Publications by authors named "Alex B Burgin"

38 Publications

Phenotypic Characterization of a Comprehensive Set of MAPK1/ERK2 Missense Mutants.

Cell Rep 2016 10;17(4):1171-1183

The Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard, Cambridge, MA 02142, USA. Electronic address:

Tumor-specific genomic information has the potential to guide therapeutic strategies and revolutionize patient treatment. Currently, this approach is limited by an abundance of disease-associated mutants whose biological functions and impacts on therapeutic response are uncharacterized. To begin to address this limitation, we functionally characterized nearly all (99.84%) missense mutants of MAPK1/ERK2, an essential effector of oncogenic RAS and RAF. Using this approach, we discovered rare gain- and loss-of-function ERK2 mutants found in human tumors, revealing that, in the context of this assay, mutational frequency alone cannot identify all functionally impactful mutants. Gain-of-function ERK2 mutants induced variable responses to RAF-, MEK-, and ERK-directed therapies, providing a reference for future treatment decisions. Tumor-associated mutations spatially clustered in two ERK2 effector-recruitment domains yet produced mutants with opposite phenotypes. This approach articulates an allele-characterization framework that can be scaled to meet the goals of genome-guided oncology.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.celrep.2016.09.061DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5120861PMC
October 2016

Identification of cancer-cytotoxic modulators of PDE3A by predictive chemogenomics.

Nat Chem Biol 2016 Feb 14;12(2):102-8. Epub 2015 Dec 14.

The Broad Institute of Harvard and MIT, Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA.

High cancer death rates indicate the need for new anticancer therapeutic agents. Approaches to discovering new cancer drugs include target-based drug discovery and phenotypic screening. Here, we identified phosphodiesterase 3A modulators as cell-selective cancer cytotoxic compounds through phenotypic compound library screening and target deconvolution by predictive chemogenomics. We found that sensitivity to 6-(4-(diethylamino)-3-nitrophenyl)-5-methyl-4,5-dihydropyridazin-3(2H)-one, or DNMDP, across 766 cancer cell lines correlates with expression of the gene PDE3A, encoding phosphodiesterase 3A. Like DNMDP, a subset of known PDE3A inhibitors kill selected cancer cells, whereas others do not. Furthermore, PDE3A depletion leads to DNMDP resistance. We demonstrated that DNMDP binding to PDE3A promotes an interaction between PDE3A and Schlafen 12 (SLFN12), suggestive of a neomorphic activity. Coexpression of SLFN12 with PDE3A correlates with DNMDP sensitivity, whereas depletion of SLFN12 results in decreased DNMDP sensitivity. Our results implicate PDE3A modulators as candidate cancer therapeutic agents and demonstrate the power of predictive chemogenomics in small-molecule discovery.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/nchembio.1984DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4718766PMC
February 2016

Phage Phenomics: Physiological Approaches to Characterize Novel Viral Proteins.

J Vis Exp 2015 Jun 11(100):e52854. Epub 2015 Jun 11.

Department of Biology, San Diego State University.

Current investigations into phage-host interactions are dependent on extrapolating knowledge from (meta)genomes. Interestingly, 60 - 95% of all phage sequences share no homology to current annotated proteins. As a result, a large proportion of phage genes are annotated as hypothetical. This reality heavily affects the annotation of both structural and auxiliary metabolic genes. Here we present phenomic methods designed to capture the physiological response(s) of a selected host during expression of one of these unknown phage genes. Multi-phenotype Assay Plates (MAPs) are used to monitor the diversity of host substrate utilization and subsequent biomass formation, while metabolomics provides bi-product analysis by monitoring metabolite abundance and diversity. Both tools are used simultaneously to provide a phenotypic profile associated with expression of a single putative phage open reading frame (ORF). Representative results for both methods are compared, highlighting the phenotypic profile differences of a host carrying either putative structural or metabolic phage genes. In addition, the visualization techniques and high throughput computational pipelines that facilitated experimental analysis are presented.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3791/52854DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4544906PMC
June 2015

Non-helical DNA Triplex Forms a Unique Aptamer Scaffold for High Affinity Recognition of Nerve Growth Factor.

