Project description:Imipridones constitute a novel class of antitumor agents. Here, we report that a second-generation imipridone, ONC212, possesses highly increased antitumor activity compared to the first-generation compound ONC201. In vitro studies using human acute myeloid leukemia (AML) cell lines, primary AML, and normal bone marrow (BM) samples demonstrate that ONC212 exerts prominent apoptogenic effects in AML, but not in normal BM cells, suggesting potential clinical utility. Imipridones putatively engage G protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs) and/or trigger an integrated stress response in hematopoietic tumor cells. Comprehensive GPCR screening identified ONC212 as activator of an orphan GPCR GPR132 and G?q signaling, which functions as a tumor suppressor. Heterozygous knock-out of GPR132 decreased the antileukemic effects of ONC212. ONC212 induced apoptogenic effects through the induction of an integrated stress response, and reduced MCL-1 expression, a known resistance factor for BCL-2 inhibition by ABT-199. Oral administration of ONC212 inhibited AML growth in vivo and improved overall survival in xenografted mice. Moreover, ONC212 abrogated the engraftment capacity of patient-derived AML cells in an NSG PDX model, suggesting potential eradication of AML initiating cells, and was highly synergistic in combination with ABT-199. Collectively, our results suggest ONC212 as a novel therapeutic agent for AML.
Project description:Systematic genetic interaction profiles can reveal the mechanisms-of-action of bioactive compounds. The imipridone ONC201, which is currently in cancer clinical trials, has been ascribed a variety of different targets. To investigate the genetic dependencies of imipridone action, we screened a genome-wide clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeats (CRISPR) knockout library in the presence of either ONC201 or its more potent analog ONC212. Loss of the mitochondrial matrix protease CLPP or the mitochondrial intermediate peptidase MIPEP conferred strong resistance to both compounds. Biochemical and surrogate genetic assays showed that impridones directly activate CLPP and that MIPEP is necessary for proteolytic maturation of CLPP into a catalytically competent form. Quantitative proteomic analysis of cells treated with ONC212 revealed degradation of many mitochondrial as well as nonmitochondrial proteins. Prompted by the conservation of ClpP from bacteria to humans, we found that the imipridones also activate ClpP from Escherichia coli, Bacillus subtilis, and Staphylococcus aureus in biochemical and genetic assays. ONC212 and acyldepsipeptide-4 (ADEP4), a known activator of bacterial ClpP, caused similar proteome-wide degradation profiles in S. aureus ONC212 suppressed the proliferation of a number of Gram-positive (S. aureus, B. subtilis, and Enterococcus faecium) and Gram-negative species (E. coli and Neisseria gonorrhoeae). Moreover, ONC212 enhanced the ability of rifampin to eradicate antibiotic-tolerant S. aureus persister cells. These results reveal the genetic dependencies of imipridone action in human cells and identify the imipridone scaffold as a new entry point for antibiotic development.
Project description:Anti-cancer small molecule ONC201 upregulates the integrated stress response (ISR) and acts as a dual inactivator of Akt/ERK, leading to TRAIL gene activation. ONC201 is under investigation in multiple clinical trials to treat patients with cancer. Given the unique imipridone core chemical structure of ONC201, we synthesized a series of analogs to identify additional compounds with distinct therapeutic properties. Several imipridones with a broad range of in vitro potencies were identified in an exploration of chemical derivatives. Based on in vitro potency in human cancer cell lines and lack of toxicity to normal human fibroblasts, imipridones ONC206 and ONC212 were prioritized for further study. Both analogs inhibited colony formation, and induced apoptosis and downstream signaling that involves the integrated stress response and Akt/ERK, similar to ONC201. Compared to ONC201, ONC206 demonstrated improved inhibition of cell migration while ONC212 exhibited rapid kinetics of activity. ONC212 was further tested in >1000 human cancer cell lines in vitro and evaluated for safety and anti-tumor efficacy in vivo. ONC212 exhibited broad-spectrum efficacy at nanomolar concentrations across solid tumors and hematological malignancies. Skin cancer emerged as a tumor type with improved efficacy relative to ONC201. Orally administered ONC212 displayed potent anti-tumor effects in vivo, a broad therapeutic window and a favorable PK profile. ONC212 was efficacious in vivo in BRAF V600E melanoma models that are less sensitive to ONC201. Based on these findings, ONC212 warrants further development as a drug candidate. It is clear that therapeutic utility extends beyond ONC201 to include additional imipridones.
