Année de publication : 2015

Ly-Thuy-Tram Le, Morgane Couvet, Bertrand Favier, Jean-Luc Coll, Chi-Hung Nguyen, Annie Molla (2015 Sep 8)

Discovery of benzo[e]pyridoindolones as kinase inhibitors that disrupt mitosis exit while erasing AMPK-Thr172 phosphorylation on the spindle.

Oncotarget : 6 : 22152-22166 : DOI : 10.18632/oncotarget.4158 En savoir plus

Aurora kinases play an essential role in mitotic progression and are attractive targets in cancer therapy. The first generation of benzo[e]pyridoindole exhibited powerful aurora kinase inhibition but their low solubility limited further development. Grafting a pyperidine-ethoxy group gives rise to a hydrosoluble inhibitor: compound C5M.

C5M could efficiently inhibit the proliferation of cells from different origins. C5M prevented cell cycling, induced a strong mitotic arrest then, cells became polyploid and finally died. C5M did not impair the spindle checkpoint, the separation of the sister chromatids and the transfer of aurora B on the mid-zone. C5M prevented histone H3 phosphorylation at mitotic entry and erased AMPK-Thr172 phosphorylation in late mitosis. With this unique profile of inhibition, C5M could be useful for understanding the role of phospho-Thr172-AMPK in abscission and the relationship between the chromosomal complex and the energy sensing machinery.

C5M is a multikinase inhibitor with interesting preclinical characteristics: high hydro-solubility and a good stability in plasma. A single dose prevents the expansion of multicellular spheroids. C5M can safely be injected to mice and reduces significantly the development of xenograft. The next step will be to define the protocol of treatment and the cancer therapeutic field of this new anti-proliferative drug.

Guillaume Kellermann, Markus Kaiser, Florent Dingli, Olivier Lahuna, Delphine Naud-Martin, Florence Mahuteau-Betzer, Damarys Loew, Evelyne Ségal-Bendirdjian, Marie-Paule Teulade-Fichou, Sophie Bombard (2015 Sep 3)

Identification of human telomerase assembly inhibitors enabled by a novel method to produce hTERT.

Nucleic acids research : 43 : e99 : DOI : 10.1093/nar/gkv425 En savoir plus

Telomerase is the enzyme that maintains the length of telomeres. It is minimally constituted of two components: a core reverse transcriptase protein (hTERT) and an RNA (hTR). Despite its significance as an almost universal cancer target, the understanding of the structure of telomerase and the optimization of specific inhibitors have been hampered by the limited amount of enzyme available. Here, we present a breakthrough method to produce unprecedented amounts of recombinant hTERT and to reconstitute human telomerase with purified components. This system provides a decisive tool to identify regulators of the assembly of this ribonucleoprotein complex. It also enables the large-scale screening of small-molecules capable to interfere with telomerase assembly. Indeed, it has allowed us to identify a compound that inhibits telomerase activity when added prior to the assembly of the enzyme, while it has no effect on an already assembled telomerase. Therefore, the novel system presented here may accelerate the understanding of human telomerase assembly and facilitate the discovery of potent and mechanistically unique inhibitors.

Florence Mahuteau-Betzer (2015 May 12)

The French National Compound Library: advances and future prospects.

Médecine sciences : M/S : 31 : 417-422 : DOI : 10.1051/medsci/20153104016 En savoir plus

The French National Compound Library (Chimiothèque Nationale) has been created in 2003 and is the federation of local collections. It contains more than 56 000 small molecules and natural compounds synthesised or isolated in different laboratories over the past years. This explains the diversity of the collection. The strength of this initiative is the ability to connect chemists and biologists for the development of hits. This development involves the synthesis of analogues or/and chemical tools to find new targets. These collaborations lead to the identification of new chemical probes. These probes able to modulate a biological function are essential to study biological pathways. They can also be useful for therapeutic applications. This article will describe the major achievements and perspectives of the French Chemical Library.

