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J Med Chem. 2009 Sep 24;52(18):5721-31. doi: 10.1021/jm900722z.

Procaspase-3 activation as an anti-cancer strategy: structure-activity relationship of procaspase-activating compound 1 (PAC-1) and its cellular co-localization with caspase-3.

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  • 1Department of Biochemistry, Roger Adams Laboratory, University of Illinois, Urbana, Illinois 61801, USA.

Abstract

A goal of personalized medicine as applied to oncology is to identify compounds that exploit a defined molecular defect in a cancerous cell. A compound called procaspase-activating compound 1 (PAC-1) was reported that enhances the activity of procaspase-3 in vitro and induces apoptotic death in cancer cells in culture and in mouse xenograft models. Experimental evidence indicates that PAC-1 activates procaspase-3 in vitro through chelation of inhibitory zinc ions. Described herein is the synthesis and biological activity of a family of PAC-1 derivatives where key functional groups have been systematically altered. Analysis of these compounds reveals a strong correlation between the in vitro procaspase-3 activating effect and their ability to induce death in cancer cells in culture. Importantly, we also show that a fluorescently labeled version of PAC-1 co-localizes with sites of caspase-3 activity in cancer cells. The data presented herein further bolster the hypothesis that PAC-1 induces apoptosis in cancer cells through the direct activation of procaspase-3, has implications for the design and discovery of next-generation procaspase-3 activating compounds, and sheds light on the anti-apoptotic role of cellular zinc.

PMID:
19708658
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
PMCID:
PMC2749958
Free PMC Article
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