Project description:Pancreatic cancer is chemo-resistant and metastasizes early with an overall five-year survival of ?8.2%. First-in-class imipridone ONC201 is a small molecule in clinical trials with anti-cancer activity. ONC212, a fluorinated-ONC201 analogue, shows preclinical efficacy in melanoma and hepatocellular-cancer models. We investigated efficacy of ONC201 and ONC212 against pancreatic cancer cell lines (N=16 including 9 PDX-cell lines). We demonstrate ONC212 efficacy in 4 in-vivo models including ONC201-resistant tumors. ONC212 is active in pancreatic cancer as single agent or in combination with 5-fluorouracil, irinotecan, oxaliplatin or RTK inhibitor crizotinib. Based on upregulation of pro-survival IGF1-R in some tumors, we found an active combination of ONC212 with inhibitor AG1024, including in vivo. We show a rationale for targeting pancreatic cancer using ONC212 combined with targeting the unfolded-protein response and ER chaperones such as GRP78/BIP. Our results lay the foundation to test imipridones, anti-cancer agents, in pancreatic cancer, that is refractory to most drugs.
Project description:Systematic genetic interaction profiles can reveal the mechanism-of-action of bioactive compounds. The imipridone ONC201, which is currently in cancer clinical trials, has been ascribed a variety of different targets. To investigate the genetic dependencies of imipridone action, we screened a genome-wide CRISPR knockout library in the presence of either ONC201 or its more potent analog ONC212. Loss of the mitochondrial matrix protease CLPP or the mitochondrial intermediate peptidase MIPEP conferred strong resistance to both compounds. Biochemical and surrogate genetic assays showed that impridones directly activate CLPP and that MIPEP is necessary for proteolytic maturation of CLPP into a catalytically competent form. Quantitative proteomic analysis of cells treated with ONC212 revealed degradation of many mitochondrial as well as non-mitochondrial proteins. Prompted by the conservation of ClpP from bacteria to humans, we found that the imipridones also activate ClpP from Escherichia coli, B. subtilis and Staphylococcus aureus in biochemical and genetic assays. ONC212 and acyldepsipeptide (ADEP)-4, a known activator of bacterial ClpP, caused similar proteome-wide degradation profiles in S. aureus. ONC212 suppressed the proliferation of a number of Gram-positive (S. aureus, B. subtilis, Enterococcus faecium) and Gram-negative species (E. coli, Neisseria gonorrhoeae). Moreover, ONC212 enhanced the ability of rifampin to eradicate antibiotic-tolerant S. aureus persister cells. These results reveal the genetic dependencies of imipridone action in human cells and identify the imipridone scaffold as a new entry point for antibiotic development. Overall design: Nalm-6 cells infected with the EKO sgRNA library (Bertomeu et al. 2017, PMID:29038160), after 7 days of Cas9 induction with doxycycline, were exposed to either 150nM ONC212, 10uM ONC201/TIC10 or media only for 8 days. sgRNA abundance was then assessed by high-throughput sequencing. Cells exposed to media only for two days served as controls.
Project description:Glioblastoma multiforme (GBM) is the most lethal brain tumor. Tumor relapse in GBM is inevitable despite maximal therapeutic interventions. Glioma stem cells (GSCs) have been found to be critical players in therapeutic resistance and tumor recurrence. Therapeutic drugs targeting GSCs may significantly improve GBM treatment. In this study, we demonstrated that arsenic trioxide (As2O3) effectively disrupted GSCs and inhibited tumor growth in the GSC-derived orthotopic xenografts by targeting the promyelocytic leukaemia (PML). As2O3 treatment induced rapid degradation of PML protein along with severe apoptosis in GSCs. Disruption of the endogenous PML recapitulated the inhibitory effects of As2O3 treatment on GSCs both in vitro and in orthotopic tumors. Importantly, As2O3 treatment dramatically reduced GSC population in the intracranial GBM xenografts and increased the survival of mice bearing the tumors. In addition, As2O3 treatment preferentially inhibited cell growth of GSCs but not matched non-stem tumor cells (NSTCs). Furthermore, As2O3 treatment or PML disruption potently diminished c-Myc protein levels through increased poly-ubiquitination and proteasome degradation of c-Myc. Our study indicated a potential implication of As2O3 in GBM treatment and highlighted the important role of PML/c-Myc axis in the maintenance of GSCs.
Project description:Ectopic activation of the conserved ClpP protease by chemical activators causes toxicity in bacteria and human cells due to unrestrained proteolysis. The imipridone ONC201 has been ascribed multiple mechanisms of action and is currently in cancer clinical trials. To systematically investigate the genetic dependencies of imipridone action, we screened a genome-wide CRISPR knockout library in the presence of ONC201 and its more potent analog ONC212. Loss of the mitochondrial matrix protease CLPP conferred strong resistance to both compounds, consistent with recent reports that ONC201 directly activates CLPP in cancer cells. Biochemical assays and surrogate genetic assays in yeast confirmed activation of CLPP in the absence of its regulatory subunits. Imipridone toxicity was bypassed by loss of only one other gene, the mitochondrial intermediate peptidase MIPEP, which we showed is necessary for proteolytic maturation of a CLPP precursor form. Quantitative proteomic analysis of cells treated with ONC212 revealed degradation of many mitochondrial proteins as well as cell cycle regulators. Prompted by the conservation of ClpP across kingdoms, we showed that the imipridones activate Escherichia coli ClpP in vitro and Staphylococcus aureus ClpP in a surrogate yeast assay. ONC212 and acyldepsipeptide (ADEP)-4, a known activator of bacterial ClpP, caused similar proteomic degradation profiles in S. aureus. ONC212 suppressed the proliferation of a number of Gram-positive (S. aureus, Bacillus subtilis, Enterococcus faecium) and Gram-negative species (E. coli, Neisseria gonorrhoeae). Moreover, a combination of ONC212 and rifampicin eradicated antibiotic-tolerant S. aureus persister cells. These results reveal the genetic dependencies of imipridone action in human cells and identify the imipridone scaffold as a new entry point for antibiotic development.
