UMR9187 / U1196 – Chimie et Modélisation pour la Biologie du Cancer (CMBC)

Publications de l’unité

Année de publication : 2019

Nathalie Grandin, Bruno Pereira, Camille Cohen, Pauline Billard, Caroline Dehais, Catherine Carpentier, Ahmed Idbaih, Franck Bielle, François Ducray, Dominique Figarella-Branger, Jean-Yves Delattre, Marc Sanson, Patrick Lomonte, Delphine Poncet, Pierre Verrelle, Michel Charbonneau, (2019 Nov 11)

The level of activity of the alternative lengthening of telomeres correlates with patient age in IDH-mutant ATRX-loss-of-expression anaplastic astrocytomas.

Acta neuropathologica communications : 7 : 175 : DOI : 10.1186/s40478-019-0833-0 En savoir plus
Résumé

All cancer cells need to maintain functional telomeres to sustain continuous cell division and proliferation. In human diffuse gliomas, functional telomeres are maintained due either to reactivation of telomerase expression, the main pathway in most cancer types, or to activation of a mechanism called the alternative lengthening of telomeres (ALT). The presence of IDH1/2 mutations (IDH-mutant) together with loss of ATRX expression (ATRX-lost) are frequently associated with ALT in diffuse gliomas. However, detection of ALT, and a fortiori its quantification, are rarely, if ever, measured in neuropathology laboratories. We measured the level of ALT activity using the previously described quantitative « C-circle » assay and analyzed it in a well characterized cohort of 104 IDH-mutant and ATRX-lost adult diffuse gliomas. We report that in IDH-mutant ATRX-lost anaplastic astrocytomas, the intensity of ALT was inversely correlated with age (p < 0.001), the younger the patient, the higher the intensity of ALT. Strikingly, glioblastomas having progressed from anaplastic astrocytomas did not exhibit this correlation. ALT activity level in the tumor did not depend on telomere length in healthy tissue cells from the same patient. In summary, we have uncovered the existence, in anaplastic astrocytomas but not in glioblastomas with the same IDH and ATRX mutations, of a correlation between patient age and the level of activity of ALT, a telomerase-independent pathway of telomere maintenance.

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Franck Court, Elisa Le Boiteux, Anne Fogli, Mélanie Müller-Barthélémy, Catherine Vaurs-Barrière, Emmanuel Chautard, Bruno Pereira, Julian Biau, Jean-Louis Kemeny, Toufic Khalil, Lucie Karayan-Tapon, Pierre Verrelle, Philippe Arnaud (2019 Sep 20)

Transcriptional alterations in glioma result primarily from DNA methylation-independent mechanisms.

Genome research : 29 : 1605-1621 : DOI : 10.1101/gr.249219.119 En savoir plus
Résumé

In cancer cells, aberrant DNA methylation is commonly associated with transcriptional alterations, including silencing of tumor suppressor genes. However, multiple epigenetic mechanisms, including polycomb repressive marks, contribute to gene deregulation in cancer. To dissect the relative contribution of DNA methylation-dependent and -independent mechanisms to transcriptional alterations at CpG island/promoter-associated genes in cancer, we studied 70 samples of adult glioma, a widespread type of brain tumor, classified according to their isocitrate dehydrogenase (IDH1) mutation status. We found that most transcriptional alterations in tumor samples were DNA methylation-independent. Instead, altered histone H3 trimethylation at lysine 27 (H3K27me3) was the predominant molecular defect at deregulated genes. Our results also suggest that the presence of a bivalent chromatin signature at CpG island promoters in stem cells predisposes not only to hypermethylation, as widely documented, but more generally to all types of transcriptional alterations in transformed cells. In addition, the gene expression strength in healthy brain cells influences the choice between DNA methylation- and H3K27me3-associated silencing in glioma. Highly expressed genes were more likely to be repressed by H3K27me3 than by DNA methylation. Our findings support a model in which altered H3K27me3 dynamics, more specifically defects in the interplay between polycomb protein complexes and the brain-specific transcriptional machinery, is the main cause of transcriptional alteration in glioma cells. Our study provides the first comprehensive description of epigenetic changes in glioma and their relative contribution to transcriptional changes. It may be useful for the design of drugs targeting cancer-related epigenetic defects.

