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Journal articleKryza T, Bock N, Lovell S, et al., 2020,
The molecular function of kallikrein-related peptidase 14 demonstrates a key modulatory role in advanced prostate cancer, Molecular Oncology, Vol: 14, Pages: 105-128, ISSN: 1574-7891
Kallikrein-related peptidase 14 (KLK14) is one of several secreted KLK serine proteases involved in prostate cancer (PCa) pathogenesis. While relatively understudied, recent reports have identified KLK14 as overexpressed during PCa development. However, the modulation of KLK14 expression during PCa progression and the molecular and biological functions of this protease in the prostate tumour microenvironment remain unknown. To determine the modulation of KLK14 expression during PCa progression, we analysed the expression levels of KLK14 in patient samples using publicly available databases and immunohistochemistry. In order to delineate the molecular mechanisms involving KLK14 in PCa progression, we integrated proteomic, transcriptomic and in vitro assays with the goal to identify substrates, related-signalling pathways and functional roles of this protease. We showed that KLK14 expression is elevated in advanced PCa, and particularly in metastasis. Additionally, KLK14 levels were found to be decreased in PCa tissues from patients responsive to neo-adjuvant therapy compared to untreated patients. Furthermore, we also identified that KLK14 expression re-occurred in patients who developed castrate-resistant PCa. The combination of proteomic and transcriptomic analysis as well as functional assays revealed several new KLK14-substrates (agrin, desmoglein 2, vitronectin, laminins) and KLK14-regulated genes (Interleukin 32, midkine, Sox9), particularly an involvement of the MAPK1 and IL1RN pathways, and an involvement of KLK14 in the regulation of cellular migration, supporting its involvement in aggressive features of PCa progression. In conclusion, our work showed that KLK14 expression is associated with the development of aggressive PCa suggesting that targeting this protease could offer a novel route to limit the progression of prostate tumours. Additional work is necessary to determine the benefits and implications of targeting/co-targeting KLK14 in PCa as well as to
Journal articleBarry R, Ruano-Gallego D, Radhakrishnan ST, et al., 2020,
Given the global burden of diarrheal diseases on healthcare it is surprising how little is known about the drivers of disease severity. Colitis caused by infection and inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) is characterised by neutrophil infiltration into the intestinal mucosa and yet our understanding of neutrophil responses during colitis is incomplete. Using infectious (Citrobacter rodentium) and chemical (dextran sulphate sodium; DSS) murine colitis models, as well as human IBD samples, we find that faecal neutrophil elastase (NE) activity reflects disease severity. During C. rodentium infection intestinal epithelial cells secrete the serine protease inhibitor SerpinA3N to inhibit and mitigate tissue damage caused by extracellular NE. Mice suffering from severe infection produce insufficient SerpinA3N to control excessive NE activity. This activity contributes to colitis severity as infection of these mice with a recombinant C. rodentium strain producing and secreting SerpinA3N reduces tissue damage. Thus, uncontrolled luminal NE activity is involved in severe colitis. Taken together, our findings suggest that NE activity could be a useful faecal biomarker for assessing disease severity as well as therapeutic target for both infectious and chronic inflammatory colitis.
Journal articleBeard R, Gaboriau D, Gee A, et al., 2019,
Absorptive- and receptor-mediated transcytosis (AMT/RMT) are widely studied strategies to deliver therapeutics across the blood–brain barrier (BBB). However, an improved understanding of the mechanism surrounding trafficking is required that could promote delivery. Accordingly, we designed a flexible platform that merged AMT and RMT motifs on a single scaffold to probe various parameters (ligand, affinity, valency, position) in a screening campaign. During this process we adapted an in vitro BBB model to reliably rank transcytosis of the vehicle library. Our results demonstrate heightened uptake and trafficking for the shuttles, with a structure–activity relationship for transcytosis emerging. Notably, due to their small size, the majority of shuttles demonstrated increased permeation compared to transferrin, with the highest performing shuttle affording a 4.9-fold increase. Consequently, we have identified novel peptide conjugates that have the capacity to act as promising brain shuttles.
