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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2000 Jun 20;97(13):7124-9.

Structure-based discovery of an organic compound that binds Bcl-2 protein and induces apoptosis of tumor cells.

Author information

  • 1Kimmel Cancer Center, Jefferson Medical College, Thomas Jefferson University, Philadelphia, PA 19107, USA.

Abstract

Bcl-2 and related proteins are key regulators of apoptosis or programmed cell death implicated in human disease including cancer. We recently showed that cell-permeable Bcl-2 binding peptides could induce apoptosis of human myeloid leukemia in vitro and suppress its growth in severe combined immunodeficient mice. Here we report the discovery of HA14-1, a small molecule (molecular weight = 409) and nonpeptidic ligand of a Bcl-2 surface pocket, by using a computer screening strategy based on the predicted structure of Bcl-2 protein. In vitro binding studies demonstrated the interaction of HA14-1 with this Bcl-2 surface pocket that is essential for Bcl-2 biological function. HA14-1 effectively induced apoptosis of human acute myeloid leukemia (HL-60) cells overexpressing Bcl-2 protein that was associated with the decrease in mitochondrial membrane potential and activation of caspase-9 followed by caspase-3. Cytokine response modifier A, a potent inhibitor of Fas-mediated apoptosis, did not block apoptosis induced by HA14-1. Whereas HA14-1 strongly induced the death of NIH 3T3 (Apaf-1(+/+)) cells, it had little apoptotic effect on Apaf-1-deficient (Apaf-1(-/-)) mouse embryonic fibroblast cells. These data are consistent with a mechanism by which HA14-1 induces the activation of Apaf-1 and caspases, possibly by binding to Bcl-2 protein and inhibiting its function. The discovery of this cell-permeable molecule provides a chemical probe to study Bcl-2-regulated apoptotic pathways in vivo and could lead to the development of new therapeutic agents.

PMID:
10860979
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
PMCID:
PMC16510
Free PMC Article

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