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Angrand G., Quillévéré A., Loaëc N., Daskalogianni C., Granzhan A., Teulade-Fichou M.P., Fahraeus R., Prado Martins R., Blondel M. (2019 Sep 1)

Sneaking Out for Happy Hour: Yeast-Based Approaches to Explore and Modulate Immune Response and Immune Evasion

Genes : 10 : 667-689 : DOI : 10.3390/genes10090667 En savoir plus
Résumé

Many pathogens (virus, bacteria, fungi, or parasites) have developed a wide variety of mechanisms to evade their host immune system. The budding yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae has successfully been used to decipher some of these immune evasion strategies. This includes the cis-acting mechanism that limits the expression of the oncogenic Epstein–Barr virus (EBV)-encoded EBNA1 and thus of antigenic peptides derived from this essential but highly antigenic viral protein. Studies based on budding yeast have also revealed the molecular bases of epigenetic switching or recombination underlying the silencing of all except one members of extended families of genes that encode closely related and highly antigenic surface proteins. This mechanism is exploited by several parasites (that include pathogens such as Plasmodium, Trypanosoma, Candida, or Pneumocystis) to alternate their surface antigens, thereby evading the immune system. Yeast can itself be a pathogen, and pathogenic fungi such as Candida albicans, which is phylogenetically very close to S. cerevisiae, have developed stealthiness strategies that include changes in their cell wall composition, or epitope-masking, to control production or exposure of highly antigenic but essential polysaccharides in their cell wall. Finally, due to the high antigenicity of its cell wall, yeast has been opportunistically exploited to create adjuvants and vectors for vaccination.

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Abegão L.M.G., Fonseca R.D., Santos F.A., Rodrigues J.J., Kamada K., Mendonça C.R., Piguel S., De Boni L. (2019 Aug 23)

First molecular electronic hyperpolarizability of series of π-conjugated oxazole dyes in solution: an experimental and theoretical study

RSC Adv. : 9 : 26476-26482 : DOI : 10.1039/C9RA05246A En savoir plus
Résumé

In this work, we report the experimental and theoretical first molecular electronic hyperpolarizability (βHRS) of eleven π-conjugated oxazoles compounds in toluene medium. The Hyper-Rayleigh Scattering (HRS) technique allowed the determination of the experimental dynamic βHRS values, by exciting the compounds with a picosecond pulse trains from a Q-switched and mode-locked Nd:YAG laser tuned at 1064 nm. Theoretical predictions based on time-dependent density functional theory level using the Gaussian 09 program package were performed with three different functionals (B3LYP, CAM-B3LYP, and M06-2X), to calculate both static and dynamic theoretical βHRS values. Good accordance was found between the experimental and theoretical values, in particular for the CAM-B3LYP and M06-2X functionals.

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Michaela Krafcikova, Simon Dzatko, Coralie Caron, Anton Granzhan, Radovan Fiala, Tomas Loja, Marie-Paule Teulade-Fichou, Tomas Fessl, Robert Hänsel-Hertsch, Jean-Louis Mergny, Silvie Foldynova-Trantirkova, Lukas Trantirek (2019 Aug 9)

Monitoring DNA–Ligand Interactions in Living Human Cells Using NMR Spectroscopy

Journal of the American Chemical Society : 141 : 13281-13285 : DOI : 10.1021/jacs.9b03031 En savoir plus
Résumé

Studies on DNA–ligand interactions in the cellular environment are problematic due to the lack of suitable biophysical tools. To address this need, we developed an in-cell NMR-based approach for monitoring DNA–ligand interactions inside the nuclei of living human cells. Our method relies on the acquisition of NMR data from cells electroporated with preformed DNA–ligand complexes. The impact of the intracellular environment on the integrity of the complexes is assessed based on in-cell NMR signals from unbound and ligand-bound forms of a given DNA target. This technique was tested on complexes of two model DNA fragments and four ligands, namely, a representative DNA minor-groove binder (netropsin) and ligands binding DNA base-pairing defects (naphthalenophanes). In the latter case, we demonstrate that two of the three in vitro-validated ligands retain their ability to form stable interactions with their model target DNA in cellulo, whereas the third one loses this ability due to off-target interactions with genomic DNA and cellular metabolites. Collectively, our data suggest that direct evaluation of the behavior of drug-like molecules in the intracellular environment provides important insights into the development of DNA-binding ligands with desirable biological activity and minimal side effects resulting from off-target binding.

