(2019). Structure-based development of new RAS-effector inhibitors from a combination of active and inactive RAS-binding compounds. Proceedings of the national academy of sciences of the united states of america,
The RAS gene family is frequently mutated in human cancers, and the quest for compounds that bind to mutant RAS remains a major goal, as it also does for inhibitors of protein-protein interactions. We have refined crystallization conditions for KRAS169 Q61H-yielding crystals suitable for soaking with compounds and exploited this to assess new RAS-binding compounds selected by screening a protein-protein interaction-focused compound library using surface plasmon resonance. Two compounds, referred to as PPIN-1 and PPIN-2, with related structures from 30 initial RAS binders showed binding to a pocket where compounds had been previously developed, including RAS effector protein-protein interaction inhibitors selected using an intracellular antibody fragment (called Abd compounds). Unlike the Abd series of RAS binders, PPIN-1 and PPIN-2 compounds were not competed by the inhibitory anti-RAS intracellular antibody fragment and did not show any RAS-effector inhibition properties. By fusing the common, anchoring part from the two new compounds with the inhibitory substituents of the Abd series, we have created a set of compounds that inhibit RAS-effector interactions with increased potency. These fused compounds add to the growing catalog of RAS protein-protein inhibitors and show that building a chemical series by crossing over two chemical series is a strategy to create RAS-binding small molecules..
(2019). Lipid-mRNA Nanoparticle Designed to Enhance Intracellular Delivery Mediated by Shock Waves. Acs applied materials & interfaces,
Cellular membranes are, in general, impermeable to macromolecules (herein referred to as macrodrugs, e.g., recombinant protein, expression plasmids, or mRNA), which is a major barrier for clinical translation of macrodrug-based therapies. Encapsulation of macromolecules in lipid nanoparticles (LNPs) can protect the therapeutic agent during transport through the body and facilitate the intracellular delivery via a fusion-based pathway. Furthermore, designing LNPs responsive to stimuli can make their delivery more localized, thus limiting the side effects. However, the principles and criteria for designing such nanoparticles remain unclear. We show that the thermodynamic state of the lipid membrane of the nanoparticle is a key design principle for acoustically responsive fusogenic nanoparticles. We have optimized a cationic LNP (designated LNP LH ) with two different phase transitions near physiological conditions for delivering mRNA. A bicistronic mRNA encoding a single domain intracellular antibody fragment and green fluorescent protein (GFP) was introduced into a range of human cancer cell types using LNP LH , and the protein expression was measured via fluorescence corresponding to the GFP expression. The LNP LH /mRNA complex demonstrated low toxicity and high delivery, which was significantly enhanced when the transfection occurred in the presence of acoustic shock waves. The results suggest that the thermodynamic state of LNPs provides an important criterion for stimulus responsive fusogenic nanoparticles to deliver macrodrugs to the inside of cells..
(2019). Surfaceome interrogation using an RNA-seq approach highlights leukemia initiating cell biomarkers in an LMO2 T cell transgenic model. Scientific reports,
The surfaceome is critical because surface proteins provide a gateway for internal signals and transfer of molecules into cells, and surfaceome differences can influence therapy response. We have used a surfaceome analysis method, based on comparing RNA-seq data between normal and abnormal cells (Surfaceome DataBase Mining or Surfaceome DBM), to identify sets of upregulated cell surface protein mRNAs in an LMO2-mediated T-ALL mouse model and corroborated by protein detection using antibodies. In this model the leukemia initiating cells (LICs) comprise pre-leukaemic, differentiation inhibited thymocytes allowing us to provide a profile of the LIC surfaceome in which GPR56, CD53 and CD59a are co-expressed with CD25. Implementation of cell surface interaction assays demonstrates fluid interaction of surface proteins and CD25 is only internalized when co-localized with other proteins. The Surfaceome DBM approach to analyse cancer cell surfaceomes is a way to find targetable surface biomarkers for clinical conditions where RNA-seq data from normal and abnormal cell are available..
(2019). Cancer cell killing by target antigen engagement with engineered complementary intracellular antibody single domains fused to pro-caspase3. Scientific reports,
Many tumour causing proteins, such as those expressed after chromosomal translocations or from point mutations, are intracellular and are not enzymes per se amenable to conventional drug targeting. We previously demonstrated an approach (Antibody-antigen Interaction Dependent Apoptosis (AIDA)) whereby a single anti-β-galactosidase intracellular single chain Fv antibody fragment, fused to inactive procaspase-3, induced auto-activation of caspase-3 after binding to the tetrameric β-galactosidase protein. We now demonstrate that co-expressing an anti-RAS heavy chain single VH domain, that binds to mutant RAS several thousand times more strongly than to wild type RAS, with a complementary light chain VL domain, caused programmed cell death (PCD) in mutant RAS expressing cells when each variable region is fused to procaspase-3. The effect requires binding of both anti-RAS variable region fragments and is RAS-specific, producing a tri-molecular complex that auto-activates the caspase pathway leading to cell death. AIDA can be generally applicable for any target protein inside cells by involving appropriate pairs of antigen-specific intracellular antibodies..
(2019). KRAS-specific inhibition using a DARPin binding to a site in the allosteric lobe. Nature communications,
Inhibiting the RAS oncogenic protein has largely been through targeting the switch regions that interact with signalling effector proteins. Here, we report designed ankyrin repeat proteins (DARPins) macromolecules that specifically inhibit the KRAS isoform by binding to an allosteric site encompassing the region around KRAS-specific residue histidine 95 at the helix α3/loop 7/helix α4 interface. We show that these DARPins specifically inhibit KRAS/effector interactions and the dependent downstream signalling pathways in cancer cells. Binding by the DARPins at that region influences KRAS/effector interactions in different ways, including KRAS nucleotide exchange and inhibiting KRAS dimerization at the plasma membrane. These results highlight the importance of targeting the α3/loop 7/α4 interface, a previously untargeted site in RAS, for specifically inhibiting KRAS function..
(2018). Small molecule inhibitors of RAS-effector protein interactions derived using an intracellular antibody fragment. Nature communications,
Targeting specific protein-protein interactions (PPIs) is an attractive concept for drug development, but hard to implement since intracellular antibodies do not penetrate cells and most small-molecule drugs are considered unsuitable for PPI inhibition. A potential solution to these problems is to select intracellular antibody fragments to block PPIs, use these antibody fragments for target validation in disease models and finally derive small molecules overlapping the antibody-binding site. Here, we explore this strategy using an anti-mutant RAS antibody fragment as a competitor in a small-molecule library screen for identifying RAS-binding compounds. The initial hits are optimized by structure-based design, resulting in potent RAS-binding compounds that interact with RAS inside the cells, prevent RAS-effector interactions and inhibit endogenous RAS-dependent signalling. Our results may aid RAS-dependent cancer drug development and demonstrate a general concept for developing small compounds to replace intracellular antibody fragments, enabling rational drug development to target validated PPIs..