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Zhou B.,University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill | Damrauer J.S.,University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill | Bailey S.T.,University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill | Hadzic T.,University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill | And 14 more authors.
Journal of Clinical Investigation | Year: 2014

Erythropoietin (EPO) is a hormone that induces red blood cell production. In its recombinant form, EPO is the one of most prescribed drugs to treat anemia, including that arising in cancer patients. In randomized trials, EPO administration to cancer patients has been associated with decreased survival. Here, we investigated the impact of EPO modulation on tumorigenesis. Using genetically engineered mouse models of breast cancer, we found that EPO promoted tumorigenesis by activating JAK/STAT signaling in breast tumor-initiating cells (TICs) and promoted TIC self renewal. We determined that EPO was induced by hypoxia in breast cancer cell lines, but not in human mammary epithelial cells. Additionally, we demonstrated that high levels of endogenous EPO gene expression correlated with shortened relapse-free survival and that pharmacologic JAK2 inhibition was synergistic with chemotherapy for tumor growth inhibition in vivo. These data define an active role for endogenous EPO in breast cancer progression and breast TIC self-renewal and reveal a potential application of EPO pathway inhibition in breast cancer therapy. © Copyright 2014 American Society for Clinical Investigation. Source


Ma A.,Center for Integrative Chemical Biology and Drug Discovery | Yu W.,University of Toronto | Li F.,University of Toronto | Bleich R.M.,Center for Integrative Chemical Biology and Drug Discovery | And 12 more authors.
Journal of Medicinal Chemistry | Year: 2014

The lysine methyltransferase SETD8 is the only known methyltransferase that catalyzes monomethylation of histone H4 lysine 20 (H4K20). Monomethylation of H4K20 has been implicated in regulating diverse biological processes including the DNA damage response. In addition to H4K20, SETD8 monomethylates non-histone substrates including proliferating cell nuclear antigen (PCNA) and promotes carcinogenesis by deregulating PCNA expression. However, selective inhibitors of SETD8 are scarce. The only known selective inhibitor of SETD8 to date is nahuoic acid A, a marine natural product, which is competitive with the cofactor. Here, we report the discovery of the first substrate-competitive inhibitor of SETD8, UNC0379 (1). This small-molecule inhibitor is active in multiple biochemical assays. Its affinity to SETD8 was confirmed by ITC (isothermal titration calorimetry) and SPR (surface plasmon resonance) studies. Importantly, compound 1 is selective for SETD8 over 15 other methyltransferases. We also describe structure-activity relationships (SAR) of this series. © 2014 American Chemical Society. Source


Zhang W.,Center for Integrative Chemical Biology and Drug Discovery | Deryckere D.,University of Colorado at Denver | Hunter D.,University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill | Liu J.,Center for Integrative Chemical Biology and Drug Discovery | And 15 more authors.
Journal of Medicinal Chemistry | Year: 2014

We previously reported a potent small molecule Mer tyrosine kinase inhibitor UNC1062. However, its poor PK properties prevented further assessment in vivo. We report here the sequential modification of UNC1062 to address DMPK properties and yield a new potent and highly orally bioavailable Mer inhibitor, 11, capable of inhibiting Mer phosphorylation in vivo, following oral dosing as demonstrated by pharmaco-dynamic (PD) studies examining phospho-Mer in leukemic blasts from mouse bone marrow. Kinome profiling versus more than 300 kinases in vitro and cellular selectivity assessments demonstrate that 11 has similar subnanomolar activity against Flt3, an additional important target in acute myelogenous leukemia (AML), with pharmacologically useful selectivity versus other kinases examined. © 2014 American Chemical Society. Source


Konze K.D.,Center for Integrative Chemical Biology and Drug Discovery | Ma A.,Center for Integrative Chemical Biology and Drug Discovery | Li F.,University of Toronto | Barsyte-Lovejoy D.,University of Toronto | And 18 more authors.
ACS Chemical Biology | Year: 2013

EZH2 or EZH1 is the catalytic subunit of the polycomb repressive complex 2 that catalyzes methylation of histone H3 lysine 27 (H3K27). The trimethylation of H3K27 (H3K27me3) is a transcriptionally repressive post-translational modification. Overexpression of EZH2 and hypertrimethylation of H3K27 have been implicated in a number of cancers. Several selective inhibitors of EZH2 have been reported recently. Herein we disclose UNC1999, the first orally bioavailable inhibitor that has high in vitro potency for wild-type and mutant EZH2 as well as EZH1, a closely related H3K27 methyltransferase that shares 96% sequence identity with EZH2 in their respective catalytic domains. UNC1999 was highly selective for EZH2 and EZH1 over a broad range of epigenetic and non-epigenetic targets, competitive with the cofactor SAM and non-competitive with the peptide substrate. This inhibitor potently reduced H3K27me3 levels in cells and selectively killed diffused large B cell lymphoma cell lines harboring the EZH2Y641N mutant. Importantly, UNC1999 was orally bioavailable in mice, making this inhibitor a valuable tool for investigating the role of EZH2 and EZH1 in chronic animal studies. We also designed and synthesized UNC2400, a close analogue of UNC1999 with potency >1,000-fold lower than that of UNC1999 as a negative control for cell-based studies. Finally, we created a biotin-tagged UNC1999 (UNC2399), which enriched EZH2 in pull-down studies, and a UNC1999-dye conjugate (UNC2239) for co-localization studies with EZH2 in live cells. Taken together, these compounds represent a set of useful tools for the biomedical community to investigate the role of EZH2 and EZH1 in health and disease. © 2013 American Chemical Society. Source


Liu F.,Center for Integrative Chemical Biology and Drug Discovery | Chen X.,Center for Integrative Chemical Biology and Drug Discovery | Allali-Hassani A.,University of Toronto | Quinn A.M.,Human Genome Research Institutes | And 17 more authors.
Journal of Medicinal Chemistry | Year: 2010

Protein lysine methyltransferase G9a, which catalyzes methylation of lysine 9 of histone H3 (H3K9) and lysine 373 (K373) of p53, is overexpressed in human cancers. Genetic knockdown of G9a inhibits cancer cell growth, and the dimethylation of p53 K373 results in the inactivation of p53. Initial SAR exploration of the 2,4-diamino-6,7-dimethoxyquinazoline template represented by 3a (BIX01294), a selective small molecule inhibitor of G9a and GLP, led to the discovery of 10 (UNC0224) as a potent G9a inhibitor with excellent selectivity. A high resolution X-ray crystal structure of the G9a?10 complex, the first cocrystal structure of G9a with a small molecule inhibitor, was obtained. On the basis of the structural insights revealed by this cocrystal structure, optimization of the 7-dimethylaminopropoxy side chain of 10 resulted in the discovery of 29 (UNC0321) (Morrison Ki = 63 pM), which is the first G9a inhibitor with picomolar potency and the most potent G9a inhibitor to date. © 2010 American Chemical Society. Source

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