Characterization of Potent SMAC Mimetics that Sensitize Cancer Cells to TNF Family-Induced Apoptosis.
ABSTRACT: Members of the Inhibitor of APoptosis (IAP) protein family suppress apoptosis within tumor cells, particularly in the context of immune cell-mediated killing by the tumor necrosis factor (TNF) superfamily cytokines. Most IAPs are opposed endogenously by the second mitochondrial activator of caspases (SMAC), which binds to selected baculovirus IAP repeat (BIR) domains of IAPs to displace interacting proteins. The development of SMAC mimetics as novel anticancer drugs has gained impetus, with several agents now in human clinical trials. To further understand the cellular mechanisms of SMAC mimetics, we focused on IAP family members cIAP1 and cIAP2, which are recruited to TNF receptor complexes where they support cell survival through NF-?B activation while suppressing apoptosis by preventing caspase activation. We established fluorescence polarization (FP) assays for the BIR2 and BIR3 domains of human cIAP1 and cIAP2 using fluorochrome-conjugated SMAC peptides as ligands. A library of SMAC mimetics was profiled using the FP assays to provide a unique structure activity relationship (SAR) analysis compared to previous assessments of binding to XIAP. Potent compounds displayed mean inhibitory binding constants (Ki) of 9 to 27 nM against the BIR3 domains of cIAP1 and cIAP2, respectively. Selected compounds were then characterized using cytotoxicity assays in which a cytokine-resistant human tumor cell line was sensitized to either TNF or lymphotoxin-? (LT-?). Cytotoxicity correlated closely with cIAP1 and cIAP2 BIR3 binding activity with the most potent compounds able to reduce cell viability by 50%. Further testing demonstrated that active compounds also inhibit RIP1 binding to BIR3 of cIAP1 and cIAP2 in vitro and reduce steady-state cIAP1 protein levels in cells. Altogether, these data inform the SAR for our SMAC mimetics with respect to cIAP1 and cIAP2, suggesting that these IAP family members play an important role in tumor cell resistance to cytotoxicity mediated by TNF and LT-?.
Project description:Inhibitor of apoptosis proteins (IAPs) are negative regulators of apoptosis. As IAPs are overexpressed in many tumors, where they confer chemoresistance, small molecules inactivating IAPs have been proposed as anticancer agents. Accordingly, a number of IAP-binding pro-apoptotic compounds that mimic the sequence corresponding to the N-terminal tetrapeptide of Smac/DIABLO, the natural endogenous IAPs inhibitor, have been developed. Here, we report the crystal structures of the BIR3 domain of cIAP1 in complex with Smac037, a Smac-mimetic known to bind potently to the XIAP-BIR3 domain and to induce degradation of cIAP1, and in complex with the novel Smac-mimetic compound Smac066. Thermal stability and fluorescence polarization assays show the stabilizing effect and the high affinity of both Smac037 and Smac066 for cIAP1- and cIAP2-BIR3 domains.
Project description:The inhibitor of apoptosis (IAP) proteins are important ubiquitin E3 ligases that regulate cell survival and oncogenesis. The cIAP1 and cIAP2 paralogs bear three N-terminal baculoviral IAP repeat (BIR) domains and a C-terminal E3 ligase RING domain. IAP antagonist compounds, also known as Smac mimetics, bind the BIR domains of IAPs and trigger rapid RING-dependent autoubiquitylation, but the mechanism is unknown. We show that RING dimerization is essential for the E3 ligase activity of cIAP1 and cIAP2 because monomeric RING mutants could not interact with the ubiquitin-charged E2 enzyme and were resistant to Smac mimetic-induced autoubiquitylation. Unexpectedly, the BIR domains inhibited cIAP1 RING dimerization, and cIAP1 existed predominantly as an inactive monomer. However, addition of either mono- or bivalent Smac mimetics relieved this inhibition, thereby allowing dimer formation and promoting E3 ligase activation. In contrast, the cIAP2 dimer was more stable, had higher intrinsic E3 ligase activity, and was not highly activated by Smac mimetics. These results explain how Smac mimetics promote rapid destruction of cIAP1 and suggest mechanisms for activating cIAP1 in other pathways.
Project description:The inhibitors of apoptosis (IAP) proteins cIAP1 and cIAP2 have recently emerged as key ubiquitin-E3 ligases regulating innate immunity and cell survival. Much of our knowledge of these IAPs stems from studies using pharmacological inhibitors of IAPs, dubbed Smac mimetics (SMs). Although SMs stimulate auto-ubiquitylation and degradation of cIAPs, little is known about the molecular determinants through which SMs activate the E3 activities of cIAPs. In this study, we find that SM-induced rapid degradation of cIAPs requires binding to tumour necrosis factor (TNF) receptor-associated factor 2 (TRAF2). Moreover, our data reveal an unexpected difference between cIAP1 and cIAP2. Although SM-induced degradation of cIAP1 does not require cIAP2, degradation of cIAP2 critically depends on the presence of cIAP1. In addition, degradation of cIAP2 also requires the ability of the cIAP2 RING finger to dimerise and to bind to E2s. This has important implications because SM-mediated degradation of cIAP1 causes non-canonical activation of NF-κB, which results in the induction of cIAP2 gene expression. In the absence of cIAP1, de novo synthesised cIAP2 is resistant to the SM and suppresses TNFα killing. Furthermore, the cIAP2-MALT1 oncogene, which lacks cIAP2's RING, is resistant to SM treatment. The identification of mechanisms through which cancer cells resist SM treatment will help to improve combination therapies aimed at enhancing treatment response.
