A Cell Biologist's Field Guide to Aurora Kinase Inhibitors.
ABSTRACT: Aurora kinases are essential for cell division and are frequently misregulated in human cancers. Based on their potential as cancer therapeutics, a plethora of small molecule Aurora kinase inhibitors have been developed, with a subset having been adopted as tools in cell biology. Here, we fill a gap in the characterization of Aurora kinase inhibitors by using biochemical and cell-based assays to systematically profile a panel of 10 commercially available compounds with reported selectivity for Aurora A (MLN8054, MLN8237, MK-5108, MK-8745, Genentech Aurora Inhibitor 1), Aurora B (Hesperadin, ZM447439, AZD1152-HQPA, GSK1070916), or Aurora A/B (VX-680). We quantify the in vitro effect of each inhibitor on the activity of Aurora A alone, as well as Aurora A and Aurora B bound to fragments of their activators, TPX2 and INCENP, respectively. We also report kinome profiling results for a subset of these compounds to highlight potential off-target effects. In a cellular context, we demonstrate that immunofluorescence-based detection of LATS2 and histone H3 phospho-epitopes provides a facile and reliable means to assess potency and specificity of Aurora A versus Aurora B inhibition, and that G2 duration measured in a live imaging assay is a specific readout of Aurora A activity. Our analysis also highlights variation between HeLa, U2OS, and hTERT-RPE1 cells that impacts selective Aurora A inhibition. For Aurora B, all four tested compounds exhibit excellent selectivity and do not significantly inhibit Aurora A at effective doses. For Aurora A, MK-5108 and MK-8745 are significantly more selective than the commonly used inhibitors MLN8054 and MLN8237. A crystal structure of an Aurora A/MK-5108 complex that we determined suggests the chemical basis for this higher specificity. Taken together, our quantitative biochemical and cell-based analyses indicate that AZD1152-HQPA and MK-8745 are the best current tools for selectively inhibiting Aurora B and Aurora A, respectively. However, MK-8745 is not nearly as ideal as AZD1152-HQPA in that it requires high concentrations to achieve full inhibition in a cellular context, indicating a need for more potent Aurora A-selective inhibitors. We conclude with a set of "good practice" guidelines for the use of Aurora inhibitors in cell biology experiments.
Project description:Medulloblastoma comprises four molecular subgroups of which Group 3 medulloblastoma is characterized by MYC amplification and MYC overexpression. Lymphoma cells expressing high levels of MYC are susceptible to apoptosis following treatment with inhibitors of mitosis. One of the key regulatory kinases involved in multiple stages of mitosis is Aurora kinase B. We hypothesized that medulloblastoma cells that overexpress MYC would be uniquely sensitized to the apoptotic effects of Aurora B inhibition. The specific inhibition of Aurora kinase B was achieved in MYC- overexpressing medulloblastoma cells with AZD1152-HQPA. MYC overexpression sensitized medulloblastoma cells to cell death upon Aurora B inhibition. This process was found to be independent of endoreplication. Using both flank and intracranial cerebellar xenografts we demonstrate that tumors formed from MYC-overexpressing medulloblastoma cells show a response to Aurora B inhibition including growth impairment and apoptosis induction. Lastly, we show the distribution of AZD1152-HQPA within the mouse brain and the ability to inhibit intracranial tumor growth and prolong survival in mice bearing tumors formed from MYC-overexpressing medulloblastoma cells. Our results suggest the potential for therapeutic application of Aurora kinase B inhibitors in the treatment of Group 3 medulloblastoma.
Project description:The Aurora kinases are essential for cell mitosis, and the dysregulation of Aurora A and B have been linked to the etiology of human cancers. Investigational agents MLN8054 (8) and alisertib (MLN8237, 10) have been identified as high affinity, selective, orally bioavailable inhibitors of Aurora A that have advanced into human clinical trials. Alisertib (10) is currently being evaluated in multiple Phase II and III clinical trials in hematological malignancies and solid tumors.
Project description:Aurora kinases are key regulators of mitotic events. Dysfunction of these kinases can cause polyploidy and chromosomal instability, a contributor to tumorigenesis. MK-5108 is a potent inhibitor of Aurora A kinase that has shown preclinical potent activity in malignancies of breast, cervical, colon, ovarian, and pancreatic origin. We sought to assess the preclinical efficacy of MK-5108 in a panel of non-small-cell lung cancer cell lines as a single agent and in combination with cisplatin and docetaxel.Eleven lung cancer cell lines were studied. Growth inhibition by MK-5108 was assessed with short- and long-term MTT assays. Cell cycling was measured by flow cytometry. Immunoblotting was used to determine targeted activity of MK-5108 on Aurora A and downstream effects (TACC3 and Plk1). Efficacy of combination studies performed with cisplatin and docetaxel was evaluated by median effect analysis.All cell lines demonstrated sustained growth inhibition following MK-5108 at varying nanomolar concentrations. MK-5108 induced G2/M accumulation, polyploidy, and apoptosis (increased sub-G1/PARP cleavage). Levels of Aurora A, TACC3, and Plk1 diminished. Concurrent treatment of MK-5108 with cisplatin or docetaxel synergistically inhibited cell growth with the docetaxel combination performing better. When administered sequentially, treatment with docetaxel first followed by MK-5108 exhibited greater growth inhibition than the inverse; yet concurrent treatment remained superior.MK-5108 has potent anti-proliferative activity in lung cancer cell lines alone and in combination with chemotherapies. Determining how best to integrate Aurora inhibitors into current lung cancer treatment regimens would be beneficial.
