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  • Journal article
    French PMW, Görlitz F, Kelly D, Warren S, Alibhai D, West L, Kumar S, Alexandrov Y, Munro I, McGinty J, Talbot C, Serwa R, Thinon E, Da Paola V, Murray EJ, Stuhmeier F, Neil M, Tate E, Dunsby Cet al., 2017,

    Open source high content analysis utilizing automated fluorescence lifetime imaging microscopy

    , Jove-Journal of Visualized Experiments, Vol: 119, ISSN: 1940-087X

    We present an open source high content analysis instrument utilizing automated fluorescence lifetime imaging (FLIM) for assaying protein interactions using Förster resonance energy transfer (FRET) based readouts of fixed or live cells in multiwell plates. This provides a means to screen for cell signaling processes read out using intramolecular FRET biosensors or intermolecular FRET of protein interactions such as oligomerization or heterodimerization, which can be used to identify binding partners. We describe herethe functionality of this automated multiwell plate FLIM instrumentation and present exemplar data from our studies of HIV Gag protein oligomerization and a time course of a FRET biosensor in live cells. A detailed description of the practical implementation is then provided with reference to a list of hardware components and a description of the open source data acquisition software written in μ Manager. The application of FLIMfit, an open source MATLAB-based client for the OMERO platform, to analyze arrays of multiwell plate FLIM data is also presented. The protocols for imaging fixed and live cells are outlined and a demonstration of an automated multiwell plate FLIM experiment using cells expressing fluorescent protein-based FRET constructs is presented. This is complemented by a walk-through of the data analysis for this specific FLIM FRET data set.

  • Journal article
    Duluc L, Ahmetaj-Shala B, Mitchell J, Abdul Salam VB, Mahomed AS, Aldabbous L, Oliver E, Iannone L, Dubois OD, Storck EM, Tate EW, Zhao L, Wilkins MR, Wojciak-Stothard Bet al., 2017,

    Tipifarnib prevents development of hypoxia-induced pulmonary hypertension

    , Cardiovascular Research, Vol: 113, Pages: 276-287, ISSN: 1755-3245

    Aims.RhoB plays a key role in the pathogenesis of hypoxia-induced pulmonary hypertension. Farnesylated RhoB promotes growth responses in cancer cells and we investigated whether inhibition of protein farnesylation will have a protective effect. Methods and Results.The analysis of lung tissues from rodent models and pulmonary hypertensive patientsshowed increased levels of protein farnesylation. Oral farnesyltransferase inhibitor tipifarnib prevented development of hypoxia-induced pulmonary hypertension in mice. Tipifarnib reduced hypoxia-induced vascular cell proliferation, increased endothelium-dependent vasodilatation and reduced vasoconstriction of intrapulmonary arteries without affecting cell viability. Protective effects of tipifarnib were associated with inhibition of Ras and RhoB, actin depolymerisation and increased eNOS expression in vitroand in vivo. Farnesylated-only RhoB (F-RhoB) increased proliferative responses in cultured pulmonary vascular cells, mimicking the effects of hypoxia, while both geranylgeranylated-only RhoB (GG-RhoB) and tipifarnib had an inhibitory effect. Label-free proteomics linked F-RhoB with cell survival, activation of cell cycle and mitochondrial biogenesis. Hypoxia increased and tipifarnib reduced the levels of F-RhoB-regulated proteins in the lung, reinforcing the importance of RhoB as a signalling mediator.Unlike simvastatin, tipifarnib did not increase the expression levels of Rho proteins.Conclusions.Our study demonstrates the importance of protein farnesylation in pulmonary vascular remodeling and provides a rationale for selective targeting of this pathway in pulmonary hypertension.

  • Journal article
    Perdios L, Lowe AR, Saladino G, Bunney TD, Thiyagarajan N, Alexandrov Y, Dunsby C, French PM, Chin JW, Gervasio FL, Tate EW, Katan Met al., 2017,

    Conformational transition of FGFR kinase activation revealed by site-specific unnatural amino acid reporter and single molecule FRET

    , Scientific Reports, Vol: 7, ISSN: 2045-2322

    Protein kinases share significant structural similarity; however, structural features alone are insufficient to explain their diverse functions. Thus, bridging the gap between static structure and function requires a more detailed understanding of their dynamic properties. For example, kinase activation may occur via a switch-like mechanism or by shifting a dynamic equilibrium between inactive and active states. Here, we utilize a combination of FRET and molecular dynamics (MD) simulations to probe the activation mechanism of the kinase domain of Fibroblast Growth Factor Receptor (FGFR). Using genetically-encoded, site-specific incorporation of unnatural amino acids in regions essential for activation, followed by specific labeling with fluorescent moieties, we generated a novel class of FRET-based reporter to monitor conformational differences corresponding to states sampled by non phosphorylated/inactive and phosphorylated/active forms of the kinase. Single molecule FRET analysis in vitro, combined with MD simulations, shows that for FGFR kinase, there are populations of inactive and active states separated by a high free energy barrier resulting in switch-like activation. Compared to recent studies, these findings support diversity in features of kinases that impact on their activation mechanisms. The properties of these FRET-based constructs will also allow further studies of kinase dynamics as well as applications in vivo.