Monitoring DNA–Ligand Interactions in Living Human Cells Using NMR Spectroscopy

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Xiao Xie, Michela Zuffo, Marie-Paule Teulade-Fichou, Anton Granzhan (2019 Aug 6)

Identification of optimal fluorescent probes for G-quadruplex nucleic acids through systematic exploration of mono- and distyryl dye libraries

Beilstein Journal of Organic Chemistry : 15 : 1872–1889 : DOI : 10.3762/bjoc.15.183 En savoir plus
Résumé

A library of 52 distyryl and 9 mono-styryl cationic dyes was synthesized and investigated with respect to their optical properties, propensity to aggregation in aqueous medium, and capacity to serve as fluorescence “light-up” probes for G-quadruplex (G4) DNA and RNA structures. Among the 61 compounds, 57 dyes showed preferential enhancement of fluorescence intensity in the presence of one or another G4-DNA or RNA structure, while no dye displayed preferential response to double-stranded DNA or single-stranded RNA analytes employed at equivalent nucleotide concentration. Thus, preferential fluorimetric response towards G4 structures appears to be a common feature of mono- and distyryl dyes, including long-known mono-styryl dyes used as mitochondrial probes or protein stains. However, the magnitude of the G4-induced “light-up” effect varies drastically, as a function of both the molecular structure of the dyes and the nature or topology of G4 analytes. Although our results do not allow to formulate comprehensive structure–properties relationships, we identified several structural motifs, such as indole- or pyrrole-substituted distyryl dyes, as well as simple mono-stryryl dyes such as DASPMI [2-(4-(dimethylamino)styryl)-1-methylpyridinium iodide] or its 4-isomer, as optimal fluorescent light-up probes characterized by high fluorimetric response (I/I0 of up to 550-fold), excellent selectivity with respect to double-stranded DNA or single-stranded RNA controls, high quantum yield in the presence of G4 analytes (up to 0.32), large Stokes shift (up to 150 nm) and, in certain cases, structural selectivity with respect to one or another G4 folding topology. These dyes can be considered as promising G4-responsive sensors for in vitro or imaging applications. As a possible application, we implemented a simple two-dye fluorimetric assay allowing rapid topological classification of G4-DNA structures.

Identification of optimal fluorescent probes for G-quadruplex nucleic acids

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Birzu C., Hillairet A., Giry M., Grandin N., Verrelle P., Mokhtari K., Marie Y., Hoang-Xuan K., Delattre J., Idbaih A., Charbonneau M., Sanson M., Alentorn A. (2019 Aug 1)

OS9.7 Telomere length, TERTp mutation and ALT status in adult diffuse gliomas

Neuro-Oncology : 21 : iii19-iii20 : DOI : 10.1093/neuonc/noz126.065 En savoir plus
Résumé

BACKGROUND

The current classification of adult diffuse gliomas integrates two alternative telomere maintenance mechanisms: reactivation of telomerase activity by TERT promoter (TERTp) mutations or ATRX mutations associated with alternative length telomere (ALT). We investigated here the relation between these two mechanisms, telomere length, and outcome in a large series of diffuse gliomas.

MATERIAL AND METHODS

We performed C-circle assay (CCA) to determine ALT status, determined telomere length in tumor (RTLt) and leukocyte (RTLl) in a cohort of 354 adult diffuse gliomas, and sequenced ATRX gene. We calculated an age-adjusted telomere score considering tumor and leukocyte (blood) telomere length and corrected by age. This score was used in univariate and multivariate survival analyses to evaluate the potential impact of telomere length on the prognosis of gliomas. We used the TCGA LGG-GBM dataset to validate our findings in an independent cohort.

RESULTS

RTLl and RTLt were associated with ATRX mutation and ALT phenotype, and negatively associated with age and TERTp mutations. ATRX mutations (found in 52% (64/123) of samples) were mostly transitions (C>T or T>C), and were associated with ALT phenotype. None of 1p/19q co-deleted oligodendrogliomas harbored an ALT phenotype. No patients with TERTp mutations had ALT phenotype except for a very small subgroup of patients (3/87, 3.4%) suggesting that multiple ways of telomere maintenance, may co-exist in a single tumor, probably expressed in different clones. Telomere age-adjusted score was independently associated with better outcome (HR= 0.73 [95% CI 0.56–0.97], p-value 0.03 adjusted for age, TERTp mutation, IDH mutation, 1p/19q co-deletion and WHO grade). These results were validated using the LGG-GBM TCGA dataset.

CONCLUSION

We unravel the relation between RTLl and RTLt, TERTp mutation and ALT phenotype and describe a novel telomere age-adjusted score independently associated with better prognosis in adult diffuse gliomas.