Project description:Polo-like kinases (PLKs) and Aurora kinases (AKs) act as key cell cycle regulators in healthy human cells. In cancer, these protein kinases are often overexpressed and dysregulated, thus contributing to uncontrolled cell proliferation and growth. T-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia (T-ALL) is a heterogeneous malignancy arising in the thymus from T-cell progenitors. Primary chemoresistant and relapsed T-ALL patients have yet a poor outcome, therefore novel therapies, targeting signaling pathways important for leukemic cell proliferation, are required. Here, we demonstrate the potential therapeutic effects of BI6727, MK-5108, and GSK1070916, three selective inhibitors of PLK1, AK-A, and AK-B/C, respectively, in a panel of T-ALL cell lines and primary cells from T-ALL patients. The drugs were both cytostatic and cytotoxic to T-ALL cells by inducing G2/M-phase arrest and apoptosis. The drugs retained part of their pro-apoptotic activity in the presence of MS-5 bone marrow stromal cells. Moreover, we document for the first time that BI6727 perturbed both the PI3K/Akt/mTORC2 and the MEK/ERK/mTORC1 signaling pathways, and that a combination of BI6727 with specific inhibitors of the aforementioned pathways (MK-2206, CCI-779) displayed significantly synergistic cytotoxic effects. Taken together, our findings indicate that PLK1 and AK inhibitors display the potential for being employed in innovative therapeutic strategies for improving T-ALL patient outcome.
Project description: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.
Project description:Aurora kinase A and B have essential and non-overlapping roles in mitosis, with elevated expression in a subset of human cancers, including acute myeloid leukemia (AML). In this study, pan-aurora kinase inhibitor (AKI) AMG 900 distinguishes itself as an anti-leukemic agent that is more uniformly potent against a panel of AML cell lines than are isoform-selective AKIs and classic AML drugs. AMG 900 inhibited AML cell growth by inducing polyploidization and/or apoptosis. AMG 900 and aurora-B-selective inhibitor AZD1152-hQPA showed comparable cellular effects on AML lines that do not harbor a FLT3-ITD mutation. AMG 900 was active against P-glycoprotein-expressing AML cells resistant to AZD1152-hQPA and was effective at inducing expression of megakaryocyte-lineage markers (CD41, CD42) on human CHRF-288-11 cells and mouse Jak2 V617F cells. In MOLM-13 cells, inhibition of p-histone H3 by AMG 900 was associated with polyploidy, extra centrosomes, accumulation of p53 protein, apoptosis, and cleavage of Bcl-2 protein. Co-administration of cytarabine (Ara-C) with AMG 900 potentiated cell killing in a subset of AML lines, with evidence of attenuated polyploidization. AMG 900 inhibited the proliferation of primary human bone marrow cells in culture, with a better proliferation recovery profile relative to classic antimitotic drug docetaxel. In vivo, AMG 900 significantly reduced tumor burden in a systemic MOLM-13 xenograft model where we demonstrate the utility of 3'-deoxy-3'-18F-fluorothymidine [18F]FLT positron emission tomographic (PET)-CT imaging to measure the antiproliferative effects of AMG 900 in skeletal tissues in mice.
Project description:Mitotic regulators exhibiting gain of function in tumor cells are considered useful cancer therapeutic targets for the development of small-molecule inhibitors. The human Aurora kinases are a family of such targets. In this study, from a panel of 105 potential small-molecule inhibitors, two compounds Tripolin A and Tripolin B, inhibited Aurora A kinase activity in vitro. In human cells however, only Tripolin A acted as an Aurora A inhibitor. We combined in vitro, in vivo single cell and in silico studies to demonstrate the biological action of Tripolin A, a non-ATP competitive inhibitor. Tripolin A reduced the localization of pAurora A on spindle microtubules (MTs), affected centrosome integrity, spindle formation and length, as well as MT dynamics in interphase, consistent with Aurora A inhibition by RNAi or other specific inhibitors, such as MLN8054 or MLN8237. Interestingly, Tripolin A affected the gradient distribution towards the chromosomes, but not the MT binding of HURP (Hepatoma Up-Regulated Protein), a MT-associated protein (MAP) and substrate of the Aurora A kinase. Therefore Tripolin A reveals a new way of regulating mitotic MT stabilizers through Aurora A phosphorylation. Tripolin A is predicted to bind Aurora A similarly but not identical to MLN8054, therefore it could be used to dissect pathways orchestrated by Aurora kinases as well as a scaffold for further inhibitor development.
