models of the novel and selective anaplastic lymphoma kinase inhibitor 15b (LDK378) are described. In this initial report, preliminary structure-activity relationships (SARs) are described as well as the rational design strategy employed to overcome the development deficiencies of the first generation ALK inhibitor 4 (TAE684). Compound 15b is currently in phase 1 and phase 2 clinical trials with substantial antitumor activity being observed in ALK-positive cancer patients.
A comprehensive description of genomic alterations in lung squamous cell carcinoma (lung SCC) has recently been reported, enabling the identification of genomic events that contribute to the oncogenesis of this disease. In lung SCC, one of the most frequently altered receptor tyrosine kinase families is the fibroblast growth factor receptor (FGFR) family, with amplification or mutation observed in all four family members. Here, we describe the oncogenic nature of mutations observed in FGFR2 and FGFR3, each of which are observed in 3% of samples, for a mutation rate of 6% across both genes. Using cell culture and xenograft models, we show that several of these mutations drive cellular transformation. Transformation can be reversed by small-molecule FGFR inhibitors currently being developed for clinical use. We also show that mutations in the extracellular domains of FGFR2 lead to constitutive FGFR dimerization. In addition, we report a patient with an FGFR2-mutated oral SCC who responded to the multitargeted tyrosine kinase inhibitor pazopanib. These findings provide new insights into driving oncogenic events in a subset of lung squamous cancers, and recommend future clinical studies with FGFR inhibitors in patients with lung and head and neck SCC.
The LKB1/STK11 tumor suppressor encodes a serine/threonine kinase, which coordinates cell growth, polarity, motility, and metabolism. In non-small cell lung carcinoma, LKB1 is somatically inactivated in 25% to 30% of cases, often concurrently with activating KRAS mutations. Here, we used an integrative approach to define novel therapeutic targets in KRAS-driven LKB1-mutant lung cancers. High-throughput RNA interference screens in lung cancer cell lines from genetically engineered mouse models driven by activated KRAS with or without coincident Lkb1 deletion led to the identification of Dtymk, encoding deoxythymidylate kinase (DTYMK), which catalyzes dTTP biosynthesis, as synthetically lethal with Lkb1 deficiency in mouse and human lung cancer lines. Global metabolite profiling showed that Lkb1-null cells had a striking decrease in multiple nucleotide metabolites as compared with the Lkb1-wild-type cells. Thus, LKB1-mutant lung cancers have deficits in nucleotide metabolism that confer hypersensitivity to DTYMK inhibition, suggesting that DTYMK is a potential therapeutic target in this aggressive subset of tumors.
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.
The protein kinase ERK5 (MAPK7) is an emerging drug target for a variety of indications, in particular for cancer where it plays a key role mediating cell proliferation, survival, epithelial-mesenchymal transition, and angiogenesis. To date, no three-dimensional structure has been published that would allow rational design of inhibitors. To address this, we determined the X-ray crystal structure of the human ERK5 kinase domain in complex with a highly specific benzo[e]pyrimido[5,4-b]diazepine-6(11H)-one inhibitor. The structure reveals that specific residue differences in the ATP-binding site, compared to the related ERKs p38s and JNKs, allow for the development of ERK5-specific inhibitors. The selectivity of previously observed ERK5 inhibitors can also be rationalized using this structure, which provides a template for future development of inhibitors with potential for treatment of disease.
BMX is a member of the TEC family of nonreceptor tyrosine kinases. We have used structure-based drug design in conjunction with kinome profiling to develop a potent, selective, and irreversible BMX kinase inhibitor, BMX-IN-1, which covalently modifies Cys496. BMX-IN-1 inhibits the proliferation of Tel-BMX-transformed Ba/F3 cells at two digit nanomolar concentrations but requires single digit micromolar concentrations to inhibit the proliferation of prostate cancer cell lines. Using a combinatorial kinase inhibitor screening strategy, we discovered that the allosteric Akt inhibitor, MK2206, is able to potentiate BMX inhibitors antiproliferation efficacy against prostate cancer cells.