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Paulina Prorok, Marie Artufel, Antoine Aze, Philippe Coulombe, Isabelle Peiffer, Laurent Lacroix, Aurore Guédin, Jean-Louis Mergny, Julia Damaschke, Aloys Schepers, Christelle Cayrou, Marie-Paule Teulade-Fichou, Benoit Ballester, Marcel Méchali (2019 Jul 24)

Involvement of G-quadruplex regions in mammalian replication origin activity.

Nature communications : 10 : 3274 : DOI : 10.1038/s41467-019-11104-0 En savoir plus
Résumé

Genome-wide studies of DNA replication origins revealed that origins preferentially associate with an Origin G-rich Repeated Element (OGRE), potentially forming G-quadruplexes (G4). Here, we functionally address their requirements for DNA replication initiation in a series of independent approaches. Deletion of the OGRE/G4 sequence strongly decreased the corresponding origin activity. Conversely, the insertion of an OGRE/G4 element created a new replication origin. This element also promoted replication of episomal EBV vectors lacking the viral origin, but not if the OGRE/G4 sequence was deleted. A potent G4 ligand, PhenDC3, stabilized G4s but did not alter the global origin activity. However, a set of new, G4-associated origins was created, whereas suppressed origins were largely G4-free. In vitro Xenopus laevis replication systems showed that OGRE/G4 sequences are involved in the activation of DNA replication, but not in the pre-replication complex formation. Altogether, these results converge to the functional importance of OGRE/G4 elements in DNA replication initiation.

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E. Bayart, A. Flacco, O. Delmas, L. Pommarel, D. Levy, M. Cavallone, F. Megnin-Chanet, E. Deutsch & V. Malka (2019 Jul 12)

Fast dose fractionation using ultra-short laser accelerated proton pulses can increase cancer cell mortality, which relies on functional PARP1 protein

Scientific Reports : 9 : 10132 : DOI : 10.1038/s41598-019-46512-1 En savoir plus
Résumé

Radiotherapy is a cornerstone of cancer management. The improvement of spatial dose distribution in the tumor volume by minimizing the dose deposited in the healthy tissues have been a major concern during the last decades. Temporal aspects of dose deposition are yet to be investigated. Laser-plasma-based particle accelerators are able to emit pulsed-proton beams at extremely high peak dose rates (~109 Gy/s) during several nanoseconds. The impact of such dose rates on resistant glioblastoma cell lines, SF763 and U87-MG, was compared to conventionally accelerated protons and X-rays. No difference was observed in DNA double-strand breaks generation and cells killing. The variation of the repetition rate of the proton bunches produced an oscillation of the radio-induced cell susceptibility in human colon carcinoma HCT116 cells, which appeared to be related to the presence of the PARP1 protein and an efficient parylation process. Interestingly, when laser-driven proton bunches were applied at 0.5 Hz, survival of the radioresistant HCT116 p53−/− cells equaled that of its radiosensitive counterpart, HCT116 WT, which was also similar to cells treated with the PARP1 inhibitor Olaparib. Altogether, these results suggest that the application modality of ultrashort bunches of particles could provide a great therapeutic potential in radiotherapy.

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Emilia Puig Lombardi, Allyson Holmes, Daniela Verga, Marie-Paule Teulade-Fichou, Alain Nicolas, Arturo Londoño-Vallejo (2019 Jul 9)

Thermodynamically stable and genetically unstable G-quadruplexes are depleted in genomes across species.

Nucleic acids research : 47 : 6098-6113 : DOI : 10.1093/nar/gkz463 En savoir plus
Résumé

G-quadruplexes play various roles in multiple biological processes, which can be positive when a G4 is involved in the regulation of gene expression or detrimental when the folding of a stable G4 impairs DNA replication promoting genome instability. This duality interrogates the significance of their presence within genomes. To address the potential biased evolution of G4 motifs, we analyzed their occurrence, features and polymorphisms in a large spectrum of species. We found extreme bias of the short-looped G4 motifs, which are the most thermodynamically stable in vitro and thus carry the highest folding potential in vivo. In the human genome, there is an over-representation of single-nucleotide-loop G4 motifs (G4-L1), which are highly conserved among humans and show a striking excess of the thermodynamically least stable G4-L1A (G3AG3AG3AG3) sequences. Functional assays in yeast showed that G4-L1A caused the lowest levels of both spontaneous and G4-ligand-induced instability. Analyses across 600 species revealed the depletion of the most stable G4-L1C/T quadruplexes in most genomes in favor of G4-L1A in vertebrates or G4-L1G in other eukaryotes. We discuss how these trends might be the result of species-specific mutagenic processes associated to a negative selection against the most stable motifs, thus neutralizing their detrimental effects on genome stability while preserving positive G4-associated biological roles.