Pierre-Olivier Vidalain, Marianne Lucas-Hourani, Olivier Helynck, Frédéric Tangy, Hélène Munier-Lehmann (2015 Feb 7)

Stimulation of the antiviral innate immune response by pyrimidine biosynthesis inhibitors: a surprise of phenotypic screening.

Medecine sciences : M/S : 31 : 98-104 : DOI : 10.1051/medsci/20153101019 En savoir plus

RNA viruses are responsible for major human diseases such as flu, bronchitis, dengue, hepatitis C or measles. They also represent an emerging threat because of increased worldwide exchanges and human populations penetrating more and more natural ecosystems. Recent progresses in our understanding of cellular pathways controlling viral replication suggest that compounds targeting host cell functions, rather than the virus itself, could inhibit a large panel of RNA viruses. In particular, several academic laboratories and private companies are now seeking molecules that stimulate the host innate antiviral response. One appealing strategy is to identify molecules that induce the large cluster of antiviral genes known as Interferon-Stimulated Genes (ISGs). To reach this goal, we have developed a phenotypic assay based on human cells transfected with a luciferase reporter gene under control of an interferon-stimulated response element (ISRE). This system was used in a high-throughput screening of chemical libraries comprising around 54,000 compounds. Among validated hits, compound DD264 was shown to boost the innate immune response in cell cultures, and displayed a broad-spectrum antiviral activity. While deciphering its mode of action, DD264 was found to target the fourth enzyme of de novo pyrimidine biosynthesis, namely the dihydroorotate dehydrogenase (DHODH). Thus, our data unraveled a yet unsuspected link between pyrimidine biosynthesis and the innate antiviral response.


Année de publication : 2014

Thi-My-Nhung Hoang, Hong-Lien Vu, Ly-Thuy-Tram Le, Chi-Hung Nguyen, Annie Molla (2014 May 17)

In vitro high throughput screening, what next? Lessons from the screening for aurora kinase inhibitors.

Biology : 3 : 167-175 : DOI : 10.3390/biology3010167 En savoir plus

Based on in vitro assays, we performed a High Throughput Screening (HTS) to identify kinase inhibitors among 10,000 small chemical compounds. In this didactic paper, we describe step-by-step the approach to validate the hits as well as the major pitfalls encountered in the development of active molecules. We propose a decision tree that could be adapted to most in vitro HTS.

Mutsuko Minata, Chunyu Gu, Kaushal Joshi, Mariko Nakano-Okuno, Christopher Hong, Chi-Hung Nguyen, Harley I Kornblum, Annie Molla, Ichiro Nakano (2014 Apr 18)

Multi-kinase inhibitor C1 triggers mitotic catastrophe of glioma stem cells mainly through MELK kinase inhibition.

PloS one : 9 : e92546 : DOI : 10.1371/journal.pone.0092546 En savoir plus

Glioblastoma multiforme (GBM) is a highly lethal brain tumor. Due to resistance to current therapies, patient prognosis remains poor and development of novel and effective GBM therapy is crucial. Glioma stem cells (GSCs) have gained attention as a therapeutic target in GBM due to their relative resistance to current therapies and potent tumor-initiating ability. Previously, we identified that the mitotic kinase maternal embryonic leucine-zipper kinase (MELK) is highly expressed in GBM tissues, specifically in GSCs, and its expression is inversely correlated with the post-surgical survival period of GBM patients. In addition, patient-derived GSCs depend on MELK for their survival and growth both in vitro and in vivo. Here, we demonstrate evidence that the role of MELK in the GSC survival is specifically dependent on its kinase activity. With in silico structure-based analysis for protein-compound interaction, we identified the small molecule Compound 1 (C1) is predicted to bind to the kinase-active site of MELK protein. Elimination of MELK kinase activity was confirmed by in vitro kinase assay in nano-molar concentrations. When patient-derived GSCs were treated with C1, they underwent mitotic arrest and subsequent cellular apoptosis in vitro, a phenotype identical to that observed with shRNA-mediated MELK knockdown. In addition, C1 treatment strongly induced tumor cell apoptosis in slice cultures of GBM surgical specimens and attenuated growth of mouse intracranial tumors derived from GSCs in a dose-dependent manner. Lastly, C1 treatment sensitizes GSCs to radiation treatment. Collectively, these data indicate that targeting MELK kinase activity is a promising approach to attenuate GBM growth by eliminating GSCs in tumors.


