A unique inhibitor binding site in ERK1/2 is associated with slow binding kinetics.
ABSTRACT: 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.
Project description:Recent discoveries have highlighted the importance of Haspin kinase activity for the correct positioning of the kinase Aurora B at the centromere. Haspin phosphorylates Thr(3) of the histone H3 (H3), which provides a signal for Aurora B to localize to the centromere of mitotic chromosomes. To date, histone H3 is the only confirmed Haspin substrate. We used a combination of biochemical, pharmacological, and mass spectrometric approaches to study the consequences of Haspin inhibition in mitotic cells. We quantified 3964 phosphorylation sites on chromatin-associated proteins and identified a Haspin protein-protein interaction network. We determined the Haspin consensus motif and the co-crystal structure of the kinase with the histone H3 tail. The structure revealed a unique bent substrate binding mode positioning the histone H3 residues Arg(2) and Lys(4) adjacent to the Haspin phosphorylated threonine into acidic binding pockets. This unique conformation of the kinase-substrate complex explains the reported modulation of Haspin activity by methylation of Lys(4) of the histone H3. In addition, the identification of the structural basis of substrate recognition and the amino acid sequence preferences of Haspin aided the identification of novel candidate Haspin substrates. In particular, we validated the phosphorylation of Ser(137) of the histone variant macroH2A as a target of Haspin kinase activity. MacroH2A Ser(137) resides in a basic stretch of about 40 amino acids that is required to stabilize extranucleosomal DNA, suggesting that phosphorylation of Ser(137) might regulate the interactions of macroH2A and DNA. Overall, our data suggest that Haspin activity affects the phosphorylation state of proteins involved in gene expression regulation and splicing.
Project description:Based on the elastic network model, we develop a new analysis for protein complexes, which probes the local dynamics of a subsystem that is elastically coupled to a fluctuating environment. This method is applied to a comparative dynamical analysis of the nucleotide-binding pocket of two motor proteins-myosins and kinesins. In myosins, the observed structural changes in the nucleotide-pocket from the transition state to the rigorlike state are dominated by the lowest normal mode that involves significant movements in both switch I and switch II; in kinesins, the measured conformational changes in the nucleotide-pocket are also dominated by the lowest mode, which, however, only involves large movement in switch I. We then compute the global structural changes induced by the nucleotide-pocket deformations as described by the dominant pocket-mode, which yield encouraging results: in myosins, multiple hinge motions involving the opening/closing of the cleft between the upper and lower 50 -kDa subdomains and the swinging movement of the converter are induced, which are dominated by precisely the same global mode that has been recently identified by us as important to the dynamical correlations among the nucleotide-pocket, the actin-binding site, and the converter; in kinesins, the induced global conformational changes are well described by a highly collective global mode which hints for a dynamical pathway spanning from the nucleotide-pocket to the neck-linker via the H6 helix.
Project description:The extracellular signal-regulated protein kinase (ERK) and Jun N-terminal kinase (JNK) signalling cascades transduce signals from the cell cytoplasm to the nucleus, where they regulate gene expression. The activation of ERK1 by lysophosphatidic acid (LPA) and endothelin 1 (Et-1) was compared in Rat-1 cells. Both stimulated DNA synthesis to a similar degree but, in contrast with LPA, Et-1 did not stimulate sustained ERK1 activation, a signal that is thought to be important for the proliferation of fibroblasts. Et-1, but not LPA, was able to activate JNK1; pharmacological analysis revealed that the same EtA receptor mediates DNA synthesis, ERK1 and JNK1 activation. However, activation of JNK1 required higher concentrations of Et-1 than was required for stimulation of ERK1 or DNA synthesis. Signalling to ERK1 and JNK1 was partly inhibited by pertussis toxin, suggesting that both pathways are regulated in part by Gi or G0 proteins. Activation of JNK1 by Et-1 lagged behind ERK1 activation but was not dependent on it because PD98059, an inhibitor of mitogen-activated protein kinase (or ERK) kinase, was without effect on JNK1 activation. In contrast with recent studies, activation of protein kinase C (PKC) or Ca2+ fluxes inhibited activation of JNK1 but not ERK1; furthermore inhibition of PKC or sequestration of Ca2+ potentiated JNK1 activation by Et-1 but not by anisomycin, and again had little effect on ERK1 activation. These results demonstrate that the same G-protein-coupled receptor can activate both the ERK and JNK signal pathways but the two kinase cascades seem to be separate, parallel pathways that are differentially regulated by PKC and Ca2+. The results are discussed in terms of the role of ERK and JNK in proliferative signalling.
