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Oncotarget. 2016 Dec 6;7(49):80190-80207. doi: 10.18632/oncotarget.13376.

Targeting GLI by GANT61 involves mechanisms dependent on inhibition of both transcription and DNA licensing.

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Department of Oncology, Division of Drug Discovery, Southern Research, Birmingham, AL, USA.
Lerner Research Institute, Cleveland Clinic, Cleveland, OH, USA.


The GLI genes are transcription factors and in cancers are oncogenes, aberrantly and constitutively activated. GANT61, a specific GLI inhibitor, has induced extensive cytotoxicity in human models of colon cancer. The FOXM1 promoter was determined to be a transcriptional target of GLI1. In HT29 cells, inhibition of GLI1 binding at the GLI consensus sequence by GANT61 led to inhibited binding of Pol II, the pause-release factors DSIF, NELF and p-TEFb. The formation of R-loops (RNA:DNA hybrids, ssDNA), were reduced by GANT61 at the FOXM1 promoter. Pretreatment of HT29 cells with α-amanitin reduced GANT61-induced γH2AX foci. Co-localization of GLI1 and BrdU foci, inhibited by GANT61, indicated GLI1 and DNA replication to be linked. By co-immunoprecipitation and confocal microscopy, GLI1 co-localized with the DNA licensing factors ORC4, CDT1, and MCM2. Significant co-localization of GLI1 and ORC4 was inhibited by GANT61, and enrichment of ORC4 occurred at the GLI binding site in the FOXM1 promoter. CDT1 was found to be a transcription target of GLI1. Overexpression of CDT1 in HT29 and SW480 cells reduced GANT61-induced cell death, gH2AX foci, and cleavage of caspase-3. Data demonstrate involvement of transcription and of DNA replication licensing factors by non-transcriptional and transcriptional mechanisms in the GLI-dependent mechanism of action of GANT61.


DNA licensing; GANT61; GLI; transcription

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