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J Biol Chem. 2011 Apr 8;286(14):12743-55. doi: 10.1074/jbc.M110.199737. Epub 2011 Feb 8.

Potent and selective inhibitors of the inositol-requiring enzyme 1 endoribonuclease.

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MannKind Corporation, Valencia, California 91355, USA.


Inositol-requiring enzyme 1 (IRE1) is the most highly conserved signaling node of the unfolded protein response (UPR) and represents a potential therapeutic target for a number of diseases associated with endoplasmic reticulum stress. IRE1 activates the XBP-1 transcription factor by site-specific cleavage of two hairpin loops within its mRNA to facilitate its nonconventional splicing and alternative translation. We screened for inhibitors using a construct containing the unique cytosolic kinase and endoribonuclease domains of human IRE1α (hIRE1α-cyto) and a mini-XBP-1 stem-loop RNA as the substrate. One class compounds was salicylaldehyde analogs from the hydrolyzed product of salicylaldimines in the library. Salicylaldehyde analogs were active in inhibiting the site-specific cleavage of several mini-XBP-1 stem-loop RNAs in a dose-dependent manner. Salicyaldehyde analogs were also active in inhibiting yeast Ire1 but had little activity inhibiting RNase L or the unrelated RNases A and T1. Kinetic analysis revealed that one potent salicylaldehyde analog, 3-ethoxy-5,6-dibromosalicylaldehyde, is a non-competitive inhibitor with respect to the XBP-1 RNA substrate. Surface plasmon resonance studies confirmed this compound bound to IRE1 in a specific, reversible and dose-dependent manner. Salicylaldehydes inhibited XBP-1 splicing induced pharmacologically in human cells. These compounds also blocked transcriptional up-regulation of known XBP-1 targets as well as mRNAs targeted for degradation by IRE1. Finally, the salicylaldehyde analog 3-methoxy-6-bromosalicylaldehyde strongly inhibited XBP-1 splicing in an in vivo model of acute endoplasmic reticulum stress. To our knowledge, salicylaldehyde analogs are the first reported specific IRE1 endoribonuclease inhibitors.

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