Targeting Pim Kinases and DAPK3 to Control Hypertension.
ABSTRACT: Sustained vascular smooth muscle hypercontractility promotes hypertension and cardiovascular disease. The etiology of hypercontractility is not completely understood. New therapeutic targets remain vitally important for drug discovery. Here we report that Pim kinases, in combination with DAPK3, regulate contractility and control hypertension. Using a co-crystal structure of lead molecule (HS38) in complex with DAPK3, a dual Pim/DAPK3 inhibitor (HS56) and selective DAPK3 inhibitors (HS94 and HS148) were developed to provide mechanistic insight into the polypharmacology of hypertension. In vitro and ex vivo studies indicated that Pim kinases directly phosphorylate smooth muscle targets and that Pim/DAPK3 inhibition, unlike selective DAPK3 inhibition, significantly reduces contractility. In vivo, HS56 decreased blood pressure in spontaneously hypertensive mice in a dose-dependent manner without affecting heart rate. These findings suggest including Pim kinase inhibition within a multi-target engagement strategy for hypertension management. HS56 represents a significant step in the development of molecularly targeted antihypertensive medications.
Project description:Increasing incidence coupled with poor prognosis and treatments that are virtually unchanged over the past 20 years have made the need for the development of novel therapeutics for hepatoblastoma imperative. PIM kinases have been implicated as drivers of tumorigenesis in multiple cancers, including hepatocellular carcinoma. We hypothesized that PIM kinases, specifically PIM3, would play a role in hepatoblastoma tumorigenesis and that PIM kinase inhibition would affect hepatoblastoma in vitro and in vivo. Parameters including cell survival, proliferation, motility, and apoptosis were assessed in human hepatoblastoma cells following PIM3 knockdown with siRNA or treatment with the PIM inhibitor AZD1208. An in vivo model of human hepatoblastoma was utilized to study the effects of PIM inhibition alone and in combination with cisplatin. PIM kinases were found to be present in the human hepatoblastoma cell line, HuH6, and in a human hepatoblastoma patient-derived xenograft, COA67. PIM3 knockdown or inhibition with AZD1208 decreased cell survival, attachment independent growth, and motility. Additionally, inhibition of tumor growth was observed in a hepatoblastoma xenograft model in mice treated with AZD1208. Combination therapy with AZD1208 and cisplatin resulted in a significant increase in animal survival when compared to either treatment alone. The current studies showed that PIM kinase inhibition decreased human hepatoblastoma tumorigenicity both in vitro and in vivo, implying that PIM inhibitors may be useful as a novel therapeutic for children with hepatoblastoma.
Project description:The PIM family of proteins encodes serine/threonine kinases with important roles in protein synthesis and cancer cell metabolism. In glioblastoma (GBM) cell lines, siRNA-mediated knockdown of PIM kinases or pharmacological inhibition of PIM kinases by SGI-1776 or AZD-1208 results in reduced phosphorylation of classic PIM effectors and also elements of the PI3K/mTOR pathway, suggesting interplay between PIM and mTOR signals in GBM cells. Combination of PIM kinase inhibitors with BYL-719, an inhibitor specific for the PI3K catalytic isoform p110?, results in enhanced antineoplastic effects in GBM cells. Additionally, pharmacologic inhibition of PIM kinases impairs growth of patient-derived glioma sphere cells, suggesting an important role for PIM kinases in cancer stem cell (CSC) function and survival. Such effects are further enhanced by concomitant inhibition of PIM kinase and p110? activities. Altogether these findings suggest that pharmacological PIM targeting in combination with PI3K inhibition may provide a unique therapeutic approach for the treatment of heterogeneous tumors containing populations of therapy-resistant CSCs in GBM.
Project description:Resistance to chemotherapy represents a major obstacle to the successful treatment of non-small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC). The goal of this study was to determine how PIM kinases impact mitochondrial dynamics, ROS production, and response to chemotherapy in lung cancer. Live-cell imaging and microscopy were used to determine the effect of PIM loss or inhibition on mitochondrial phenotype and ROS. Inhibition of PIM kinases caused excessive mitochondrial fission and significant upregulation of mitochondrial superoxide, increasing intracellular ROS. Mechanistically, we define a signaling axis linking PIM1 to Drp1 and mitochondrial fission in lung cancer. PIM inhibition significantly increased the protein levels and mitochondrial localization of Drp1, causing marked fragmentation of mitochondria. An inverse correlation between PIM1 and Drp1 was confirmed in NSCLC patient samples. Inhibition of PIM sensitized NSCLC cells to chemotherapy and produced a synergistic antitumor response in vitro and in vivo. Immunohistochemistry and transmission electron microscopy verified that PIM inhibitors promote mitochondrial fission and apoptosis in vivo. These data improve our knowledge about how PIM1 regulates mitochondria and provide justification for combining PIM inhibition with chemotherapy in NSCLC.
