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Nature. 2014 Jul 31;511(7511):616-20. doi: 10.1038/nature13393. Epub 2014 Jun 22.

Targeting transcription regulation in cancer with a covalent CDK7 inhibitor.

Author information

1
1] Department of Cancer Biology, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Boston, Massachusetts 02115, USA [2] Department of Biological Chemistry and Molecular Pharmacology, Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts 02115, USA [3] Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research, 9 Cambridge Center, Cambridge, Massachusetts 02142, USA [4].
2
1] Department of Cancer Biology, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Boston, Massachusetts 02115, USA [2] Department of Biological Chemistry and Molecular Pharmacology, Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts 02115, USA [3].
3
Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research, 9 Cambridge Center, Cambridge, Massachusetts 02142, USA.
4
1] Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research, 9 Cambridge Center, Cambridge, Massachusetts 02142, USA [2] Department of Biology, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, Massachusetts 02139, USA.
5
1] Department of Cancer Biology, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Boston, Massachusetts 02115, USA [2] Department of Biological Chemistry and Molecular Pharmacology, Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts 02115, USA [3] Blais Proteomics Center, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Boston, Massachusetts 02115, USA.
6
Department of Medicine Massachusetts General Hospital Cancer Center and Harvard Medical School, Charlestown, Massachusetts 02129, USA.
7
1] Department of Medicine Massachusetts General Hospital Cancer Center and Harvard Medical School, Charlestown, Massachusetts 02129, USA [2] Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard, 7 Cambridge Center, Cambridge, Massachusetts 02142, USA.
8
1] Department of Medical Oncology, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts 02115, USA [2] Department of Medicine, Brigham and Women's Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts 02115, USA.
9
Terry Fox Laboratory, British Columbia Cancer Agency, Vancouver, British Columbia V5Z 1L3, Canada.
10
1] Department of Pediatric Oncology, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts 02215, USA [2] Cancer Science Institute of Singapore, National University of Singapore, 117599 Singapore.
11
Chemical Kinomics Research Center, Korea Institute of Science and Technology, 39-1, Hawolgok-dong, Seongbuk-gu, Seoul 136-791, Korea, and KU-KIST Graduate School of Converging Science and Technology, 145, Anam-ro, Seongbuk-gu, Seoul 136-713, Korea.
12
Daegu-Gyeongbuk Medical Innovation Foundation, 2387 dalgubeol-daero, Suseong-gu, Daegu 706-010, Korea.
13
1] Department of Pediatric Oncology, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts 02215, USA [2] Division of Hematology/Oncology, Children's Hospital, Boston, Massachusetts 02115 USA.
14
1] Department of Cancer Biology, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Boston, Massachusetts 02115, USA [2] Department of Biological Chemistry and Molecular Pharmacology, Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts 02115, USA.

Abstract

Tumour oncogenes include transcription factors that co-opt the general transcriptional machinery to sustain the oncogenic state, but direct pharmacological inhibition of transcription factors has so far proven difficult. However, the transcriptional machinery contains various enzymatic cofactors that can be targeted for the development of new therapeutic candidates, including cyclin-dependent kinases (CDKs). Here we present the discovery and characterization of a covalent CDK7 inhibitor, THZ1, which has the unprecedented ability to target a remote cysteine residue located outside of the canonical kinase domain, providing an unanticipated means of achieving selectivity for CDK7. Cancer cell-line profiling indicates that a subset of cancer cell lines, including human T-cell acute lymphoblastic leukaemia (T-ALL), have exceptional sensitivity to THZ1. Genome-wide analysis in Jurkat T-ALL cells shows that THZ1 disproportionally affects transcription of RUNX1 and suggests that sensitivity to THZ1 may be due to vulnerability conferred by the RUNX1 super-enhancer and the key role of RUNX1 in the core transcriptional regulatory circuitry of these tumour cells. Pharmacological modulation of CDK7 kinase activity may thus provide an approach to identify and treat tumour types that are dependent on transcription for maintenance of the oncogenic state.

PMID:
25043025
PMCID:
PMC4244910
DOI:
10.1038/nature13393
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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