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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2012 Oct 2;109(40):16348-53. doi: 10.1073/pnas.1205226109. Epub 2012 Sep 17.

Discovery of an orally active small-molecule irreversible inhibitor of protein disulfide isomerase for ovarian cancer treatment.

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Department of Pharmacology and Pharmaceutical Sciences, School of Pharmacy, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, CA 90033, USA.


Protein disulfide isomerase (PDI), an endoplasmic reticulum chaperone protein, catalyzes disulfide bond breakage, formation, and rearrangement. The effect of PDI inhibition on ovarian cancer progression is not yet clear, and there is a need for potent, selective, and safe small-molecule inhibitors of PDI. Here, we report a class of propynoic acid carbamoyl methyl amides (PACMAs) that are active against a panel of human ovarian cancer cell lines. Using fluorescent derivatives, 2D gel electrophoresis, and MS, we established that PACMA 31, one of the most active analogs, acts as an irreversible small-molecule inhibitor of PDI, forming a covalent bond with the active site cysteines of PDI. We also showed that PDI activity is essential for the survival and proliferation of human ovarian cancer cells. In vivo, PACMA 31 showed tumor targeting ability and significantly suppressed ovarian tumor growth without causing toxicity to normal tissues. These irreversible small-molecule PDI inhibitors represent an important approach for the development of targeted anticancer agents for ovarian cancer therapy, and they can also serve as useful probes for investigating the biology of PDI-implicated pathways.

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