Imipridone ONC212 activates orphan G protein-coupled receptor GPR132 and integrated stress response in acute myeloid leukemia.
ABSTRACT: 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: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: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:BH3 profiling measures the propensity of transformed cells to undergo intrinsic apoptosis and is determined by exposing cells to BH3-mimicking peptides. We hypothesized that basal levels of prosurvival BCL-2 family proteins may modulate the predictive power of BH3 profiling and termed it mitochondrial profiling. We investigated the correlation between cell sensitivity to apoptogenic agents and mitochondrial profiling, using a panel of acute myeloid leukemias induced to undergo apoptosis by exposure to cytarabine, the BH3 mimetic ABT-199, the MDM2 inhibitor Nutlin-3a, or the CRM1 inhibitor KPT-330. We found that the apoptogenic efficacies of ABT-199 and cytarabine correlated well with BH3 profiling reflecting BCL2, but not BCL-XL or MCL-1 dependence. Baseline BCL-2 protein expression analysis increased the ability of BH3 profiling to predict resistance mediated by MCL-1. By utilizing engineered cells with overexpression or knockdown of BCL-2 family proteins, Ara-C was found to be independent, while ABT-199 was dependent on BCL-XL. BCL-2 and BCL-XL overexpression mediated resistance to KPT-330 which was not reflected in the BH3 profiling assay, or in baseline BCL-2 protein levels. In conclusion, mitochondrial profiling, the combination of BH3 profiling and prosurvival BCL-2 family protein analysis, represents an improved approach to predict efficacy of diverse agents in AML and may have utility in the design of more effective drug combinations.
Project description:The antiapoptotic Bcl-2 family proteins play critical roles in resistance to chemotherapy in acute myeloid leukaemia (AML). The Bcl-2-selective inhibitor ABT-199 (Venetoclax) shows promising antileukaemic activity against AML, though Mcl-1 limits its antileukaemic activity. XPO1 is a nuclear exporter overexpressed in AML cells and its inhibition decreases Mcl-1 levels in cancer cells. Thus, we hypothesized that the XPO1-selective inhibitor KPT-330 (Selinexor) can synergize with ABT-199 to induce apoptosis in AML cells through down-regulation of Mcl-1. The combination of KPT-330 and ABT-199 was found to synergistically induce apoptosis in AML cell lines and primary patient samples and cooperatively inhibit colony formation capacity of primary AML cells. KPT-330 treatment decreased Mcl-1 protein after apoptosis initiation. However, binding of Bim to Mcl-1 induced by ABT-199 was abrogated by KPT-330 at the same time as apoptosis initiation. KPT-330 treatment increased binding of Bcl-2 to Bim but was overcome by ABT-199 treatment, demonstrating that KPT-330 and ABT-199 reciprocally overcome apoptosis resistance. Mcl-1 knockdown and overexpression confirmed its critical role in the antileukaemic activity of the combination. In summary, KPT-330 treatment, alone and in combination with ABT-199, modulates Mcl-1, which plays an important role in the antileukaemic activity of the combination.
Project description:ABT-199, a potent and selective small-molecule antagonist of BCL-2, is being clinically vetted as pharmacotherapy for the treatment of acute myeloid leukemia (AML). However, given that prolonged monotherapy tends to beget resistance, we sought to investigate the means by which resistance to ABT-199 might arise in AML and the extent to which those mechanisms might be preempted. Here we used a pathway-activating genetic screen to nominate MCL-1 and BCL-XL as potential nodes of resistance. We then characterized a panel of ABT-199-resistant myeloid leukemia cell lines derived through chronic exposure to ABT-199 and found that acquired drug resistance is indeed driven by the upregulation of MCL-1 and BCL-XL. By targeting MCL-1 and BCL-XL, resistant AML cell lines could be resensitized to ABT-199. Further, preemptively targeting MCL-1 and/or BCL-XL alongside administration of ABT-199 was capable of delaying or forestalling the acquisition of drug resistance. Collectively, these data suggest that in AML, (1) the selection of initial therapy dynamically templates the landscape of acquired resistance via modulation of MCL-1/BCL-XL and (2) appropriate selection of initial therapy may delay or altogether forestall the acquisition of resistance to ABT-199.
Project description:Resistance to standard chemotherapy agents remains a major obstacle for improving treatment outcomes for acute myeloid leukemia (AML). The Bcl-2-selective inhibitor ABT-199 has demonstrated encouraging preclinical results, drug resistance remains a concern. Mcl-1 has been demonstrated to contribute to ABT-199 resistance, thus combining with therapies that target Mcl-1 could overcome such resistance. In this study, we utilized a CHK1 inhibitor, LY2603618, to decrease Mcl-1 and enhance ABT-199 efficacy. We found that LY2603618 treatment resulted in abolishment of the G2/M cell cycle checkpoint and increased DNA damage, which was partially dependent on CDK activity. LY2603618 treatment resulted in decrease of Mcl-1, which coincided with the initiation of apoptosis. Overexpression of Mcl-1 in AML cells significantly attenuated apoptosis induced by LY2603618, confirming the critical role of Mcl-1 in apoptosis induced by the agent. Simultaneous treatment with LY2603618 and ABT-199 resulted in synergistic induction of apoptosis in both AML cell lines and primary patient samples. Our findings provide new insights into overcoming a mechanism of intrinsic ABT-199 resistance in AML cells and support the clinical development of combined ABT-199 and CHK1 inhibition.
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.