The human Aurora kinase inhibitor danusertib is a lead compound for anti-trypanosomal drug discovery via target repurposing.
ABSTRACT: New drugs for neglected tropical diseases such as human African trypanosomiasis (HAT) are needed, yet drug discovery efforts are not often focused on this area due to cost. Target repurposing, achieved by the matching of essential parasite enzymes to those human enzymes that have been successfully inhibited by small molecule drugs, provides an attractive means by which new drug optimization programs can be pragmatically initiated. In this report we describe our results in repurposing an established class of human Aurora kinase inhibitors, typified by danusertib (1), which we have observed to be an inhibitor of trypanosomal Aurora kinase 1 (TbAUK1) and effective in parasite killing in vitro. Informed by homology modeling and docking, a series of analogs of 1 were prepared that explored the scope of the chemotype and provided a nearly 25-fold improvement in cellular selectivity for parasite cells over human cells.
Project description:The success of Imatinib (IM) therapy in chronic myeloid leukemia (CML) is compromised by the development of IM resistance and by a limited IM effect on hematopoietic stem cells. Danusertib (formerly PHA-739358) is a potent pan-aurora and ABL kinase inhibitor with activity against known BCR-ABL mutations, including T315I. Here, the individual contribution of both signaling pathways to the therapeutic effect of Danusertib as well as mechanisms underlying the development of resistance and, as a consequence, strategies to overcome resistance to Danusertib were investigated. Starting at low concentrations, a dose-dependent inhibition of BCR-ABL activity was observed, whereas inhibition of aurora kinase activity required higher concentrations, pointing to a therapeutic window between the two effects. Interestingly, the emergence of resistant clones during Danusertib exposure in vitro occurred considerably less frequently than with comparable concentrations of IM. In addition, Danusertib-resistant clones had no mutations in BCR-ABL or aurora kinase domains and remained IM-sensitive. Overexpression of Abcg2 efflux transporter was identified and functionally validated as the predominant mechanism of acquired Danusertib resistance in vitro. Finally, the combined treatment with IM and Danusertib significantly reduced the emergence of drug resistance in vitro, raising hope that this drug combination may also achieve more durable disease control in vivo.
Project description:Treatment with Aurora inhibitors has been shown to induce diverse biological responses in different tumor cell lines, in part depending on their p53 status. To characterize at the transcriptional level the effects of Danusertib we analyzed by microarray different tumor cell lines, with WT or mutant p53 status, that showed differential cell cycle response upon drug treatment. Overall design: We analyzed the effects of Danusertib treatment in different tumor cell lines derived from ovary (A2780, p53WT), breast (MCF-7, p53WT and MDA-MB-468, p53 mut) and colon carcinoma (HCT116, p53 WT and Colo205, p53 mut). Cell line were treated (TRT) or left unreated (CTRL) for 24 hrs with 1 uM Danusertib.
Project description:Treatment with Aurora inhibitors has been shown to induce diverse biological responses in different tumor cell lines, in part depending on their p53 status. To characterize at the transcriptional level the effects of Danusertib we analyzed by microarray different tumor cell lines, with WT or mutant p53 status, that showed differential cell cycle response upon drug treatment. We analyzed the effects of Danusertib treatment in different tumor cell lines derived from ovary (A2780, p53WT), breast (MCF-7, p53WT and MDA-MB-468, p53 mut) and colon carcinoma (HCT116, p53 WT and Colo205, p53 mut). Cell line were treated (TRT) or left unreated (CTRL) for 24 hrs with 1 uM Danusertib.