Structure 2015 Jul 28;23(7):1293-304. Epub 2015 May 28.

SomaLogic, Inc., 2945 Wilderness Place, Boulder, CO 80301, USA. Electronic address:

Discerning the structural building blocks of macromolecules is essential for understanding their folding and function. For a new generation of modified nucleic acid ligands (called slow off-rate modified aptamers or SOMAmers), we previously observed essential functions of hydrophobic aromatic side chains in the context of well-known nucleic acid motifs. Here we report a 2.45-Å resolution crystal structure of a SOMAmer complexed with nerve growth factor that lacks any known nucleic acid motifs, instead adopting a configuration akin to a triangular prism. The SOMAmer utilizes extensive hydrophobic stacking interactions, non-canonical base pairing and irregular purine glycosidic bond angles to adopt a completely non-helical, compact S-shaped structure. Aromatic side chains contribute to folding by creating an unprecedented intercalating zipper-like motif and a prominent hydrophobic core. The structure provides compelling rationale for potent inhibitory activity of the SOMAmer and adds entirely novel motifs to the repertoire of structural elements uniquely available to SOMAmers.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.str.2015.03.027DOI Listing
July 2015

A Maltose-Binding Protein Fusion Construct Yields a Robust Crystallography Platform for MCL1.

PLoS One 2015 24;10(4):e0125010. Epub 2015 Apr 24.

The Broad Institute, Cambridge, Massachusetts, United States of America.

Crystallization of a maltose-binding protein MCL1 fusion has yielded a robust crystallography platform that generated the first apo MCL1 crystal structure, as well as five ligand-bound structures. The ability to obtain fragment-bound structures advances structure-based drug design efforts that, despite considerable effort, had previously been intractable by crystallography. In the ligand-independent crystal form we identify inhibitor binding modes not observed in earlier crystallographic systems. This MBP-MCL1 construct dramatically improves the structural understanding of well-validated MCL1 ligands, and will likely catalyze the structure-based optimization of high affinity MCL1 inhibitors.
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http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0125010PLOS
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4409056PMC
April 2016

Phosphodiesterase-4 (PDE4) molecular pharmacology and Alzheimer's disease.

Neurotherapeutics 2015 Jan;12(1):49-56

Tetra Discovery Partners, Grand Rapids, MI, USA,

Between 20% and 25% of patients diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease (AD) do not have amyloid burden as assessed by positron emission tomography imaging. Thus, there is a need for nonamyloid-directed therapies for AD, especially for those patients with non-amyloid AD. The family of phosphodiesterase-4 (PDE4) enzymes are underexploited therapeutic targets for central nervous system indications. While the PDE4A, B, and D subtypes are expressed in brain, the strict amino acid sequence conservation of the active site across the four subtypes of PDE4 has made it difficult to discover subtype inhibitors. The recent elucidation of the structure of the PDE4 N- and C-terminal regulatory domains now makes it possible to design subtype-selective, negative allosteric modulators (PDE4-NAMs). These act through closing the N-terminal UCR2 or C-terminal CR3 regulatory domains, and thereby inhibit the enzyme by blocking access of cyclic adenosine monophosphate (cAMP) to the active site. PDE4B-NAMs have the potential to reduce neuroinflammation by dampening microglia cytokine production triggered by brain amyloid, while PDE4D-NAMs have potent cognitive benefit by augmenting signaling through the cAMP/protein kinase A/cAMP response element-binding protein (CREB) pathway for memory consolidation. The importance of PDE4D for human cognition is underscored by the recent discovery of PDE4D mutations in acrodysostosis (ACRDY2: MIM 600129), an ultra rare disorder associated with intellectual disability. Thus, the family of PDE4 enzymes provides rich opportunities for the development of mechanistically novel drugs to treat neuroinflammation or the cognitive deficits in AD.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s13311-014-0309-7DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4322084PMC
January 2015

Discovery of triazines as selective PDE4B versus PDE4D inhibitors.

Bioorg Med Chem Lett 2014 Aug 12;24(16):4031-4. Epub 2014 Jun 12.