Année de publication : 2013

Marianne Lucas-Hourani, Daniel Dauzonne, Pierre Jorda, Gaëlle Cousin, Alexandru Lupan, Olivier Helynck, Grégory Caignard, Geneviève Janvier, Gwénaëlle André-Leroux, Samira Khiar, Nicolas Escriou, Philippe Desprès, Yves Jacob, Hélène Munier-Lehmann, Frédéric Tangy, Pierre-Olivier Vidalain (2013 Oct 8)

Inhibition of pyrimidine biosynthesis pathway suppresses viral growth through innate immunity.

PLoS pathogens : e1003678 : DOI : 10.1371/journal.ppat.1003678 En savoir plus

Searching for stimulators of the innate antiviral response is an appealing approach to develop novel therapeutics against viral infections. Here, we established a cell-based reporter assay to identify compounds stimulating expression of interferon-inducible antiviral genes. DD264 was selected out of 41,353 compounds for both its immuno-stimulatory and antiviral properties. While searching for its mode of action, we identified DD264 as an inhibitor of pyrimidine biosynthesis pathway. This metabolic pathway was recently identified as a prime target of broad-spectrum antiviral molecules, but our data unraveled a yet unsuspected link with innate immunity. Indeed, we showed that DD264 or brequinar, a well-known inhibitor of pyrimidine biosynthesis pathway, both enhanced the expression of antiviral genes in human cells. Furthermore, antiviral activity of DD264 or brequinar was found strictly dependent on cellular gene transcription, nuclear export machinery, and required IRF1 transcription factor. In conclusion, the antiviral property of pyrimidine biosynthesis inhibitors is not a direct consequence of pyrimidine deprivation on the virus machinery, but rather involves the induction of cellular immune response.

Ly-Thuy-Tram Le, Hong-Lien Vu, Chi-Hung Nguyen, Annie Molla (2013 Apr 26)

Basal aurora kinase B activity is sufficient for histone H3 phosphorylation in prophase.

Biology open : 2 : 379-386 : DOI : 10.1242/bio.20133079 En savoir plus

Histone H3 phosphorylation is the hallmark of mitosis deposited by aurora kinase B. Benzo[e]pyridoindoles are a family of potent, broad, ATP-competitive aurora kinase inhibitors. However, benzo[e]pyridoindole C4 only inhibits histone H3 phosphorylation in prophase but not in metaphase. Under the C4 treatment, the cells enter into mitosis with dephosphorylated histone H3, assemble chromosomes normally and progress to metaphase, and then to anaphase. C4 also induces lagging chromosome in anaphase but we demonstrated that these chromosome compaction defects are not related to the absence of H3 phosphorylation in prophase. As a result of C4 action, mitosis lasts longer and the cell cycle is slowed down. We reproduced the mitotic defects with reduced concentrations of potent pan aurora kinase as well as with a specific aurora B ATP-competitive inhibitor; we therefore propose that histone H3 phosphorylation and anaphase chromosome compaction involve the basal activity of aurora kinase B. Our data suggest that aurora kinase B is progressively activated at mitosis entry and at anaphase onset. The full activation of aurora kinase B by its partners, in prometaphase, induces a shift in the catalytic domain of aurora B that modifies its affinity for ATP. These waves of activation/deactivation of aurora B correspond to different conformations of the chromosomal complex revealed by FRAP. The presence of lagging chromosomes may have deleterious consequences on the daughter cells and, unfortunately, the situation may be encountered in patients receiving treatment with aurora kinase inhibitors.