Journal articleDoll S, Freitas FP, Shah R, et al., 2019,
Ferroptosis is an iron-dependent form of necrotic cell death marked by oxidative damage to phospholipids1,2. To date, ferroptosis has been thought to be controlled only by the phospholipid hydroperoxide-reducing enzyme glutathione peroxidase 4 (GPX4)3,4 and radical-trapping antioxidants5,6. However, elucidation of the factors that underlie the sensitivity of a given cell type to ferroptosis7 is crucial to understand the pathophysiological role of ferroptosis and how it may be exploited for the treatment of cancer. Although metabolic constraints8 and phospholipid composition9,10 contribute to ferroptosis sensitivity, no cell-autonomous mechanisms have been identified that account for the resistance of cells to ferroptosis. Here we used an expression cloning approach to identify genes in human cancer cells that are able to complement the loss of GPX4. We found that the flavoprotein apoptosis-inducing factor mitochondria-associated 2 (AIFM2) is a previously unrecognized anti-ferroptotic gene. AIFM2, which we renamed ferroptosis suppressor protein 1 (FSP1) and which was initially described as a pro-apoptotic gene11, confers protection against ferroptosis elicited by GPX4 deletion. We further demonstrate that the suppression of ferroptosis by FSP1 is mediated by ubiquinone (also known as coenzyme Q10, CoQ10): the reduced form, ubiquinol, traps lipid peroxyl radicals that mediate lipid peroxidation, whereas FSP1 catalyses the regeneration of CoQ10 using NAD(P)H. Pharmacological targeting of FSP1 strongly synergizes with GPX4 inhibitors to trigger ferroptosis in a number of cancer entities. In conclusion, the FSP1-CoQ10-NAD(P)H pathway exists as a stand-alone parallel system, which co-operates with GPX4 and glutathione to suppress phospholipid peroxidation and ferroptosis.
Journal articleLim C, Ha KP, Clarke R, et al., 2019,
Identification of a potent small-molecule inhibitor of bacterial DNA repair that potentiates quinolone antibiotic activity in methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, Bioorganic and Medicinal Chemistry, Vol: 27, Pages: 1-7, ISSN: 0968-0896
The global emergence of antibiotic resistance is one of the most serious challenges facing modern medicine. There is an urgent need for validation of new drug targets and the development of small molecules with novel mechanisms of action. We therefore sought to inhibit bacterial DNA repair mediated by the AddAB/RecBCD protein complexes as a means to sensitize bacteria to DNA damage caused by the host immune system or quinolone antibiotics. A rational, hypothesis-driven compound optimization identified IMP-1700 as a cell-active, nanomolar potency compound. IMP-1700 sensitized multidrug-resistant Staphylococcus aureus to the fluoroquinolone antibiotic ciprofloxacin, where resistance results from a point mutation in the fluoroquinolone target, DNA gyrase. Cellular reporter assays indicated IMP-1700 inhibited the bacterial SOS-response to DNA damage, and compound-functionalized Sepharose successfully pulled-down the AddAB repair complex. This work provides validation of bacterial DNA repair as a novel therapeutic target and delivers IMP-1700 as a tool molecule and starting point for therapeutic development to address the pressing challenge of antibiotic resistance.