Project description:Brain tumor xenografts initiated from human glioblastoma (GBM) stem-like cells (TSC) simulate the biological characteristics of GBMs in situ. Therefore, to determine whether the brain microenvironment affects the intrinsic radiosensitivity of GBM cells, we compared the radioresponse of GBM TSCs grown in vitro and as brain tumor xenografts.As indicators of DNA double-strand breaks (DSB), ?H2AX, and 53BP1 foci were defined after irradiation of 2 GBM TSC lines grown in vitro and as orthotopic xenografts in nude mice. Microarray analysis was conducted to compare gene expression patterns under each growth condition.Dispersal of radiation-induced ?H2AX and 53BP1 foci was faster in the tumor cells grown as orthotopic xenografts compared with cells irradiated in vitro. In addition, cells irradiated in vivo were approximately 3-fold less susceptible to foci induction as compared with cells grown in vitro. Microarray analysis revealed a significant number of genes whose expression was commonly affected in the 2 GBM models by orthotopic growth conditions. Consistent with the decrease in sensitivity to foci induction, genes related to reactive oxygen species (ROS) metabolism were expressed at higher levels in the brain tumor xenografts.?H2AX and 53BP1 foci analyses indicate that GBM cells irradiated within orthotopic xenografts have a greater capacity to repair DSBs and are less susceptible to their induction than tumor cells irradiated under in vitro growth conditions. Because DSB induction and repair are critical determinants of radiosensitivity, these results imply that the brain microenvironment contributes to GBM radioresistance.
Project description:The clinicopathological heterogeneity of glioblastoma (GBM) and the various genetic and phenotypic subtypes in GBM stem cells (GSCs) are well described. However, the relationship between GSCs and the corresponding primary tumor from which they were isolated is poorly understood. We have established GSC-enriched neurosphere cultures from 15 newly diagnosed GBM specimens and examined the relationship between the histopathological and genomic features of GSC-derived orthotopic xenografts and those of the respective patient tumors. GSC-initiated xenografts recapitulate the distinctive cytological hallmarks and diverse histological variants associated with the corresponding patient GBM, including giant cell and gemistocytic GBM, and primitive neuroectodermal tumor (PNET)-like components. This indicates that GSCs generate tumors that preserve patient-specific disease phenotypes. The majority of GSC-derived intracerebral xenografts (11 of 15) demonstrated a highly invasive behavior crossing the midline, whereas the remainder formed discrete nodular and vascular masses. In some cases, GSC invasiveness correlated with preoperative MRI, but not with the status of PI3-kinase/Akt pathways or O(6)-methylguanine methyltransferase expression. Genome-wide screening by array comparative genomic hybridization and fluorescence in situ hybridization revealed that GSCs harbor unique genetic copy number aberrations. GSCs acquiring amplifications of the myc family genes represent only a minority of tumor cells within the original patient tumors. Thus, GSCs are a genetically distinct subpopulation of neoplastic cells within a GBM. These studies highlight the value of GSCs for preclinical modeling of clinically relevant, patient-specific GBM and, thus, pave the way for testing novel anti-GSC/GBM agents for personalized therapy.
Project description:The blood-brain barrier (BBB) is necessary for maintaining brain homeostasis, but it also represents a major challenge for drug delivery to the brain tumors. A suitable in vivo Glioblastoma Multiforme (GBM) model is needed for efficient testing of BBB crossable pharmaceuticals. In this study, we firstly confirmed the BBB functionality in 3dpf zebrafish embryos by Lucifer Yellow, Evans Blue and DAPI microinjection. We then transplanted human GBM tumor cells into the zebrafish brain, in which implanted GBM cells (U87 and U251) were highly mitotic and invasive, mimicking their malignancy features in rodents' brain. Interestingly, we found that, although extensive endothelial proliferation and vessel dilation were observed in GBM xenografts, the BBB was still not disturbed. Next, using the zebrafish orthotopic GBM xenograft model as an in vivo visual readout, we successfully identified a promising small compound named TNB, which could efficiently cross the zebrafish BBB and inhibit the progression of orthotopic GBM xenografts. These results indicate that TNB is a promising BBB crossable GBM drug worth to be further characterized in human BBB setting, also suggest the zebrafish orthotopic GBM model as an efficient visual readout for the BBB penetrating anti-GBM drugs.