Project description:Currently, there is no efficient therapy for patients with peripheral T cell lymphoma (PTCL). The Proviral Integration site of Moloney murine leukemia virus (PIM) kinases are important mediators of cell survival. We aimed to determine the therapeutic value of PIM kinases because they are overexpressed in PTCL patients, T cell lines and primary tumoral T cells. PIM kinases were inhibited genetically (using small interfering and short hairpin RNAs) and pharmacologically (mainly with the pan-PIM inhibitor (PIMi) ETP-39010) in a panel of 8 PTCL cell lines. Effects on cell viability, apoptosis, cell cycle, key proteins and gene expression were evaluated. Individual inhibition of each of the PIM genes did not affect PTCL cell survival, partially because of a compensatory mechanism among the three PIM genes. In contrast, pharmacological inhibition of all PIM kinases strongly induced apoptosis in all PTCL cell lines, without cell cycle arrest, in part through the induction of DNA damage. Therefore, pan-PIMi synergized with Cisplatin. Importantly, pharmacological inhibition of PIM reduced primary tumoral T cell viability without affecting normal T cells ex vivo. Since anaplastic large cell lymphoma (ALK+ ALCL) cell lines were the most sensitive to the pan-PIMi, we tested the simultaneous inhibition of ALK and PIM kinases and found a strong synergistic effect in ALK+ ALCL cell lines. Our findings suggest that PIM kinase inhibition could be of therapeutic value in a subset of PTCL, especially when combined with ALK inhibitors, and might be clinically beneficial in ALK+ ALCL.
Project description:Fms-like tyrosine kinase 3 internal tandem duplication (FLT3-ITD) is frequently detected in acute myeloid leukemia (AML) patients and is associated with a dismal long-term prognosis. FLT3 tyrosine kinase inhibitors provide short-term disease control, but relapse invariably occurs within months. Pim protein kinases are oncogenic FLT3-ITD targets expressed in AML cells. We show that increased Pim kinase expression is found in relapse samples from AML patients treated with FLT3 inhibitors. Ectopic Pim-2 expression induces resistance to FLT3 inhibition in both FLT3-ITD-induced myeloproliferative neoplasm and AML models in mice. Strikingly, we found that Pim kinases govern FLT3-ITD signaling and that their pharmacological or genetic inhibition restores cell sensitivity to FLT3 inhibitors. Finally, dual inhibition of FLT3 and Pim kinases eradicates FLT3-ITD(+) cells including primary AML cells. Concomitant Pim and FLT3 inhibition represents a promising new avenue for AML therapy.
Project description:Mesenchymal-epithelial transition (MET) blockade offers a new targeted therapy particularly in those cancers with MET amplification. However, the efficacy and the duration of the response to MET inhibitors are limited by the emergence of drug resistance. Here, we report that resistance to small-molecule inhibitors of MET can arise from increased expression of the prosurvival Pim protein kinases. This resistance mechanism was documented in non-small cell lung cancer and gastric cancer cells with MET amplification. Inhibition of Pim kinases enhanced cell death triggered by short-term treatment with MET inhibitors. Pim kinases control the translation of antiapoptotic protein Bcl-2 at an internal ribosome entry site and this mechanism was identified as the basis for Pim-mediated resistance to MET inhibitors. Protein synthesis was increased in drug-resistant cells, secondary to a Pim-mediated increase in cap-independent translation. In cells rendered drug resistant by chronic treatment with MET inhibitors, genetic or pharmacologic inhibition of Pim kinases was sufficient to restore sensitivity in vitro and in vivo. Taken together, our results rationalize Pim inhibition as a strategy to augment responses and blunt acquired resistance to MET inhibitors in cancer.