Targeted molecular therapy has yielded remarkable outcomes in certain cancers, but specific therapeutic targets remain elusive for many others. As a result of two independent RNA interference (RNAi) screens, we identified pathway dependence on a member of the Janus-activated kinase (JAK) tyrosine kinase family, TYK2, and its downstream effector STAT1, in T-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia (T-ALL). Gene knockdown experiments consistently showed TYK2 dependence in both T-ALL primary specimens and cell lines, and a small-molecule inhibitor of JAK activity induced T-ALL cell death. Activation of this TYK2-STAT1 pathway in T-ALL cell lines occurs by gain-of-function TYK2 mutations or activation of interleukin (IL)-10 receptor signaling, and this pathway mediates T-ALL cell survival through upregulation of the antiapoptotic protein BCL2. These findings indicate that in many T-ALL cases, the leukemic cells are dependent upon the TYK2-STAT1-BCL2 pathway for continued survival, supporting the development of molecular therapies targeting TYK2 and other components of this pathway.
Protein kinases are a large family of approximately 530 highly conserved enzymes that transfer a ?-phosphate group from ATP to a variety of amino acid residues, such as tyrosine, serine, and threonine, that serves as a ubiquitous mechanism for cellular signal transduction. The clinical success of a number of kinase-directed drugs and the frequent observation of disease causing mutations in protein kinases suggest that a large number of kinases may represent therapeutically relevant targets. To date, the majority of clinical and preclinical kinase inhibitors are ATP competitive, noncovalent inhibitors that achieve selectivity through recognition of unique features of particular protein kinases. Recently, there has been renewed interest in the development of irreversible inhibitors that form covalent bonds with cysteine or other nucleophilic residues in the ATP-binding pocket. Irreversible kinase inhibitors have a number of potential advantages including prolonged pharmacodynamics, suitability for rational design, high potency, and ability to validate pharmacological specificity through mutation of the reactive cysteine residue. Here, we review recent efforts to develop cysteine-targeted irreversible protein kinase inhibitors and discuss their modes of recognizing the ATP-binding pocket and their biological activity profiles. In addition, we provided an informatics assessment of the potential "kinase cysteinome" and discuss strategies for the efficient development of new covalent inhibitors.
mTOR is a highly conserved serine/threonine protein kinase that serves as a central regulator of cell growth, survival, and autophagy. Deregulation of the PI3K/Akt/mTOR signaling pathway occurs commonly in cancer and numerous inhibitors targeting the ATP-binding site of these kinases are currently undergoing clinical evaluation. Here, we report the characterization of Torin2, a second-generation ATP-competitive inhibitor that is potent and selective for mTOR with a superior pharmacokinetic profile to previous inhibitors. Torin2 inhibited mTORC1-dependent T389 phosphorylation on S6K (RPS6KB1) with an EC(50) of 250 pmol/L with approximately 800-fold selectivity for cellular mTOR versus phosphoinositide 3-kinase (PI3K). Torin2 also exhibited potent biochemical and cellular activity against phosphatidylinositol-3 kinase-like kinase (PIKK) family kinases including ATM (EC(50), 28 nmol/L), ATR (EC(50), 35 nmol/L), and DNA-PK (EC(50), 118 nmol/L; PRKDC), the inhibition of which sensitized cells to Irradiation. Similar to the earlier generation compound Torin1 and in contrast to other reported mTOR inhibitors, Torin2 inhibited mTOR kinase and mTORC1 signaling activities in a sustained manner suggestive of a slow dissociation from the kinase. Cancer cell treatment with Torin2 for 24 hours resulted in a prolonged block in negative feedback and consequent T308 phosphorylation on Akt. These effects were associated with strong growth inhibition in vitro. Single-agent treatment with Torin2 in vivo did not yield significant efficacy against KRAS-driven lung tumors, but the combination of Torin2 with mitogen-activated protein/extracellular signal-regulated kinase (MEK) inhibitor AZD6244 yielded a significant growth inhibition. Taken together, our findings establish Torin2 as a strong candidate for clinical evaluation in a broad number of oncologic settings where mTOR signaling has a pathogenic role.