Project description:Given their crucial role in apoptosis suppression, inhibitor of apoptosis proteins (IAPs) have recently become attractive targets for cancer therapy. Here, we report that cellular IAP2 (cIAP2) is specifically stabilized in several cancer cell lines, leading to resistance to Smac mimetics, such as BV6 and birinapant. In particular, our results showed that cIAP2 depletion, but not cIAP1 depletion, sensitized cancer cells to Smac mimetic-induced apoptosis. Ubiquitin-specific protease 11 (USP11) is a deubiquitylase that directly stabilizes cIAP2. USP11 overexpression is frequently found in colorectal cancer and melanoma and is correlated with poor survival. In our study, cancer cell lines expressing high levels of USP11 exhibited strong resistance to Smac mimetic-induced cIAP2 degradation. Furthermore, USP11 downregulation sensitized these cells to apoptosis induced by TRAIL and BV6 and suppressed tumor growth in a xenograft model. Finally, the TNF?/JNK pathway induced USP11 expression and maintained cIAP2 stability, suggesting an alternative TNF?-dependent cell survival pathway. Collectively, our data suggest that USP11-stabilized cIAP2 may serve as a barrier against IAP-targeted clinical approaches.
Project description:The estrogen receptor (ER) is a major prognostic and therapeutic marker that is expressed in nearly 75% of breast tumors. We have previously shown that the presence of inflammatory mediators can alter the genomic function of the estrogen receptor (ER) in a gene specific manner. In particular, 17?-estradiol (E2) works in combination with the pro-inflammatory cytokines to enhance the expression of a number of pro-survival factors, including the Inhibitor of Apoptosis (IAP) family member, cIAP2. Here we confirm that mRNA and protein levels for cIAP2, but not the related family members cIAP1 and XIAP, are highly up-regulated in MCF-7 breast cancer cells by E2 and cytokines. Similar regulation of cIAP2 is evident in other ER positive but not ER negative cell lines. In agreement with its role as a pro-survival factor, cIAP2 is highly expressed in a subset of invasive breast carcinomas but not in normal breast tissue or ductal carcinoma in situ. Antagonizing IAPs with mimetics of SMAC, which is a known endogenous IAP antagonist, or knockdown of IAPs by siRNA led to greater cell death by TNF? and prevented E2 from promoting cell survival. In addition, a SMAC mimetic reversed TNF? resistance in ER positive breast cancer cells that express high levels of endogenous IAPs. In summary, our findings indicate a new mechanism by which E2 allows breast cancer cells to evade cell death and suggest that an antagonist of IAPs may be a potential therapeutic option for a subset of ER positive breast tumors.
Project description:X-linked inhibitor of apoptosis (XIAP) is a potent negative regulator of apoptosis. It also plays a role in BMP signaling, TGF-beta signaling, and copper homeostasis. Previous structural studies have shown that the baculoviral IAP repeat (BIR2 and BIR3) domains of XIAP interact with the IAP-binding-motifs (IBM) in several apoptosis proteins such as Smac and caspase-9 via the conserved IBM-binding groove. Here, we report the crystal structure in two crystal forms of the BIR1 domain of XIAP, which does not possess this IBM-binding groove and cannot interact with Smac or caspase-9. Instead, the BIR1 domain forms a conserved dimer through the region corresponding to the IBM-binding groove. Structural and sequence analyses suggest that this dimerization of BIR1 in XIAP may be conserved in other IAP family members such as cIAP1 and cIAP2 and may be important for the action of XIAP in TGF-beta and BMP signaling and the action of cIAP1 and cIAP2 in TNF receptor signaling.