Project description:In melanoma, dysregulation of the MAPK pathway, usually via BRAF(V600) or NRAS(Q61) somatic mutations, leads to constitutive ERK signaling. While BRAF inhibitors are initially effective for BRAF-mutant melanoma, no FDA-approved targeted therapies exist for BRAF-inhibitor-resistant BRAF(V600), NRAS mutant, or wild-type melanoma.The 50% inhibitory concentration (IC50) of SCH772984, a novel inhibitor of ERK1/2, was determined in a panel of 50 melanoma cell lines. Effects on MAPK and AKT signaling by western blotting and cell cycle by flow cytometry were determined.Sensitivity fell into three groups: sensitive, 50% inhibitory concentration (IC50) < 1 ?M; intermediately sensitive, IC50 1-2 ?M; and resistant, >2 ?M. Fifteen of 21 (71%) BRAF mutants, including 4 with innate vemurafenib resistance, were sensitive to SCH772984. All three (100%) BRAF/NRAS double mutants, 11 of 14 (78%) NRAS mutants and 5 of 7 (71%) wild-type melanomas were sensitive. Among BRAF(V600) mutants with in vitro acquired resistance to vemurafenib, those with MAPK pathway reactivation as the mechanism of resistance were sensitive to SCH772984. SCH772984 caused G1 arrest and induced apoptosis.Combining vemurafenib and SCH722984 in BRAF mutant melanoma was synergistic in a majority of cell lines and significantly delayed the onset of acquired resistance in long term in vitro assays. Therefore, SCH772984 may be clinically applicable as a treatment for non-BRAF mutant melanoma or in BRAF-mutant melanoma with innate or acquired resistance, alone or in combination with BRAF inhibitors.
Project description:Targeting epigenetic changes in gene expression in cancer cells may offer new strategies for the development of selective cancer therapies. In the present study, we investigated coumestrol, a natural compound exhibiting broad anti-cancer effects against skin melanoma, lung cancer and colon cancer cell growth. Haspin kinase was identified as a direct target protein of coumestrol using kinase profiling analysis. Histone H3 is a direct substrate of haspin kinase. We observed haspin kinase overexpression as well as greater phosphorylation of histone H3 at threonine 3 (Thr-3) in the cancer cells compared to normal cells. Computer modeling using the Schrödinger Suite program identified the binding interface within the ATP binding site. These findings suggest that the anti-cancer effect of coumestrol is due to the direct targeting of haspin kinase. Coumestrol has considerable potential for further development as a novel anti-cancer agent.
Project description:Methionyl-tRNA synthetase (MetRS) is a chemically validated drug target in kinetoplastid parasites Trypanosoma brucei and Leishmania donovani. To date, all kinetoplastid MetRS inhibitors described bind in a similar way to an expanded methionine pocket and an adjacent, auxiliary pocket. In the current study, we have identified a structurally novel class of inhibitors containing a 4,6-diamino-substituted pyrazolopyrimidine core (the MetRS02 series). Crystallographic studies revealed that MetRS02 compounds bind to an allosteric pocket in L. major MetRS not previously described, and enzymatic studies demonstrated a noncompetitive mode of inhibition. Homology modeling of the Trypanosoma cruzi MetRS enzyme revealed key differences in the allosteric pocket between the T. cruzi and Leishmania enzymes. These provide a likely explanation for the lower MetRS02 potencies that we observed for the T. cruzi enzyme compared to the Leishmania enzyme. The identification of a new series of MetRS inhibitors and the discovery of a new binding site in kinetoplastid MetRS enzymes provide a novel strategy in the search for new therapeutics for kinetoplastid diseases.