TSC1 is often mutated in bladder cancer. However the importance of this event in disease pathogenesis and its implications for therapy are uncertain. We used genomic sequencing to examine the involvement of TSC1 in bladder cancer, and signalling pathway analysis and small-molecule screening to identify targeted therapeutic strategies in TSC1 mutant bladder cancer cell lines. TSC1 loss of heterozygosity was seen in 54% of bladder cancers. Two (4.9%) of these 41 bladder cancers had TSC1 mutations by exon-based sequencing. Analysis of 27 bladder cancer cell lines demonstrated inactivating TSC1 mutations in three: RT-4, HCV29, 97-1. Interestingly, only RT-4 showed classic feedback inhibition of AKT, and was highly sensitive to treatment with mTOR inhibitors rapamycin and Torin1. 97-1 cells showed constitutive EGFR activation, and were highly sensitive to combined treatment with the mTOR inhibitor Torin1 and EGFR inhibitors Lapatinib or Afatinib. A BRAF missense mutation G469V was found in HCV29 cells, and AKT activation was dependent on BRAF, but independent of ERK. A kinase inhibitor screen of HCV29 cells showed strong growth inhibition by the Hsp90 inhibitor NVP-AUY922, and we then found synergistic inhibitory effects of NVP-AUY922 combined with either Torin1 or rapamycin on cell survival for both HCV29 and 97-1 cells. In aggregate, these findings indicate that there are highly variable mutation profiles and signalling pathway activation in TSC1-mutant bladder cancer. Furthermore, combined Hsp90/mTOR inhibition is a promising therapeutic approach for TSC1 mutant bladder cancer.
Tyrosine kinase inhibitor (TKI)-treated acute myeloid leukemia (AML) patients commonly show rapid and significant peripheral blood blast cell reduction, however a marginal decrease in bone marrow blasts. This suggests a protective environment and highlights the demand for a better understanding of stromal:leukemia cell communication. As a strategy to improve clinical efficacy, we searched for novel agents capable of potentiating the stroma-diminished effects of TKI treatment of mutant FLT3-expressing cells.
While genomically targeted therapies have improved outcomes for patients with lung adenocarcinoma, little is known about the genomic alterations which drive squamous cell lung cancer. Sanger sequencing of the tyrosine kinome identified mutations in the DDR2 kinase gene in 3.8% of squamous cell lung cancers and cell lines. Squamous lung cancer cell lines harboring DDR2 mutations were selectively killed by knock-down of DDR2 by RNAi or by treatment with the multi-targeted kinase inhibitor dasatinib. Tumors established from a DDR2 mutant cell line were sensitive to dasatinib in xenograft models. Expression of mutated DDR2 led to cellular transformation which was blocked by dasatinib. A squamous cell lung cancer patient with a response to dasatinib and erlotinib treatment harbored a DDR2 kinase domain mutation. These data suggest that gain-of-function mutations in DDR2 are important oncogenic events and are amenable to therapy with dasatinib. As dasatinib is already approved for use, these findings could be rapidly translated into clinical trials.
The members of the Aurora kinase family play critical roles in the regulation of the cell cycle and mitotic spindle assembly and have been intensively investigated as potential targets for a new class of anticancer drugs. We describe a new highly potent and selective class of Aurora kinase inhibitors discovered using a phenotypic cellular screen. Optimized inhibitors display many of the hallmarks of Aurora inhibition including endoreduplication, polyploidy, and loss of cell viability in cancer cells. Structure-activity relationships with respect to kinome-wide selectivity and guided by an Aurora B co-crystal structure resulted in the identification of key selectivity determinants and discovery of a subseries with selectivity toward Aurora A. A direct comparison of biochemical and cellular profiles with respect to published Aurora inhibitors including VX-680, AZD1152, MLN8054, and a pyrimidine-based compound from Genentech demonstrates that compounds 1 and 3 will become valuable additional pharmacological probes of Aurora-dependent functions.
Anaplastic lymphoma kinase (ALK) tyrosine kinase inhibitors (TKI), including crizotinib, are effective treatments in preclinical models and in cancer patients with ALK-translocated cancers. However, their efficacy will ultimately be limited by the development of acquired drug resistance. Here we report two mechanisms of ALK TKI resistance identified from a crizotinib-treated non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) patient and in a cell line generated from the resistant tumor (DFCI076) as well as from studying a resistant version of the ALK TKI (TAE684)-sensitive H3122 cell line. The crizotinib-resistant DFCI076 cell line harbored a unique L1152R ALK secondary mutation and was also resistant to the structurally unrelated ALK TKI TAE684. Although the DFCI076 cell line was still partially dependent on ALK for survival, it also contained concurrent coactivation of epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) signaling. In contrast, the TAE684-resistant (TR3) H3122 cell line did not contain an ALK secondary mutation but instead harbored coactivation of EGFR signaling. Dual inhibition of both ALK and EGFR was the most effective therapeutic strategy for the DFCI076 and H3122 TR3 cell lines. We further identified a subset (3/50; 6%) of treatment naive NSCLC patients with ALK rearrangements that also had concurrent EGFR activating mutations. Our studies identify resistance mechanisms to ALK TKIs mediated by both ALK and by a bypass signaling pathway mediated by EGFR. These mechanisms can occur independently, or in the same cancer, suggesting that the combination of both ALK and EGFR inhibitors may represent an effective therapy for these subsets of NSCLC patients.
The mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR) protein kinase is a master growth promoter that nucleates two complexes, mTORC1 and mTORC2. Despite the diverse processes controlled by mTOR, few substrates are known. We defined the mTOR-regulated phosphoproteome by quantitative mass spectrometry and characterized the primary sequence motif specificity of mTOR using positional scanning peptide libraries. We found that the phosphorylation response to insulin is largely mTOR dependent and that mTOR exhibits a unique preference for proline, hydrophobic, and aromatic residues at the +1 position. The adaptor protein Grb10 was identified as an mTORC1 substrate that mediates the inhibition of phosphoinositide 3-kinase typical of cells lacking tuberous sclerosis complex 2 (TSC2), a tumor suppressor and negative regulator of mTORC1. Our work clarifies how mTORC1 inhibits growth factor signaling and opens new areas of investigation in mTOR biology.
PIK3CA gain-of-function mutations are a common oncogenic event in human malignancy, making phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase (PI3K) a target for cancer therapy. Despite the promise of targeted therapy, resistance often develops, leading to treatment failure. To elucidate mechanisms of resistance to PI3K-targeted therapy, we constructed a mouse model of breast cancer conditionally expressing human PIK3CA(H1047R). Notably, most PIK3CA(H1047R)-driven mammary tumors recurred after PIK3CA(H1047R) inactivation. Genomic analyses of recurrent tumors revealed multiple lesions, including focal amplification of Met or Myc (also known as c-Met and c-Myc, respectively). Whereas Met amplification led to tumor survival dependent on activation of endogenous PI3K, tumors with Myc amplification became independent of the PI3K pathway. Functional analyses showed that Myc contributed to oncogene independence and resistance to PI3K inhibition. Notably, PIK3CA mutations and c-MYC elevation co-occur in a substantial fraction of human breast tumors. Together, these data suggest that c-MYC elevation represents a potential mechanism by which tumors develop resistance to current PI3K-targeted therapies.
Squamous cell lung carcinomas account for approximately 25% of new lung carcinoma cases and 40,000 deaths per year in the United States. Although there are multiple genomically targeted therapies for lung adenocarcinoma, none has yet been reported in squamous cell lung carcinoma.
Protein kinases are intensely studied mediators of cellular signaling, yet important questions remain regarding their regulation and in vivo properties. Here, we use a probe-based chemoprotemics platform to profile several well studied kinase inhibitors against >200 kinases in native cell proteomes and reveal biological targets for some of these inhibitors. Several striking differences were identified between native and recombinant kinase inhibitory profiles, in particular, for the Raf kinases. The native kinase binding profiles presented here closely mirror the cellular activity of these inhibitors, even when the inhibition profiles differ dramatically from recombinant assay results. Additionally, Raf activation events could be detected on live cell treatment with inhibitors. These studies highlight the complexities of protein kinase behavior in the cellular context and demonstrate that profiling with only recombinant/purified enzymes can be misleading.
The mTOR mediated PI3K/AKT/mTOR signal transduction pathway has been demonstrated to play a key role in a broad spectrum of cancers. Starting from the mTOR selective inhibitor 1 (Torin1), a focused medicinal chemistry effort led to the discovery of an improved mTOR inhibitor 3 (Torin2), which possesses an EC(50) of 0.25 nM for inhibiting cellular mTOR activity. Compound 3 exhibited 800-fold selectivity over PI3K (EC(50): 200 nM) and over 100-fold binding selectivity relative to 440 other protein kinases. Compound 3 has significantly improved bioavailability (54%), metabolic stability, and plasma exposure relative to compound 1.