Project description:Apoptosis resistance worsens treatment response in cancer and is associated with poor prognosis. Inhibition of anti-apoptotic proteins can restore cell death and improve treatment efficacy. cIAP1, cIAP2, and XIAP belong to the inhibitor of apoptosis protein (IAP) family and block apoptosis. Targeting IAPs with peptides or peptidomimetics mimicking the IAP-antagonizing activity of the cell's endogenous IAP antagonist SMAC (SMAC mimetics) showed promising results and fueled development of novel compounds. ASTX660 belongs to the recently introduced class of non-peptidomimetic IAP antagonists and successfully completed phase I clinical trials. However, ASTX660 has thus far only been evaluated in few cancer entities. Here, we demonstrate that ASTX660 has cell death-promoting activity in colorectal cancer and provide a head-to-head comparison with birinapant, the clinically most advanced peptidomimetic IAP antagonist. ASTX660 facilitates activation of the extrinsic apoptosis pathway upon stimulation with the death ligands TNF and TRAIL and boosts effector caspase activation and subsequent apoptosis. Mechanistically, ASTX660 enhances amplification of death receptor-generated apoptotic signals in a mitochondria-dependent manner. Failure to activate the mitochondria-associated (intrinsic) apoptosis pathway attenuated the apoptosis-promoting effect of ASTX660. Further clinical studies are warranted to highlight the therapeutic potential of ASTX660 in colorectal cancer.
Project description:A series of compounds were designed and synthesized as antagonists of cIAP1/2, ML-IAP, and XIAP based on the N-terminus, AVPI, of mature Smac. Compound 1 (GDC-0152) has the best profile of these compounds; it binds to the XIAP BIR3 domain, the BIR domain of ML-IAP, and the BIR3 domains of cIAP1 and cIAP2 with K(i) values of 28, 14, 17, and 43 nM, respectively. These compounds promote degradation of cIAP1, induce activation of caspase-3/7, and lead to decreased viability of breast cancer cells without affecting normal mammary epithelial cells. Compound 1 inhibits tumor growth when dosed orally in the MDA-MB-231 breast cancer xenograft model. Compound 1 was advanced to human clinical trials, and it exhibited linear pharmacokinetics over the dose range (0.049 to 1.48 mg/kg) tested. Mean plasma clearance in humans was 9 ± 3 mL/min/kg, and the volume of distribution was 0.6 ± 0.2 L/kg.
Project description:Genetic alterations enhancing cell survival and suppressing apoptosis are hallmarks of cancer that significantly reduce the efficacy of chemotherapy or radiotherapy. The Inhibitor of Apoptosis Protein (IAP) family hosts conserved proteins in the apoptotic pathway whose over-expression, frequently found in tumours, potentiates survival and resistance to anticancer agents. In humans, IAPs comprise eight members hosting one or more structural Baculoviral IAP Repeat (BIR) domains. Cellular IAPs (cIAP1 and 2) indirectly inhibit caspase-8 activation, and regulate both the canonical and the non-canonical NF-?B signaling pathways. In contrast to cIAPs, XIAP (X chromosome-linked Inhibitor of Apoptosis Protein) inhibits directly the effector caspases-3 and -7 through its BIR2 domain, and initiator caspase-9 through its BIR3 domain; molecular docking studies suggested that Smac/DIABLO antagonizes XIAP by simultaneously targeting both BIR2 and BIR3 domains. Here we report analytical gel filtration, crystallographic and SAXS experiments on cIAP1-BIR3, XIAP-BIR3 and XIAP-BIR2BIR3 domains, alone and in the presence of compound 9a, a divalent homodimeric Smac mimetic. 9a is shown to bind two BIR domains inter- (in the case of two BIR3) and intra-molecularly (in the case of XIAP-BIR2BIR3), with higher affinity for cIAP1-BIR3, relative to XIAP-BIR3. Despite the different crystal lattice packing, 9a maintains a right handed helical conformation in both cIAP1-BIR3 and XIAP-BIR3 crystals, that is likely conserved in solution as shown by SAXS data. Our structural results demonstrate that the 9a linker length, its conformational degrees of freedom and its hydrophobicity, warrant an overall compact structure with optimal solvent exposure of its two active moieties for IAPs binding. Our results show that 9a is a good candidate for pre-clinical and clinical studies, worth of further investigations in the field of cancer therapy.
Project description:Cellular inhibitor of apoptosis protein 1 and 2 (cIAP1/2) and X-linked inhibitor of apoptosis protein (XIAP) are key apoptosis regulators and promising new cancer therapeutic targets. This study describes a set of non-peptide, small-molecule Smac (second mitochondria-derived activator of caspases) mimetics that are selective inhibitors of cIAP1/2 over XIAP. The most potent and most selective compounds bind to cIAP1/2 with affinities in the low nanomolar range and show >1,000-fold selectivity for cIAP1 over XIAP. These selective cIAP inhibitors effectively induce degradation of the cIAP1 protein in cancer cells at low nanomolar concentrations and do not antagonize XIAP in a cell-free functional assay. They potently inhibit cell growth and effectively induce apoptosis at low nanomolar concentrations in cancer cells with a mechanism of action similar to that of other known Smac mimetics. Our study shows that binding of Smac mimetics to XIAP BIR3 is not required for effective induction of apoptosis in tumor cells by Smac mimetics. These potent and highly selective cIAP1/2 inhibitors are powerful tools in the investigation of the role of these IAP proteins in the regulation of apoptosis and other cellular processes.