Project description:Aurora kinase family members co-ordinate a range of events associated with mitosis and cytokinesis. Anti-cancer therapies are currently being developed against them. Here, we evaluate whether Aurora kinase-1 (TbAUK1) from pathogenic Trypanosoma brucei might be targeted in anti-parasitic therapies as well. Conditional knockdown of TbAUK1 within infected mice demonstrated its essential contribution to infection. An in vitro kinase assay was developed which used recombinant trypanosome histone H3 as a substrate. Tandem mass spectroscopy identified a novel phosphorylation site in the carboxyl-tail of recombinant trypanosome histone H3. Hesperadin, an inhibitor of human Aurora B, prevented the phosphorylation of substrate with IC(50) of 40 nM. Growth of cultured bloodstream forms was also sensitive to Hesperadin (IC(50) of 50 nM). Hesperadin blocked nuclear division and cytokinesis but not other aspects of the cell cycle. Consequently, growth arrested cells accumulated multiple kinetoplasts, flagella and nucleoli, similar to the effects of RNAi-dependent knockdown of TbAUK1 in cultured bloodstream forms cells. Molecular models predicted high-affinity binding of Hesperadin to both conserved and novel sites in TbAUK1. Collectively, these data demonstrate that cell cycle progression is essential for infections with T. brucei and that parasite Aurora kinases can be targeted with small-molecule inhibitors.
Project description:Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) is the sixth most common cancer worldwide, but the overall prognosis remains disappointing especially in the advanced-stage patients. Aberration expression of Aurora kinases is tumorigenic and thus it has attracted interests as therapeutic targets in cancer treatment. Here, we investigated the proteomic response of HCC Hep3B cells to danusertib (Danu), a pan-Aurora kinase inhibitor, and then validated the proteomic results based on stable-isotope labeling by amino acids in cell culture (SILAC). The proteomic data identified that Danu modulated the expression of 542 protein molecules (279 up-regulated; 260 down-regulated; 3 stable). Ingenuity pathway analysis (IPA) and KEGG pathway analysis identified 107 and 24 signaling pathways were regulated by Danu, respectively. IPA analysis showed cellular growth and proliferation, and cell death and survival were among the top five molecular and cellular functions regulated by Danu. The verification experiments showed that Danu inhibited the proliferation of Hep3B cells with a 24-hr IC50 value of 22.03 µM. Danu treatment also arrested Hep3B cells in G2/M phase via regulating the expression of key cell cycle regulators and induced apoptosis via mitochondria-dependent pathway in a dose-dependent manner. Besides, Danu induced a marked autophagy, and inhibition of autophagy enhanced the anticancer effects of Danu, indicating a cyto-protective role of Danu-induced autophagy. Our proteomic data and Western blotting assays showed the PI3K/Akt/mTOR signaling pathway was involved in the inducing effect of Danu on apoptosis and autophagy. Collectively, our findings have demonstrated that the Aurora kinases inhibition with danusertib results in global proteomic response and exerts anticancer effects in Hep3B cells involving regulation of cell cycle, apoptosis and autophagy and associated signaling pathways.
Project description:Parasitic diseases, such as African sleeping sickness, have a significant impact on the health and well-being in the poorest regions of the world. Pragmatic drug discovery efforts are needed to find new therapeutic agents. In this Letter we describe target repurposing efforts focused on trypanosomal phosphodiesterases. We outline the synthesis and biological evaluation of analogs of sildenafil (1), a human PDE5 inhibitor, for activities against trypanosomal PDEB1 (TbrPDEB1). We find that, while low potency analogs can be prepared, this chemical class is a sub-optimal starting point for further development of TbrPDE inhibitors.
Project description:Danusertib is a pan-aurora kinase inhibitor with potent activity against Abl kinase including the gatekeeper T315I mutant. A phase 1 dose escalation study of danusertib was conducted in patients with accelerated or blastic phase chronic myeloid leukemia or Philadelphia chromosome-positive acute lymphoblastic leukemia. Two dosing schedules were studied: schedule A, in which danusertib was given by 3-hour intravenous infusion daily for 7 consecutive days (days 1-7) in a 14-day cycle, and schedule B, in which the danusertib was given by 3-hour intravenous infusion daily for 14 consecutive days (days 1-14) in a 21-day cycle. A total of 37 patients were treated, 29 with schedule A and eight with schedule B. The recommended phase 2 dose for schedule A was 180 mg/m(2). Enrollment to schedule B was stopped early because of logistical problems with the frequency of infusions. Febrile neutropenia and mucositis were dose-limiting toxicities in schedule A. Four patients with T315I ABL kinase mutation, all treated with schedule A, responded. Danusertib has an acceptable toxicity profile and is active in patients with Bcr-Abl-associated advanced hematologic malignancies. This study was registered with the European Clinical Trails Data Base (EudraCT number 2007-004070-18).
