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J Pharmacol Exp Ther. 2014 May;349(2):319-29. doi: 10.1124/jpet.113.212019. Epub 2014 Mar 12.

Discovery of novel second mitochondria-derived activator of caspase mimetics as selective inhibitor of apoptosis protein inhibitors.

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  • 1Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences, College of Pharmacy, The University of Tennessee Health Science Center, Memphis, Tennessee.


Inhibitor of apoptosis (IAP) proteins are widely considered as promising cancer drug targets, especially for drug-resistant tumors. Mimicking the IAP-binding motif of second mitochondria-derived activator of caspases (SMAC) is a rational strategy to design potential IAP inhibitors. In this report, we used the bioactive conformation of AVPI tetrapeptide in the N terminus of SMAC as a template and performed a shape-based virtual screening against a drug-like compound library to identify novel IAP inhibitors. Top hits were subsequently docked to available IAP crystal structures as a secondary screening followed by validation using in vitro biologic assays. Four novel hit compounds were identified to potently inhibit cell growth in two human melanoma (A375 and M14) and two human prostate (PC-3 and DU145) cancer cell lines. The best compound, UC-112 [5-((benzyloxy)methyl)-7-(pyrrolidin-1-ylmethyl)quinolin-8-ol], has IC50 values ranging from 0.7 to 3.4 µM. UC-112 also potently inhibits the growth of P-glycoprotein (P-gp)-overexpressed multidrug-resistant cancer cells, strongly activates caspase-3/7 and caspase-9 activities, and selectively downregulates survivin level at a concentration as low as 1 µM. Coincubation of UC-112 with a known proteasome inhibitor Z-Leu-Leu-Leu-CHO (MG-132) rescued survivin inhibition, consistent with the anticipated mechanism of action for UC-112. As a single agent, UC-112 strongly inhibits tumor growth and reduces both X chromosome-linked IAP and survivin levels in an A375 human melanoma xenograft model in vivo. Overall, our study identified novel scaffolds, especially UC-112, as new platforms on which potent and selective IAP antagonists can be developed.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
[Available on 2015/5/1]
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