Project description:Therapeutic strategies for the treatment of metastatic melanoma show encouraging results in the clinic; however, not all patients respond equally and tumor resistance still poses a challenge. To identify novel therapeutic targets for melanoma, we screened a panel of structurally diverse organometallic inhibitors against human-derived normal and melanoma cells. We observed that a compound that targets PIM kinases (a family of Ser/Thr kinases) preferentially inhibited melanoma cell proliferation, invasion, and viability in adherent and three-dimensional (3D) melanoma models. Assessment of tumor tissue from melanoma patients showed that PIM kinases are expressed in pre- and post-treatment tumors, suggesting PIM kinases as promising targets in the clinic. Using knockdown studies, we showed that PIM1 contributes to melanoma cell proliferation and tumor growth in vivo; however, the presence of PIM2 and PIM3 could also influence the outcome. The inhibition of all PIM isoforms using SGI-1776 (a clinically-available PIM inhibitor) reduced melanoma proliferation and survival in preclinical models of melanoma. This was potentiated in the presence of the BRAF inhibitor PLX4720 and in the presence of PI3K inhibitors. Our findings suggest that PIM inhibitors provide promising additions to the targeted therapies available to melanoma patients.
Project description:The initiation and progression of human cancer is frequently linked to the uncontrolled activation of survival kinases. Two such pro-survival kinases that are commonly amplified in cancer are PIM and Akt. These oncogenic proteins are serine/threonine kinases that regulate tumorigenesis by phosphorylating substrates that control the cell cycle, cellular metabolism, proliferation, and survival. Growing evidence suggests that cross-talk exists between the PIM and Akt kinases, indicating that they control partially overlapping survival signaling pathways that are critical to the initiation, progression, and metastatic spread of many types of cancer. The PI3K/Akt signaling pathway is activated in many human tumors, and it is well established as a promising anticancer target. Likewise, based on the role of PIM kinases in normal and tumor tissues, it is clear that this family of kinases represents an interesting target for anticancer therapy. Pharmacological inhibition of PIM has the potential to significantly influence the efficacy of standard and targeted therapies. This review focuses on the regulation of PIM kinases, their role in tumorigenesis, and the biological impact of their interaction with the Akt signaling pathway on the efficacy of cancer therapy.
Project description:Multiple myeloma (MM) is a plasma cell malignancy that remains incurable. Novel treatment strategies to improve survival are urgently required. The Pims are a small family of serine/threonine kinases with increased expression across the hematological malignancies. Pim-2 shows highest expression in MM and constitutes a promising therapeutic target. It is upregulated by the bone marrow microenvironment to mediate proliferation and promote MM survival. Pim-2 also has a key role in the bone destruction typically seen in MM. Additional putative roles of the Pim kinases in MM include trafficking of malignant cells, promoting oncogenic signaling in the hypoxic bone marrow microenvironment and mediating resistance to therapy. A number of Pim inhibitors are now under development with lead compounds entering the clinic. The ATP-competitive Pim inhibitor LGH447 has recently been reported to have single agent activity in MM. It is anticipated that Pim inhibition will be of clinical benefit in combination with standard treatments and/or with novel drugs targeting other survival pathways in MM.
Project description:The proto-oncogene proviral integration site for moloney murine leukemia virus (PIM) kinases (PIM-1, PIM-2, and PIM-3) are serine/threonine kinases that are involved in a number of signaling pathways important to cancer cells. PIM kinases act in downstream effector functions as inhibitors of apoptosis and as positive regulators of G1-S phase progression through the cell cycle. PIM kinases are upregulated in multiple cancer indications, including lymphoma, leukemia, multiple myeloma, and prostate, gastric, and head and neck cancers. Overexpression of one or more PIM family members in patient tumors frequently correlates with poor prognosis. The aim of this investigation was to evaluate PIM expression in low- and high-grade urothelial carcinoma and to assess the role PIM function in disease progression and their potential to serve as molecular targets for therapy. One hundred thirty-seven cases of urothelial carcinoma were included in this study of surgical biopsy and resection specimens. High levels of expression of all three PIM family members were observed in both noninvasive and invasive urothelial carcinomas. The second-generation PIM inhibitor, TP-3654, displays submicromolar activity in pharmacodynamic biomarker modulation, cell proliferation studies, and colony formation assays using the UM-UC-3 bladder cancer cell line. TP-3654 displays favorable human ether-à-go-go-related gene and cytochrome P450 inhibition profiles compared with the first-generation PIM inhibitor, SGI-1776, and exhibits oral bioavailability. In vivo xenograft studies using a bladder cancer cell line show that PIM kinase inhibition can reduce tumor growth, suggesting that PIM kinase inhibitors may be active in human urothelial carcinomas.