Project description:In this Letter we describe our ongoing target repurposing efforts focused on discovery of inhibitors of the essential trypanosomal phosphodiesterase TbrPDEB1. This enzyme has been implicated in virulence of Trypanosoma brucei, the causative agent of human African trypanosomiasis (HAT). We outline the synthesis and biological evaluation of analogs of tadalafil, a human PDE5 inhibitor currently utilized for treatment of erectile dysfunction, and report that these analogs are weak inhibitors of TbrPDEB1.
Project description:Background:The kinase of Aurora A has been regarded as a promising therapeutic target due to its altered expression in various human cancers. However, given the high similarity of the active binding site of Aurora A to other kinases, designing highly selective inhibitors towards Aurora A remains a challenge. Recently, two potential small-molecule inhibitors named AT9283 and Danusertib were reported to exhibit significant selectivity to Aurora A, but not to Gleevec. It was argued that protein dynamics is crucial for drug selectivity to Aurora A. However, little computational research has been conducted to shed light on the underlying mechanisms. Methods:In this study, MM/GBSA calculations based on conventional molecular dynamics (cMD) simulations and enhanced sampling simulations including Gaussian accelerated MD (GaMD) simulations and umbrella sampling were carried out to illustrate the selectivity of inhibitors to Aurora A. Results:The calculation results from cMD simulation showed that the binding specificity is primarily controlled by conformational change of the kinase hinge. The protein dynamics and energetic differences were further supported by the GaMD simulations. Umbrella sampling further proved that AT9283 and Danusertib have similar potential of mean force (PMF) profiles toward Aurora A in terms of PMF depth. Compared with AT9283 and Danusertib, Gleevec has much lower PMF depth, indicating that Gleevec is more easily dissociated from Aurora A than AT9283 and Danusertib. These results not only show the selective determinants of Aurora A, but also provide valuable clues for the further development of novel potent Aurora A selective inhibitors.
Project description:The chromosomal passenger complex (CPC) in animals, consisting of Aurora B kinase and three evolutionarily conserved proteins, plays crucial roles in mitosis and cytokinesis. However, Trypanosoma brucei expresses an unusual CPC consisting of an Aurora-like kinase, TbAUK1, and two kinetoplastid-specific proteins, TbCPC1 and TbCPC2. Despite their essential functions, little is known about the regulation of TbAUK1 and the roles of TbCPC1 and TbCPC2. Here, we investigate the effect of post-translational modification on the activity and spatiotemporal control of TbAUK1, and demonstrate that phosphorylation of two conserved threonine residues in the activation loop of the kinase domain contributes to TbAUK1 activation and function. TbAUK1 is SUMOylated in vivo, and mutation of the SUMO-conjugation site compromises TbAUK1 function. Degradation of TbAUK1 requires two destruction boxes and is mediated by the anaphase-promoting complex/cyclosome (APC/C), whereas degradation of TbCPC1 and TbCPC2 is not dependent on the predicted destruction boxes and is APC/C-independent. Moreover, we determine the domains in CPC subunits that mediate the pairwise interactions, and show that disruption of the interaction impairs the localization of TbAUK1 and TbCPC2 but not TbCPC1. Our results demonstrate the requirement of post-translational modifications for TbAUK1 function and a crucial role of TbCPC1 in mediating TbAUK1 localization.