  • Journal article
    Goncalves V, Brannigan JA, Laporte A, Bell AS, Roberts SM, Wilkinson AJ, Leatherbarrow RJ, Tate EWet al., 2016,

    Structure-guided optimization of quinoline inhibitors of Plasmodium N-myristoyltransferase

    , MedChemComm, Vol: 8, Pages: 191-197, ISSN: 2040-2511

    The parasite Plasmodium vivax is the most widely distributed cause of recurring malaria. N-myristoyltransferase (NMT), an enzyme that catalyses the covalent attachment of myristate to the N-terminal glycine of substrate proteins, has been described as a potential target for the treatment of this disease. Herein, we report the synthesis and the structure-guided optimization of a series of quinolines with balanced activity against both Plasmodium vivax and Plasmodium falciparum N-myristoyltransferase (NMT).

  • Journal article
    Ward JA, McLellan L, Stockley M, Gibson KR, Whitlock GA, Knights C, Harrigan JA, Jacq X, Tate EWet al., 2016,

    Quantitative Chemical Proteomic Profiling of Ubiquitin Specific Proteases in Intact Cancer Cells

    , ACS Chemical Biology, Vol: 11, Pages: 3268-3272, ISSN: 1554-8937

    Deubiquitinating enzymes play an important role in a plethora of therapeutically relevant processes and are emerging as pioneering drug targets. Herein, we present a novel probe, Ubiquitin Specific Protease (USP) inhibitor, alongside an alkyne-tagged activity-based probe analogue. Activity-based proteome profiling identified 12 USPs, including USP4, USP16, and USP33, as inhibitor targets using submicromolar probe concentrations. This represents the first intact cell activity-based profiling of deubiquitinating enzymes. Further analysis demonstrated functional inhibition of USP33 and identified a synergistic relationship in combination with ATR inhibition, consistent with USP4 inhibition.

  • Journal article
    Rodgers U, Lanyon-Hogg T, Masumoto N, Ritzefeld M, Burke R, Blagg J, Magee A, Tate Eet al., 2016,

    Characterization of hedgehog acyltransferase inhibitors identifies a small molecule probe for hedgehog signaling by cancer cells

    , ACS Chemical Biology, Vol: 11, Pages: 3256-3262, ISSN: 1554-8937

    The Sonic Hedgehog (Shh) signaling pathway plays a critical role during embryonic development and cancer progression. N-terminal palmitoylation of Shh by Hedgehog acyltransferase (Hhat) is essential for efficient signaling, raising interest in Hhat as a novel drug target. A recently identified series of dihydrothienopyridines has been proposed to function via this mode of action; however, the lead compound in this series (RUSKI-43) was subsequently shown to possess cytotoxic activity unrelated to canonical Shh signaling. To identify a selective chemical probe for cellular studies, we profiled three RUSKI compounds in orthogonal cell-based assays. We found that RUSKI-43 exhibits off-target cytotoxicity, masking its effect on Hhat-dependent signaling, hence results obtained with this compound in cells should be treated with caution. In contrast, RUSKI-201 showed no off-target cytotoxicity, and quantitative whole-proteome palmitoylation profiling with a bioorthogonal alkyne-palmitate reporter demonstrated specific inhibition of Hhat in cells. RUSKI-201 is the first selective Hhat chemical probe in cells and should be used in future studies of Hhat catalytic function.

  • Journal article
    Zhao W, Jamshidiha M, Lanyon-Hogg T, Recchi C, Cota E, Tate EWet al., 2016,

    Direct targeting of the Ras GTPase superfamily through structure-based design

    , Current Topics in Medicinal Chemistry, Vol: 16, Pages: 16-29, ISSN: 1873-4294

    The Ras superfamily of small monomeric GTPases includes some of the most prominent cancer targets for which no selective therapeutic agent has yet been successfully developed. The turn of the millennium saw a resurgence of efforts to target these enzymes using new and improved biophysical techniques to overcome the perceived difficulties of insurmountably high affinity for guanosine nucleotides and flat, flexible topology lacking suitable pockets for small molecule inhibitors. Further, recent investigations have begun to probe the dynamic conformational status of GTP-bound Ras, opening up new mechanisms of inhibition. While much of the literature has focused on the oncogenic Ras proteins, particularly K-Ras, these represent only a small minority of therapeutically interesting targets within the superfamily; for example, the Rab GTPases are the largest subfamily of about 70 members, and present an as yet untapped class of potential targets. The present review documents the key methodologies employed to date in structure-guided attempts to drug the Ras GTPases, and forecasts their transferability to other similarly challenging proteins in the superfamily.