Journal articleSerwa RA, Sekine E, Brown J, et al., 2019,
Analysis of a fully infectious bio-orthogonally modified human virus reveals novel features of virus cell entry, PLoS Pathogens, Vol: 15, ISSN: 1553-7366
We report the analysis of a complex enveloped human virus, herpes simplex virus (HSV), assembled after in vivo incorporation of bio-orthogonal methionine analogues homopropargylglycine (HPG) or azidohomoalanine (AHA). We optimised protocols for the production of virions incorporating AHA (termed HSVAHA), identifying conditions which resulted in normal yields of HSV and normal particle/pfu ratios. Moreover we show that essentially every single HSVAHA capsid-containing particle was detectable at the individual particle level by chemical ligation of azide-linked fluorochromes to AHA-containing structural proteins. This was a completely specific chemical ligation, with no capsids assembled under normal methionine-containing conditions detected in parallel. We demonstrate by quantitative mass spectrometric analysis that HSVAHA virions exhibit no qualitative or quantitative differences in the repertoires of structural proteins compared to virions assembled under normal conditions. Individual proteins and AHA incorporation sites were identified in capsid, tegument and envelope compartments, including major essential structural proteins. Finally we reveal novel aspects of entry pathways using HSVAHA and chemical fluorochrome ligation that were not apparent from conventional immunofluorescence. Since ligation targets total AHA-containing protein and peptides, our results demonstrate the presence of abundant AHA-labelled products in cytoplasmic macrodomains and tubules which no longer contain intact particles detectable by immunofluorescence. Although these do not co-localise with lysosomal markers, we propose they may represent sites of proteolytic virion processing. Analysis of HSVAHA also enabled the discrimination from primary entering from secondary assembling virions, demonstrating assembly and second round infection within 6 hrs of initial infection and dual infections of primary and secondary virus in spatially restricted cytoplasmic areas of the same cell. Together w
Journal articleTapodi A, Clemens DM, Uwineza A, et al., 2019,
Journal articleSchlott AC, Mayclin S, Reers AR, et al., 2019,
Structure-guided identification of resistance breaking antimalarial N-myristoyltransferase inhibitors, Cell Chemical Biology, Vol: 26, Pages: 991-1000.e7, ISSN: 2451-9448
The attachment of myristate to the N-terminal glycine of certain proteins is largely a co-translational modification catalyzed by N-myristoyltransferase (NMT), and involved in protein membrane-localization. Pathogen NMT is a validated therapeutic target in numerous infectious diseases including malaria. In Plasmodium falciparum, NMT substrates are important in essential processes including parasite gliding motility and host cell invasion. Here, we generated parasites resistant to a particular NMT inhibitor series and show that resistance in an in vitro parasite growth assay is mediated by a single amino acid substitution in the NMT substrate-binding pocket. The basis of resistance was validated and analyzed with a structure-guided approach using crystallography, in combination with enzyme activity, stability, and surface plasmon resonance assays, allowing identification of another inhibitor series unaffected by this substitution. We suggest that resistance studies incorporated early in the drug development process help selection of drug combinations to impede rapid evolution of parasite resistance.
Journal articleBirtley JR, Alomary M, Zanini E, et al., 2019,
Inactivating mutations and X-ray crystal structure of the tumor suppressor OPCML reveal cancer-associated functions, Nature Communications, Vol: 10, ISSN: 2041-1723
OPCML, a tumor suppressor gene, is frequently silenced epigenetically in ovarian and other cancers. Here we report, by analysis of databases of tumor sequences, the observation of OPCML somatic missense mutations from various tumor types and the impact of these mutations on OPCML function, by solving the X-ray crystal structure of this glycoprotein to 2.65 Å resolution. OPCML consists of an extended arrangement of three immunoglobulin-like domains and homodimerizes via a network of contacts between membrane-distal domains. We report the generation of a panel of OPCML variants with representative clinical mutations and demonstrate clear phenotypic effects in vitro and in vivo including changes to anchorage-independent growth, interaction with activated cognate receptor tyrosine kinases, cellular migration, invasion in vitro and tumor growth in vivo. Our results suggest that clinically occurring somatic missense mutations in OPCML have the potential to contribute to tumorigenesis in a variety of cancers.
Journal articleLanyon-Hogg T, Ritzefeld M, Sefer L, et al., 2019,
Acylation-coupled lipophilic induction of polarisation (Acyl-cLIP): a universal assay for lipid transferase and hydrolase enzymes, Chemical Science, Vol: 10, Pages: 8995-9000, ISSN: 2041-6520
Posttranslational attachment of lipids to proteins is important for many cellular functions, and the enzymes responsible for these modifications are implicated in many diseases, from cancer to neurodegeneration. Lipid transferases and hydrolases are increasingly tractable therapeutic targets, but present unique challenges for high-throughput biochemical enzyme assays which hinder development of new inhibitors. We present Acylation-coupled Lipophilic Induction of Polarisation (Acyl-cLIP) as the first universally applicable biochemical lipidation assay, exploiting the hydrophobic nature of lipidated peptides to drive a polarised fluorescence readout. Acyl-cLIP allows sensitive, accurate, real-time measurement of S- or N-palmitoylation, N-myristoylation, S-farnesylation or S-geranylgeranylation. Furthermore, it is applicable to transfer and hydrolysis reactions, and we demonstrate its extension to a high-throughput screening format. We anticipate that Acyl-cLIP will greatly expedite future drug discovery efforts against these challenging targets.
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