Project description:The Aurora kinase family (Aurora A, B and C) are crucial regulators of several mitotic events, including cytokinesis. Increased expression of these kinases is associated with tumorigenesis and several compounds targeting Aurora kinase are under evaluation in clinical trials (a.o. AT9283, AZD1152, Danusertib, MLN8054). Here, we demonstrate that the pan-Aurora kinase inhibitor Tozasertib (VX-680 and MK-0457) not only causes cytokinesis defects through Aurora kinase inhibition, but is also a potent inhibitor of necroptosis, a cell death process regulated and executed by the RIPK1, RIPK3 and MLKL signalling axis. Tozasertib's potency to inhibit RIPK1-dependent necroptosis and to block cytokinesis in cells is in the same concentration range, with an IC50 of 1.06?µM and 0.554?µM, respectively. A structure activity relationship (SAR) analysis of 67 Tozasertib analogues, modified at 4 different positions, allowed the identification of analogues that showed increased specificity for either cytokinesis inhibition or for necroptosis inhibition, reflecting more specific inhibition of Aurora kinase or RIPK1, respectively. These results also suggested that RIPK1 and Aurora kinases are functionally non-interacting targets of Tozasertib and its analogues. Indeed, more specific Aurora kinase inhibitors did not show any effect in necroptosis and Necrostatin-1s treatment did not result in cytokinesis defects, demonstrating that both cellular processes are not interrelated. Finally, Tozasertib inhibited recombinant human RIPK1, human Aurora A and human Aurora B kinase activity, but not RIPK3. The potency ranking of the newly derived Tozasertib analogues and their specificity profile, as observed in cellular assays, coincide with ADP-Glo recombinant kinase activity assays. Overall, we show that Tozasertib not only targets Aurora kinases but also RIPK1 independently, and that we could generate analogues with increased selectivity to RIPK1 or Aurora kinases, respectively.
Project description:Uterine leiomyosarcoma (ULMS) is a poorly understood cancer with few effective treatments. This study explores the molecular events involved in ULMS with the goal of developing novel therapeutic strategies.Genome-wide transcriptional profiling, Western blotting, and real-time PCR were used to compare specimens of myometrium, leiomyoma, and leiomyosarcoma. Aurora A kinase was targeted in cell lines derived from metastatic ULMS using siRNA or MK-5108, a highly specific small-molecule inhibitor. An orthotopic model was used to evaluate the ability of MK-5108 to inhibit ULMS growth in vivo.We found that 26 of 50 gene products most overexpressed in ULMS regulate mitotic centrosome and spindle functions. These include UBE2C, Aurora A and B kinase, TPX2, and Polo-like kinase 1 (PLK1). Targeting Aurora A inhibited proliferation and induced apoptosis in LEIO285, LEIO505, and SK-LMS1, regardless of whether siRNA or MK-5108 was used. In vitro, MK-5108 did not consistently synergize with gemcitabine or docetaxel. Gavage of an orthotopic ULMS model with MK-5108 at 30 or 60 mg/kg decreased the number and size of tumor implants compared with sham-fed controls. Oral MK-5108 also decreased the rate of proliferation, increased intratumoral apoptosis, and increased expression of phospho-histone H3 in ULMS xenografts.Our results show that dysregulated centrosome function and spindle assembly are a robust feature of ULMS that can be targeted to slow its growth both in vitro and in vivo. These observations identify novel directions that can be potentially used to improve clinical outcomes for this disease.
Project description:Amplification of MYCN is a driver mutation in a subset of human neuroendocrine tumors, including neuroblastoma. No small molecules that target N-Myc, the protein encoded by MYCN, are clinically available. N-Myc forms a complex with the Aurora-A kinase, which protects N-Myc from proteasomal degradation. Although stabilization of N-Myc does not require the catalytic activity of Aurora-A, we show here that two Aurora-A inhibitors, MLN8054 and MLN8237, disrupt the Aurora-A/N-Myc complex and promote degradation of N-Myc mediated by the Fbxw7 ubiquitin ligase. Disruption of the Aurora-A/N-Myc complex inhibits N-Myc-dependent transcription, correlating with tumor regression and prolonged survival in a mouse model of MYCN-driven neuroblastoma. We conclude that Aurora-A is an accessible target that makes destabilization of N-Myc a viable therapeutic strategy.