Renaud Prudent, Émilie Vassal-Stermann, Chi-Hung Nguyen, Marjorie Mollaret, Jean Viallet, Agnès Desroches-Castan, Anne Martinez, Caroline Barette, Catherine Pillet, Glaucio Valdameri, Emmanuelle Soleilhac, Attilio Di Pietro, Jean-Jacques Feige, Marc Billaud, Jean-Claude Florent, Laurence Lafanechère (2013 Feb 2)

Azaindole derivatives are inhibitors of microtubule dynamics, with anti-cancer and anti-angiogenic activities.

British journal of pharmacology : 168 : 673-685 : DOI : 10.1111/j.1476-5381.2012.02230.x En savoir plus

Background and Purpose

Drugs targeting microtubules are commonly used for cancer treatment. However, the potency of microtubule inhibitors used clinically is limited by the emergence of resistance. We thus designed a strategy to find new cell‐permeable microtubule‐targeting agents.

Experimental Approach

Using a cell‐based assay designed to probe for microtubule polymerization status, we screened a chemical library and identified two azaindole derivatives, CM01 and CM02, as cell‐permeable microtubule‐depolymerizing agents. The mechanism of the anti‐tumour effects of these two compounds was further investigated both in vivo and in vitro.

Key Results

CM01 and CM02 induced G2/M cell cycle arrest and exerted potent cytostatic effects on several cancer cell lines including multidrug‐resistant (MDR) cell lines. In vitro experiments revealed that the azaindole derivatives inhibited tubulin polymerization and competed with colchicines for this effect, strongly indicating that tubulin is the cellular target of these azaindole derivatives. In vivo experiments, using a chicken chorioallantoic xenograft tumour assay, established that these compounds exert a potent anti‐tumour effect. Furthermore, an assay probing the growth of vessels out of endothelial cell spheroids showed that CM01 and CM02 exert anti‐angiogenic activities.

Conclusions and Implications

CM01 and CM02 are reversible microtubule‐depolymerizing agents that exert potent cytostatic effects on human cancer cells of diverse origins, including MDR cells. They were also shown to inhibit angiogenesis and tumour growth in chorioallantoic breast cancer xenografts. Hence, these azaindole derivatives are attractive candidates for further preclinical investigations.

Ly-Thuy-Tram Le, Hong-Lien Vu, Delphine Naud-Martin, Marianne Bombled, Chi-Hung Nguyen, Annie Molla (2013 Jan 3)

Hydrosoluble benzo[e]pyridoindolones as potent inhibitors of aurora kinases.

ChemMedChem : 8 : 289-96 : DOI : 10.1002/cmdc.201200479 En savoir plus

Aurora kinases play an essential role in mitotic progression and are potentially druggable targets in cancer therapy. We identified benzo[e]pyridoindoles (BePI) as powerful aurora kinase inhibitors. Their efficiency was demonstrated both in enzymatic inhibition studies and in cell culture assays. New BePI molecules were synthesized, and a structure-activity relationship study was conducted with the aim of improving the activity and solubility of the lead compound. Tetracyclic BePI derivatives are characterized by a particular curved shape, and the presence of an oxo group on the pyridine ring was found to be required for aurora kinase B inhibition. New hydrosoluble benzo[e]pyridoindolones were subsequently designed, and their efficacy was tested by a combination of cell-cycle analysis and time-lapse experiments in live cells. The most active BePI derivative, 13 b, inhibited the cell cycle, drove cells to polyploidy, and eventually induced apoptosis. It exhibited high antiproliferative activity in HeLa cells with an IC(50) value of 63 nM. Relative to compounds tested in clinical trials, this antiproliferative potency places 13 b among the top 10 aurora kinase inhibitors. Our results justify further in vivo evaluation in preclinical animal models of cancer.


Année de publication : 2012

Ada Collura, Laetitia Marisa, Diletta Trojan, Olivier Buhard, Anaïs Lagrange, Arnaud Saget, Marianne Bombled, Patricia Méchighel, Mira Ayadi, Martine Muleris, Aurélien de Reynies, Magali Svrcek, Jean-François Fléjou, Jean-Claude Florent, Florence Mahuteau-Betzer, Anne-Marie Faussat, Alex Duval (2012 Sep 26)

Extensive characterization of sphere models established from colorectal cancer cell lines.

