- Zentrum für Arzneimittelforschung, Entwicklung und Sicherheit (4)
5-Lipoxygenase: underappreciated role of a pro-inflammatory enzyme in tumorigenesis
Astrid Stefanie Fischer
Svenja Dorothea Steinbrink
Thorsten Jürgen Maier
- Leukotrienes constitute a group of bioactive lipids generated by the 5-lipoxygenase (5-LO) pathway. An increasing body of evidence supports an acute role for 5-LO products already during the earliest stages of pancreatic, prostate, and colorectal carcinogenesis. Several pieces of experimental data form the basis for this hypothesis and suggest a correlation between 5-LO expression and tumor cell viability. First, several independent studies documented an overexpression of 5-LO in primary tumor cells as well as in established cancer cell lines. Second, addition of 5-LO products to cultured tumor cells also led to increased cell proliferation and activation of anti-apoptotic signaling pathways. 5-LO antisense technology approaches demonstrated impaired tumor cell growth due to reduction of 5-LO expression. Lastly, pharmacological inhibition of 5-LO potently suppressed tumor cell growth by inducing cell cycle arrest and triggering cell death via the intrinsic apoptotic pathway. However, the documented strong cytotoxic off-target effects of 5-LO inhibitors, in combination with the relatively high concentrations of 5-LO products needed to achieve mitogenic effects in cell culture assays, raise concern over the assignment of the cause, and question the relationship between 5-LO products and tumorigenesis. Keywords: leukotriene, apoptosis, cell proliferation, mitogenic effects, cytotoxicity
CD69 is a TGF-β/1α,25-dihydroxyvitamin D3 target gene in monocytes
Thea K. Wöbke
Andreas von Knethen
Bernd L. Sorg
- CD69 is a transmembrane lectin that can be expressed on most hematopoietic cells. In monocytes, it has been functionally linked to the 5-lipoxygenase pathway in which the leukotrienes, a class of highly potent inflammatory mediators, are produced. However, regarding CD69 gene expression and its regulatory mechanisms in monocytes, only scarce data are available. Here, we report that CD69 mRNA expression, analogous to that of 5-lipoxygenase, is induced by the physiologic stimuli transforming growth factor-β (TGF-β) and 1α,25-dihydroxyvitamin D3 (1α,25(OH)2D3) in monocytic cells. Comparison with T- and B-cell lines showed that the effect was specific for monocytes. CD69 expression levels were increased in a concentration-dependent manner, and kinetic analysis revealed a rapid onset of mRNA expression, indicating that CD69 is a primary TGF-β/1α,25(OH)2D3 target gene. PCR analysis of different regions of the CD69 mRNA revealed that de novo transcription was initiated and proximal and distal parts were induced concomitantly. In common with 5-lipoxygenase, no activation of 0.7 kb or ~2.3 kb promoter fragments by TGF-β and 1α,25(OH)2D3 could be observed in transient reporter assays for CD69. Analysis of mRNA stability using a transcription inhibitor and a 3′UTR reporter construct showed that TGF-β and 1α,25(OH)2D3 do not influence CD69 mRNA stability. Functional knockdown of Smad3 clearly demonstrated that upregulation of CD69 mRNA, in contrast to 5-LO, depends on Smad3. Comparative studies with different inhibitors for mitogen activated protein kinases (MAPKs) revealed that MAPK signalling is involved in CD69 gene regulation, whereas 5-lipoxygenase gene expression was only partly affected. Mechanistically, we found evidence that CD69 gene upregulation depends on TAK1-mediated p38 activation. In summary, our data indicate that CD69 gene expression, conforming with 5-lipoxygenase, is regulated monocyte-specifically by the physiologic stimuli TGF-β and 1α,25(OH)2D3 on mRNA level, although different mechanisms account for the upregulation of each gene.
DOGS: reaction-driven de novo design of bioactive compounds
- We present a computational method for the reaction-based de novo design of drug-like molecules. The software DOGS (Design of Genuine Structures) features a ligand-based strategy for automated ‘in silico’ assembly of potentially novel bioactive compounds. The quality of the designed compounds is assessed by a graph kernel method measuring their similarity to known bioactive reference ligands in terms of structural and pharmacophoric features. We implemented a deterministic compound construction procedure that explicitly considers compound synthesizability, based on a compilation of 25'144 readily available synthetic building blocks and 58 established reaction principles. This enables the software to suggest a synthesis route for each designed compound. Two prospective case studies are presented together with details on the algorithm and its implementation. De novo designed ligand candidates for the human histamine H4 receptor and γ-secretase were synthesized as suggested by the software. The computational approach proved to be suitable for scaffold-hopping from known ligands to novel chemotypes, and for generating bioactive molecules with drug-like properties.
Bioassays to monitor taspase1 function for the identification of pharmacogenetic inhibitors
- Background: Threonine Aspartase 1 (Taspase1) mediates cleavage of the mixed lineage leukemia (MLL) protein and leukemia provoking MLL-fusions. In contrast to other proteases, the understanding of Taspase1's (patho)biological relevance and function is limited, since neither small molecule inhibitors nor cell based functional assays for Taspase1 are currently available. Methodology/Findings: Efficient cell-based assays to probe Taspase1 function in vivo are presented here. These are composed of glutathione S-transferase, autofluorescent protein variants, Taspase1 cleavage sites and rational combinations of nuclear import and export signals. The biosensors localize predominantly to the cytoplasm, whereas expression of biologically active Taspase1 but not of inactive Taspase1 mutants or of the protease Caspase3 triggers their proteolytic cleavage and nuclear accumulation. Compared to in vitro assays using recombinant components the in vivo assay was highly efficient. Employing an optimized nuclear translocation algorithm, the triple-color assay could be adapted to a high-throughput microscopy platform (Z'factor = 0.63). Automated high-content data analysis was used to screen a focused compound library, selected by an in silico pharmacophor screening approach, as well as a collection of fungal extracts. Screening identified two compounds, N-[2-[(4-amino-6-oxo-3H-pyrimidin-2-yl)sulfanyl]ethyl]benzenesulfonamideand 2-benzyltriazole-4,5-dicarboxylic acid, which partially inhibited Taspase1 cleavage in living cells. Additionally, the assay was exploited to probe endogenous Taspase1 in solid tumor cell models and to identify an improved consensus sequence for efficient Taspase1 cleavage. This allowed the in silico identification of novel putative Taspase1 targets. Those include the FERM Domain-Containing Protein 4B, the Tyrosine-Protein Phosphatase Zeta, and DNA Polymerase Zeta. Cleavage site recognition and proteolytic processing of these substrates were verified in the context of the biosensor. Conclusions: The assay not only allows to genetically probe Taspase1 structure function in vivo, but is also applicable for high-content screening to identify Taspase1 inhibitors. Such tools will provide novel insights into Taspase1's function and its potential therapeutic relevance.