Polo-like kinases (PLKs) play an important role in cell cycle progression, checkpoint control and mitosis. The high mitotic index and chromosomal instability of advanced cancers suggest that PLK inhibitors may be an attractive therapeutic option for presently incurable advanced neoplasias with systemic involvement, such as multiple myeloma (MM). We studied the PLK 1, 2, 3 inhibitor BI 2536 and observed potent (IC50<40 nM) and rapid (commitment to cell death <24 hrs) in vitro activity against MM cells in isolation, as well as in vivo activity against a traditional subcutaneous xenograft mouse model. Tumor cells in MM patients, however, dont exist in isolation, but reside in and interact with the bone microenvironment. Therefore conventional in vitro and in vivo preclinical assays dont take into account how interactions between MM cells and the bone microenvironment can potentially confer drug resistance. To probe this question, we performed tumor cell compartment-specific bioluminescence imaging assays to compare the preclinical anti-MM activity of BI 2536 in vitro in the presence vs. absence of stromal cells or osteoclasts. We observed that the presence of these bone marrow non-malignant cells led to decreased anti-MM activity of BI 2536. We further validated these results in an orthotopic in vivo mouse model of diffuse MM bone lesions where tumor cells interact with non-malignant cells of the bone microenvironment. We again observed that BI 2536 had decreased activity in this in vivo model of tumor-bone microenvironment interactions highlighting that, despite BI 2536s promising activity in conventional assays, its lack of activity in microenvironmental models raises concerns for its clinical development for MM. More broadly, preclinical drug testing in the absence of relevant tumor microenvironment interactions may overestimate potential clinical activity, thus explaining at least in part the gap between preclinical vs. clinical efficacy in MM and other cancers.
Building on years of basic scientific discovery, recent advances in the fields of cancer genetics and medicinal chemistry are now converging to revolutionize the treatment of cancer. Starting with serendipitous observations in rare subsets of cancer, a paradigm shift in clinical research is poised to ensure that new molecular insights are rapidly applied to shape emerging cancer therapies. Could this mark a turning point in the "War on Cancer"?
Starting from small molecule mTOR inhibitor Torin1, replacement of the piperazine ring with a phenyl ring resulted in a new series of mTOR inhibitors (as exemplified by 10) that showed superior potency and selectivity for mTOR, along with significantly improved mouse liver microsome stability and a longer in vivo half-life.
Mutations in leucine-rich repeat kinase 2 (LRRK2) are strongly associated with late-onset autosomal dominant Parkinsons disease. We employed a new, parallel, compound-centric approach to identify a potent and selective LRRK2 inhibitor, LRRK2-IN-1, and demonstrated that inhibition of LRRK2 induces dephosphorylation of Ser910 and Ser935 and accumulation of LRRK2 within aggregate structures. LRRK2-IN-1 will serve as a versatile tool to pharmacologically interrogate LRRK2 biology and study its role in Parkinsons disease.
Selective protein kinase inhibitors have only been developed against a small number of kinase targets. Here we demonstrate that "high-throughput kinase profiling" is an efficient method for the discovery of lead compounds for established as well as unexplored kinase targets. We screened a library of 118 compounds constituting two distinct scaffolds (furan-thiazolidinediones and pyrimido-diazepines) against a panel of 353 kinases. A distinct kinase selectivity profile was observed for each scaffold. Selective inhibitors were identified with submicromolar cellular activity against PIM1, ERK5, ACK1, MPS1, PLK1-3, and Aurora A,B kinases. In addition, we identified potent inhibitors for so far unexplored kinases such as DRAK1, HIPK2, and DCAMKL1 that await further evaluation. This inhibitor-centric approach permits comprehensive assessment of a scaffold of interest and represents an efficient and general strategy for identifying new selective kinase inhibitors.
Kinome-wide selectivity profiling of a collection of 2-amino-pyrido[2,3-d]pyrimidines followed by cellular structure-activity relationship-guided optimization resulted in the identification of moderately potent and selective inhibitors of BMK1/ERK5 exemplified by 11, 18, and 21. For example, 11 possesses a dissociation constant (K(d)) for BMK1 of 19 nM, a cellular IC(50) for inhibiting epidermal growth factor induced BMK1 autophosphorylation of 0.19 ± 0.04 ?M, and an Ambit KINOMEscan selectivity score (S(5)) of 0.035. Inhibitors 18 and 21 are also potent BMK1 inhibitors and possess favorable pharmacokinetic properties which enable their use as pharmacological probes of BMK1-dependent phenomena as well as starting points for further optimization efforts.