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Oksana Reznichenko, Alicia Quillévéré, Rodrigo Prado Martins, Nadège Loaëc, Hang Kang, María José Lista, Claire Beauvineau, Jorge González-García, Régis Guillot, Cécile Voisset, Chrysoula Daskalogianni, Robin Fåhraeus, Marie-Paule Teulade-Fichou, Marc Blondel, Anton Granzhan (2019 May 23)

Novel cationic bis(acylhydrazones) as modulators of Epstein–Barr virus immune evasion acting through disruption of interaction between nucleolin and G-quadruplexes of EBNA1 mRNA

European Journal of Medicinal Chemistry : 178 : 13-29 : DOI : 10.1016/j.ejmech.2019.05.042 En savoir plus
Résumé

EurJMedChem-2019-F

The oncogenic Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) evades the immune system through limiting the expression of its highly antigenic and essential genome maintenance protein, EBNA1, to the minimal level to ensure viral genome replication, thereby also minimizing the production of EBNA1-derived antigenic peptides. This regulation is based on inhibition of translation of the virally-encoded EBNA1 mRNA, and involves the interaction of host protein nucleolin (NCL) with G-quadruplex (G4) structures that form in the glycine–alanine repeat (GAr)-encoding sequence of the EBNA1 mRNA. Ligands that bind to these G4-RNA can prevent their interaction with NCL, leading to disinhibition of EBNA1 expression and antigen presentation, thereby interfering with the immune evasion of EBNA1 and therefore of EBV (M.J. Lista et al., Nature Commun., 2017, 8, 16043). In this work, we synthesized and studied a series of 20 cationic bis(acylhydrazone) derivatives designed as G4 ligands. The in vitro evaluation showed that most derivatives based on central pyridine (Py), naphthyridine (Naph) or phenanthroline (Phen) units were efficient G4 binders, in contrast to their pyrimidine (Pym) counterparts, which were poor G4 binders due to a significantly different molecular geometry. The influence of lateral heterocyclic units (N-substituted pyridinium or quinolinium residues) on G4-binding properties was also investigated. Two novel compounds, namely PyDH2 and PhenDH2, used at a 5 μM concentration, were able to significantly enhance EBNA1 expression in H1299 cells in a GAr-dependent manner, while being significantly less toxic than the prototype drug PhenDC3 (GI50 > 50 μM). Antigen presentation, RNA pull-down and proximity ligation assays confirmed that the effect of both drugs was related to the disruption of NCL–EBNA1 mRNA interaction and the subsequent promotion of GAr-restricted antigen presentation. Our work provides a novel modular scaffold for the development of G-quadruplex-targeting drugs acting through interference with G4–protein interaction.

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El Hassen Mokrani, Abderrahmane Bensegueni, Ludovic Chaput, Claire Beauvineau, Hanane Djeghim, Liliane Mouawad (2019 May 1)

Identification of New Potent Acetylcholinesterase Inhibitors Using Virtual Screening and In Vitro Approaches.

Molecular informatics : 38 : 1800118 : DOI : 10.1002/minf.201800118 En savoir plus
Résumé

Acetylcholinesterase (AChE) is currently the most favorable target for the symptomatic treatment and reduction of Alzheimer’s disease (AD). In order to identify new potent inhibitors of this enzyme, we describe herein a new structure‐based virtual screening (SBVS) using the Institut Curie‐CNRS chemical library (ICCL), which contained at the screening date 14307 compounds. The strategy undertaken in this work consisted of the use of several docking programs in SBVS calculations followed by the application of a consensus method (vSDC) and a scrupulous visual analysis. It allowed us to obtain a high degree of success, with a yield of almost 86 %, since 12 hits were identified among only 14 molecules tested in vitro. Still more remarkably, 6 of these hits were more active than galantamine, the reference inhibitor. These hits were predicted to have good ADMET properties. The two most promising compounds can serve as leads for AD treatment.

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Katerina Duskova, Jérémy Lamarche, Souheila Amor, Coralie Caron, Nicolas Queyriaux, Marie Gaschard, Marie-Jose Penouilh, Guillaume De Robillard, Dominique Delmas, Charles H Devillers, Anton Granzhan, Marie-Paule Teulade-Fichou, Murielle Chavarot-Kerlidou, Bruno Therrien, Sébastien Britton, David Monchaud (2019 Apr 3)

Identification of three-way DNA junction ligands through screening of chemical libraries and validation by complementary in vitro assays.