Cellular and molecular life sciences : CMLS : 2 : 729-42 : DOI : 10.1007/s00018-012-1160-9 En savoir plus

Links between cancer and stem cells have been proposed for many years. As the cancer stem cell (CSC) theory became widely studied, new methods were developed to culture and expand cancer cells with conserved determinants of « stemness ». These cells show increased ability to grow in suspension as spheres in serum-free medium supplemented with growth factors and chemicals. The physiological relevance of this phenomenon in established cancer cell lines remains unclear. Cell lines have traditionally been used to explore tumor biology and serve as preclinical models for the screening of potential therapeutic agents. Here, we grew cell-forming spheres (CFS) from 25 established colorectal cancer cell lines. The molecular and cellular characteristics of CFS were compared to the bulk of tumor cells. CFS could be isolated from 72 % of the cell lines. Both CFS and their parental CRC cell lines were highly tumorigenic. Compared to their parental cells, they showed similar expression of putative CSC markers. The ability of CRC cells to grow as CFS was greatly enhanced by prior treatment with 5-fluorouracil. At the molecular level, CFS and parental CRC cells showed identical gene mutations and very similar genomic profiles, although microarray analysis revealed changes in CFS gene expression that were independent of DNA copy-number. We identified a CFS gene expression signature common to CFS from all CRC cell lines, which was predictive of disease relapse in CRC patients. In conclusion, CFS models derived from CRC cell lines possess interesting phenotypic features that may have clinical relevance for drug resistance and disease relapse.

Renaud Prudent, Emilie Vassal-Stermann, Chi-Hung Nguyen, Catherine Pillet, Anne Martinez, Chloé Prunier, Caroline Barette, Emmanuelle Soleilhac, Odile Filhol, Anne Beghin, Glaucio Valdameri, Stéphane Honoré, Samia Aci-Sèche, David Grierson, Juliana Antonipillai, Rong Li, Attilio Di Pietro, Charles Dumontet, Diane Braguer, Jean-Claude Florent, Stefan Knapp, Ora Bernard, Laurence Lafanechère (2012 Jul 5)

Pharmacological inhibition of LIM kinase stabilizes microtubules and inhibits neoplastic growth.

Cancer research : 72 : 4429-4439 : DOI : 10.1158/0008-5472.CAN-11-3342 En savoir plus

The emergence of tumor resistance to conventional microtubule-targeting drugs restricts their clinical use. Using a cell-based assay that recognizes microtubule polymerization status to screen for chemicals that interact with regulators of microtubule dynamics, we identified Pyr1, a cell permeable inhibitor of LIM kinase, which is the enzyme that phosphorylates and inactivates the actin-depolymerizing factor cofilin. Pyr1 reversibly stabilized microtubules, blocked actin microfilament dynamics, inhibited cell motility in vitro and showed anticancer properties in vivo, in the absence of major side effects. Pyr1 inhibition of LIM kinase caused a microtubule-stabilizing effect, which was independent of any direct effects on the actin cytoskeleton. In addition, Pyr1 retained its activity in multidrug-resistant cancer cells that were resistant to conventional microtubule-targeting agents. Our findings suggest that LIM kinase functions as a signaling node that controls both actin and microtubule dynamics. LIM kinase may therefore represent a targetable enzyme for cancer treatment.


Année de publication : 2011

Alexandre Ceccaldi, Arumugam Rajavelu, Christine Champion, Christine Rampon, Renata Jurkowska, Gytis Jankevicius, Catherine Sénamaud-Beaufort, Loïc Ponger, Nathalie Gagey, Hana Dali Ali, Jörg Tost, Sophie Vriz, Sindu Ros, Daniel Dauzonne, Albert Jeltsch, Dominique Guianvarc'h, Paola B Arimondo (2011 Jun 3)

C5-DNA methyltransferase inhibitors: from screening to effects on zebrafish embryo development.