Abl kinase inhibitors targeting the ATP binding pocket are currently employed as potent anti-leukemogenic agents but drug resistance has become a significant clinical limitation. Recently, a compound that binds to the myristate pocket of Abl (GNF-5) was shown to act cooperatively with nilotinib, an ATP-competitive inhibitor to target the recalcitrant "T315I" gatekeeper mutant of Bcr-Abl. To uncover an explanation for how drug binding at a distance from the kinase active site could lead to inhibition and how inhibitors could combine their effects, hydrogen exchange mass spectrometry (HX MS) was employed to monitor conformational effects in the presence of both dasatinib, a clinically approved ATP-site inhibitor, and GNF-5. While dasatinib binding to wild type Abl clearly influenced Abl conformation, no binding was detected between dasatinib and T315I. GNF-5, however, elicited the same conformational changes in both wild type and T315I, including changes to dynamics within the ATP site located approximately 25 Å from the site of GNF-5 interaction. Simultaneous binding of dasatinib and GNF-5 to T315I caused conformational and/or dynamics changes in Abl such that effects of dasatinib on T315I were the same as when it bound to wild type Abl. These results provide strong biophysical evidence that allosteric interactions play a role in Abl kinase downregulation and that targeting sites outside the ATP binding site can provide an important pharmacological tool to overcome mutations that cause resistance to ATP-competitive inhibitors.
A series of novel 3,5-diamino-1,2,4-triazole benzyl ureas was identified as having potent anaplastic lymphoma kinase (ALK) inhibition exemplified by 15a, 20a, and 23a, which exhibited antiproliferative IC(50) values of 70, 40, and 20 nM in Tel-ALK transformed Ba/F3 cells, respectively. Moreover, 15a and 23a potently inhibited the growth and survival of NPM-ALK positive anaplastic large cell lymphoma cell (SU-DHL-1) and neuroblastoma cell lines (KELLY, SH-SY5Y) containing the F1174L ALK mutation. These compounds provide novel leads for the development of small-molecule ALK inhibitors for cancer therapy.
The ALK kinase inhibitor crizotinib (PF-02341066) is clinically effective in patients with ALK-translocated cancers, but its efficacy will ultimately be limited by acquired drug resistance. Here we report the identification of a secondary mutation in ALK, F1174L, as one cause of crizotinib resistance in a patient with an inflammatory myofibroblastic tumor (IMT) harboring a RANBP2-ALK translocation who progressed while on crizotinib therapy. When present in cis with an ALK translocation, this mutation (also detected in neuroblastomas) causes an increase in ALK phosphorylation, cell growth, and downstream signaling. Furthermore, the F1174L mutation inhibits crizotinib-mediated downregulation of ALK signaling and blocks apoptosis in RANBP2-ALK Ba/F3 cells. A chemically distinct ALK inhibitor, TAE684, and the HSP90 inhibitor 17-AAG are both effective in models harboring the F1174L ALK mutation. Our findings highlight the importance of studying drug resistance mechanisms in order to develop effective clinical treatments for patients with ALK-translocated cancers.
Nuclear factor E2-related factor 2 (Nrf2) is a transcription factor that regulates Antioxidant Response Element (ARE)-mediated transcription of a plethora of antioxidant and protective genes to counteract the harmful effects of reactive oxygen species or environmental carcinogens. Studies have demonstrated that pre-emptive activation of the Nrf2-ARE pathway reinforces the cellular defense mechanism against oxidative stress and leads to protection in a variety of disease models. Non-carcinogenic ARE inducers have been identified from a variety of chemical classes that enhance the transcriptional activity of Nrf2 through S-alkylation of reactive cysteines within the cellular redox sensor protein Keap1 (Kelch-like ECH associated protein 1). Here we review the currently known small molecule ARE inducers and their reported biological activities in various models.
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We use abstracts found on PubMed and match them to JoVE videos to create a list of 10 to 30 related methods videos.
Video X seems to be unrelated to Abstract Y...
In developing our video relationships, we compare around 5 million PubMed articles to our library of over 4,500 methods videos. In some cases the language used in the PubMed abstracts makes matching that content to a JoVE video difficult. In other cases, there happens not to be any content in our video library that is relevant to the topic of a given abstract. In these cases, our algorithms are trying their best to display videos with relevant content, which can sometimes result in matched videos with only a slight relation.