Project description:Monanchoxymycalin C (MomC) is a new marine pentacyclic guanidine alkaloid, recently isolated from marine sponge Monanchora pulchra by us. Here, anticancer activity and mechanism of action was investigated for the first time using a human prostate cancer (PCa) model. MomC was active in all PCa cell lines at low micromolar concentrations and induced an unusual caspase-independent, non-apoptotic cell death. Kinase activity screening identified activation of mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) c-Jun N-terminal protein kinase (JNK1/2) to be one of the primary molecular mechanism of MomC anticancer activity. Functional assays demonstrated a specific and selective JNK1/2 activation prior to the induction of other cell death related processes. Inhibition of JNK1/2 by pretreatment with the JNK-inhibitor SP600125 antagonized cytotoxic activity of the marine compound. MomC caused an upregulation of cytotoxic ROS. However, in contrast to other ROS-inducing agents, co-treatment with PARP-inhibitor olaparib revealed antagonistic effects indicating an active PARP to be necessary for MomC activity. Interestingly, although no direct regulation of p38 and ERK1/2 were detected, active p38 kinase was required for MomC efficacy, while the inhibition of ERK1/2 increased its cytotoxicity. In conclusion, MomC shows promising activity against PCa, which is exerted via JNK1/2 activation and non-apoptotic cell death.
Project description:Sister-chromatid cohesion mediated by the cohesin complex is fundamental for precise chromosome segregation in mitosis. Through binding the cohesin subunit Pds5, Wapl releases the bulk of cohesin from chromosome arms in prophase, whereas centromeric cohesin is protected from Wapl until anaphase onset. Strong centromere cohesion requires centromeric localization of the mitotic histone kinase Haspin, which is dependent on the interaction of its non-catalytic N-terminus with Pds5B. It remains unclear how Haspin fully blocks the Wapl-Pds5B interaction at centromeres. Here, we show that the C-terminal kinase domain of Haspin (Haspin-KD) binds and phosphorylates the YSR motif of Wapl (Wapl-YSR), thereby directly inhibiting the YSR motif-dependent interaction of Wapl with Pds5B. Cells expressing a Wapl-binding-deficient mutant of Haspin or treated with Haspin inhibitors show centromeric cohesion defects. Phospho-mimetic mutation in Wapl-YSR prevents Wapl from binding Pds5B and releasing cohesin. Forced targeting Haspin-KD to centromeres partly bypasses the need for Haspin-Pds5B interaction in cohesion protection. Taken together, these results indicate a kinase-dependent role for Haspin in antagonizing Wapl and protecting centromeric cohesion in mitosis.
Project description:Due to their role in cellular signaling mitogen activated protein (MAP) kinases represent targets of pharmaceutical interest. However, the majority of known MAP kinase inhibitors compete with cellular ATP and target an ATP binding pocket that is highly conserved in the 500 plus representatives of the human protein kinase family. Here we review progress toward the development of non-ATP competitive MAP kinase inhibitors for the extracellular signal regulated kinases (ERK1/2), the c-jun N-terminal kinases (JNK1/2/3) and the p38 MAPKs (?, ?, ?, and ?). Special emphasis is placed on the role of computational methods in the drug discovery process for MAP kinases. Topics include recent advances in X-ray crystallography theory that improve the MAP kinase structures essential to structurebased drug discovery, the use of molecular dynamics to understand the conformational heterogeneity of the activation loop and inhibitors discovered by virtual screening. The impact of an advanced polarizable force field such as AMOEBA used in conjunction with sophisticated kinetic and thermodynamic simulation methods is also discussed.
Project description:Tumor necrosis factor ? (TNF-?) induces the expression and secretion of interleukin 8 (IL-8), which contributes to synovitis in rheumatoid arthritis (RA). To elucidate the mechanism of the onset of RA, we used synovial fibroblasts without autoimmune inflammatory diseases and investigated MAPK signaling pathways in TNF-?-induced IL-8 expression. Synovial fibroblasts isolated from healthy dogs were characterized by flow cytometry, which were positive for the fibroblast markers CD29, CD44, and CD90 but negative for the hematopoietic cell markers CD14, CD34, CD45, and HLA-DR. TNF-? stimulated the secretion and mRNA expression of IL-8 in a time- and dose-dependent manner. ERK and JNK inhibitors attenuated TNF-?-induced IL-8 expression and secretion. TNF-? induced the phosphorylation of ERK1/2 and JNK1/2. TNF-?-induced IL-8 expression was attenuated both in ERK2- and JNK1-knockdown cells. TNF-?-induced ERK1/2 or JNK1/2 was observed in ERK2- or JNK1-knockdown cells, respectively, showing that there is no crosstalk between ERK2 and JNK1 pathways. These observations indicate that the individual activation of ERK2 and JNK1 pathways contributes to TNF-?-induced IL-8 expression in synovial fibroblasts, which appears to be involved in the progress in RA.