Journal of Medicinal Chemistry : 62 : 4456-4466 : DOI : 10.1021/acs.jmedchem.8b01978 En savoir plus
Résumé

The human genome is replete with repetitive DNA sequences that can fold into thermodynamically stable secondary structures such as hairpins and quadruplexes. Cellular enzymes exist to cope with these structures whose stable accumulation would result in DNA damage through interference with DNA transactions such as transcription and replication. Therefore, chemical stabilization of secondary DNA structures offers an attractive way to foster DNA transaction-associated damages to trigger cell death in proliferating cancer cells. While much emphasis has been recently given to DNA quadruplexes, we focused here on three-way DNA junctions (TWJ) and report on a strategy to identify TWJ-targeting agents through a combination of in vitro techniques (TWJ-Screen, PAGE, FRET-melting, ESI-MS, dialysis equilibrium and SRB assays). We designed a complete workflow and screened 1200 compounds to identify promising three-way DNA junction ligands selected on stringent criteria in terms of TWJ folding ability, affinity and selectivity.

GA-JMedChem-2019

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Paul D., Marchand A., Verga D., Bombard S., Teulade-Fichou M.P., Rosu F., Gabelica V. (2019 Feb 28)

Probing Ligand and Cation Binding Sites in G-Quadruplex Nucleic Acids by Mass Spectrometry and Electron Photodetachment Dissociation Sequencing

Analyst : 144 : 3518-3524 : DOI : 10.1039/C9AN00398C En savoir plus
Résumé

Mass spectrometry provides exquisite detail on ligand and cation binding stoichiometries with a DNA target. The next important step is to develop reliable methods to determine the cation and ligand binding sites in each complex separated by the mass spectrometer. To circumvent the caveat of ligand derivatization for cross-linking, which may alter the ligand binding mode, we explored a tandem mass spectrometry (MS/MS) method that does not require ligand derivatization, and is therefore also applicable to localize metal cations. By obtaining more negative charge states for the complexes using supercharging agents, and by creating radical ions by electron photodetachment, oligonucleotide bonds become weaker than the DNA-cation or DNA-ligand noncovalent bonds upon collision-induced dissociation of the radicals. This electron photodetachment (EPD) method allows to locate the binding regions of cations and ligands by top-down sequencing of the oligonucleotide target. The very potent G-quadruplex ligands 360A and PhenDC3 were found to replace a potassium cation and bind close to the central loop of 4-repeat human telomeric sequences.

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Daghildjian K., Kasselouri A., N’Diaye M., Michel J.P., Vergnaud J., Poyer F., Maillard P., Rosilio V. (2019 Feb 23)

Mannose distribution in glycoconjugated tetraphenylporphyrins governs their uptake mechanism and phototoxicity

Journal of Porphyrins and Phthalocyanines : 23 : 175-184 : DOI : 10.1142/S1088424619500184 En savoir plus
Résumé

Tetraphenylporphyrins (TPPs) have been proposed for the treatment of retinoblastoma by photodynamic therapy. Glycoconjugated compounds were synthesized for improving TPP solubility and amphipathy, and to specifically target mannose receptors overexpressed at the surface of cells. The efficiency of four TPP derivatives with different chemical structures was compared by phototoxicity tests and flow cytometry experiments. Interestingly, the absence/presence and distribution of saccharide moieties in the various compounds affected differently their mechanism of interaction with cancer cells and their phototoxic efficiency. For glycodendrimeric TPP-1 and TPP-2 incubated with retinoblastoma cells, a fast two-step uptake-equilibrium process was observed, whereas for a dendrimeric TPP without saccharide moieties (TPP-1c) and a glycoconjugated compound with no dendrimeric structure (TPP(DegMan)3) uptake was very slow. The difference in uptake profiles and kinetics between TPP-1c on the one hand and TPP-1 and TPP-2 on the other hand would account for the interaction of the two glycodendrimeric compounds with a mannose receptor. These TPPs encapsulated in endosomes would induce less damage to cells upon illumination. TPP(DegMan)3 showed the highest phototoxicity, but its efficiency was unaffected by pretreatment of cells by mannan. The penetration of this glycoconjugated compound in cells and its phototoxic effect appeared independent of its interaction with a mannose receptor. Thus, if glycoconjugation influenced TPPs behavior in solution and interaction with serum proteins, phototoxicity was not necessarily related to upfront molecular recognition.

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