  • Journal article
    Thinon E, Morales Sanfrutos J, Mann D, Tate EWet al., 2016,

    N-Myristoyltransferase Inhibition Induces ER-Stress, Cell Cycle Arrest, and Apoptosis in Cancer Cells

    , ACS Chemical Biology, Vol: 11, Pages: 2165-2176, ISSN: 1554-8937

    N-Myristoyltransferase (NMT) covalently attaches a C14-fatty acid to the N-terminal glycine of proteins and has been proposed as a therapeutic target in cancer. We have recently shown that selective NMT inhibition leads to dose-responsive loss of N-myristoylation on more than 100 protein targets in cells, and cytotoxicity in cancer cells. N-myristoylation lies upstream of multiple pro-proliferative and oncogenic pathways, but to date the complex substrate specificity of NMT has limited determination of which diseases are most likely to respond to a selective NMT inhibitor. We describe here the phenotype of NMT inhibition in HeLa cells, and show that cells die through apoptosis following or concurrent with accumulation in G1 phase. We used quantitative proteomics to map protein expression changes for more than 2700 proteins in response to treatment with an NMT inhibitor in HeLa cells, and observed down-regulation of proteins involved in cell cycle regulation, and up-regulation of proteins involved in the endoplasmic reticulum stress and unfolded protein response, with similar results in breast (MCF-7, MDA-MB-231) and colon (HCT116) cancer cell lines. This study describes the cellular response to NMT inhibition at the proteome level, and provides a starting point for selective targeting of specific diseases with NMT inhibitors, potentially in combination with other targeted agents.

  • Journal article
    Wright MH, Paape D, Price HP, Smith DF, Tate EWet al., 2016,

    Global profiling and inhibition of protein lipidation in vector andhost stages of the sleeping sickness parasite Trypanosoma brucei

    , ACS Infectious Diseases, Vol: 2, Pages: 427-441, ISSN: 2373-8227

    The enzyme N-myristoyltransferase (NMT) catalyses the essential fatty acylation ofsubstrate proteins with myristic acid in eukaryotes and is a validated drug target in theparasite Trypanosoma brucei, the causative agent of African trypanosomiasis (sleepingsickness). N-Myristoylation typically mediates membrane localisation of proteins and isessential to the function of many. However, only a handful of proteins are experimentallyvalidated as N-myristoylated in T. brucei. Here, we perform metabolic labelling with analkyne-tagged myristic acid analogue, enabling the capture of lipidated proteins in insect and host life stages of T. brucei. We further compare this with a longer chain palmitate analogueto explore the chain length-specific incorporation of fatty acids into proteins. Finally, wecombine the alkynyl-myristate analogue with NMT inhibitors and quantitative chemicalproteomics to globally define N-myristoylated proteins in the clinically relevant bloodstreamform parasites. This analysis reveals five ARF family small GTPases, calpain-like proteins,phosphatases and many uncharacterized proteins as substrates of NMT in the parasite,providing a global view of the scope of this important protein modification and furtherevidence for the crucial and pleiotropic role of NMT in the cell.

  • Journal article
    Albrow VE, Grimley RL, Clulow J, Rose CR, Sun J, Warmus JS, Tate EW, Jones LH, Storer RIet al., 2016,

    Design and development of histone deacetylase (HDAC) chemical probes for cell-based profiling

    , Molecular Biosystems, Vol: 12, Pages: 1781-1789, ISSN: 1742-206X

    Histone deacetylases (HDACs) contribute to regulation of gene expression by mediating higher-order chromatin structures. They assemble into large multiprotein complexes that regulate activity and specificity. We report the development of small molecule probes with class IIa and pan-HDAC activity that contain photoreactive crosslinking groups and either a biotin reporter, or a terminal alkyne handle for subsequent bioorthogonal ligation. The probes retained inhibitory activity against recombinant HDAC proteins and caused an accumulation of acetylated histone and tubulin following cell treatment. The versatility of the probes has been demonstrated by their ability to photoaffinity modify HDAC targets in vitro. An affinity enrichment probe was used in conjunction with mass spectrometry proteomics to isolate HDACs and their interacting proteins in a native proteome. The performance of the probes in recombinant versus cell-based systems highlights issues for the development of chemoproteomic technologies targeting class IIa HDACs in particular.

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