Chembiochem : a European journal of chemical biology : 12 : 1337-45 : DOI : 10.1002/cbic.201100130 En savoir plus

DNA methylation is involved in the regulation of gene expression and plays an important role in normal developmental processes and diseases, such as cancer. DNA methyltransferases are the enzymes responsible for DNA methylation on the position 5 of cytidine in a CpG context. In order to identify and characterize novel inhibitors of these enzymes, we developed a fluorescence-based throughput screening by using a short DNA duplex immobilized on 96-well plates. We have screened 114 flavones and flavanones for the inhibition of the murine catalytic Dnmt3a/3L complex and found 36 hits with IC(50) values in the lower micromolar and high nanomolar ranges. The assay, together with inhibition tests on two other methyltransferases, structure-activity relationships and docking studies, gave insights on the mechanism of inhibition. Finally, two derivatives effected zebrafish embryo development, and induced a global demethylation of the genome, at doses lower than the control drug, 5-azacytidine.


Année de publication : 2010

Renaud Prudent, Virginie Moucadel, Chi-Hung Nguyen, Caroline Barette, Frédéric Schmidt, Jean-Claude Florent, Laurence Lafanechère, Céline F Sautel, Eve Duchemin-Pelletier, Elodie Spreux, Odile Filhol, Jean-Baptiste Reiser, Claude Cochet (2010 Dec 2)

Antitumor activity of pyridocarbazole and benzopyridoindole derivatives that inhibit protein kinase CK2.

Cancer research : 9865-74 : DOI : 10.1158/0008-5472.CAN-10-0917 En savoir plus

The alkyloid compound ellipticine derived from the berrywood tree is a topoisomerase II poison that is used in ovarian and breast cancer treatment. In this study, we report the identification of ellipticine derivatives and their tetracyclic angular benzopyridoindole analogues as novel ATP-competitive inhibitors of the protein kinase CK2. In vitro and in vivo assays showed that these compounds have a good pharmacologic profile, causing a marked inhibition of CK2 activity associated with cell cycle arrest and apoptosis in human cancer cells. Further, in vivo assays demonstrate antitumor activity in a mouse xenograft model of human glioblastoma. Finally, crystal structures of CK2-inhibitor complex provide structural insights on the molecular basis of CK2 inhibition. Our work lays the foundation for development of clinically useful CK2 inhibitors derived from a well-studied scaffold with suitable pharmacokinetics parameters.

Miriam López-Ramos, Renaud Prudent, Virginie Moucadel, Céline F Sautel, Caroline Barette, Laurence Lafanechère, Liliane Mouawad, David Grierson, Frédéric Schmidt, Jean-Claude Florent, Panagis Filippakopoulos, Alex N Bullock, Stefan Knapp, Jean-Baptiste Reiser, Claude Cochet (2010 Apr 20)

New potent dual inhibitors of CK2 and Pim kinases: discovery and structural insights.

FASEB journal : official publication of the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology : 3171-85 : DOI : 10.1096/fj.09-143743 En savoir plus

Protein kinase casein kinase 2 (CK2) is a serine/threonine kinase with evidence of implication in growth dysregulation and apoptosis resistance, making it a relevant target for cancer therapy. Several CK2 inhibitors have been developed showing variable efficiency, emphasizing the need to expand the chemical diversity of those inhibitors. We report the identification and characterization of 2,8-difurandicarboxylic acid derivatives as a new class of nanomolar ATP-competitive inhibitors. Selectivity profiling pointed out proviral insertion Moloney virus kinases (Pim kinases) as the only other kinases that are significantly inhibited. By combining structure-activity relationship analysis with structural determination, we were able to determine the binding mode of these inhibitors for both kinases and to explain their strong inhibitory potency. Essential chemical features necessary for activity on both kinases were then identified. The described compounds are not cell permeable: however, they could provide a lead for developing novel inhibitors usable also in vivo. Given the similar but not redundant pathophysiological functions of CK2 and Pim family members, such inhibitors would provide new attractive leads for targeted cancer therapy. This work highlights that 2 functionally related kinases from different kinome branches display exquisite sensitivity to a common inhibitor.