Tetra Discovery Partners LLC, Grand Rapids, MI, USA; Department of Basic Pharmaceutical Sciences, West Virginia University, Morgantown, WV, USA. Electronic address:

In this study we report a series of triazine derivatives that are potent inhibitors of PDE4B. We also provide a series of structure activity relationships that demonstrate the triazine core can be used to generate subtype selective inhibitors of PDE4B versus PDE4D. A high resolution co-crystal structure shows that the inhibitors interact with a C-terminal regulatory helix (CR3) locking the enzyme in an inactive 'closed' conformation. The results show that the compounds interact with both catalytic domain and CR3 residues. This provides the first structure-based approach to engineer PDE4B-selective inhibitors.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.bmcl.2014.06.002DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4142572PMC
August 2014

Structural basis for the design of selective phosphodiesterase 4B inhibitors.

Cell Signal 2014 Mar 19;26(3):657-63. Epub 2013 Dec 19.

Tetra Discovery Partners, Grand Rapids, MI, USA; Basic Pharmaceutical Sciences, West Virginia University, Morgantown, WV, USA. Electronic address:

Phosphodiesterase-4B (PDE4B) regulates the pro-inflammatory Toll Receptor -Tumor Necrosis Factor α (TNFα) pathway in monocytes, macrophages and microglial cells. As such, it is an important, although under-exploited molecular target for anti-inflammatory drugs. This is due in part to the difficulty of developing selective PDE4B inhibitors as the amino acid sequence of the PDE4 active site is identical in all PDE4 subtypes (PDE4A-D). We show that highly selective PDE4B inhibitors can be designed by exploiting sequence differences outside the active site. Specifically, PDE4B selectivity can be achieved by capture of a C-terminal regulatory helix, now termed CR3 (Control Region 3), across the active site in a conformation that closes access by cAMP. PDE4B selectivity is driven by a single amino acid polymorphism in CR3 (Leu674 in PDE4B1 versus Gln594 in PDE4D). The reciprocal mutations in PDE4B and PDE4D cause a 70-80 fold shift in selectivity. Our structural studies show that CR3 is flexible and can adopt multiple orientations and multiple registries in the closed conformation. The new co-crystal structure with bound ligand provides a guide map for the design of PDE4B selective anti-inflammatory drugs.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.cellsig.2013.12.003DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4057648PMC
March 2014

Structure and function of a cyanophage-encoded peptide deformylase.

ISME J 2013 Jun 14;7(6):1150-60. Epub 2013 Feb 14.

Department of Biology, San Diego State University, San Diego, CA 92182-7720, USA.

Bacteriophages encode auxiliary metabolic genes that support more efficient phage replication. For example, cyanophages carry several genes to maintain host photosynthesis throughout infection, shuttling the energy and reducing power generated away from carbon fixation and into anabolic pathways. Photodamage to the D1/D2 proteins at the core of photosystem II necessitates their continual replacement. Synthesis of functional proteins in bacteria requires co-translational removal of the N-terminal formyl group by a peptide deformylase (PDF). Analysis of marine metagenomes to identify phage-encoded homologs of known metabolic genes found that marine phages carry PDF genes, suggesting that their expression during infection might benefit phage replication. We identified a PDF homolog in the genome of Synechococcus cyanophage S-SSM7. Sequence analysis confirmed that it possesses the three absolutely conserved motifs that form the active site in PDF metalloproteases. Phylogenetic analysis placed it within the Type 1B subclass, most closely related to the Arabidopsis chloroplast PDF, but lacking the C-terminal α-helix characteristic of that group. PDF proteins from this phage and from Synechococcus elongatus were expressed and characterized. The phage PDF is the more active enzyme and deformylates the N-terminal tetrapeptides from D1 proteins more efficiently than those from ribosomal proteins. Solution of the X-ray/crystal structures of those two PDFs to 1.95 Å resolution revealed active sites identical to that of the Type 1B Arabidopsis chloroplast PDF. Taken together, these findings show that many cyanophages encode a PDF with a D1 substrate preference that adds to the repertoire of genes used by phages to maintain photosynthetic activities.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/ismej.2013.4DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3660681PMC
June 2013

Unique motifs and hydrophobic interactions shape the binding of modified DNA ligands to protein targets.

Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 2012 Dec 8;109(49):19971-6. Epub 2012 Nov 8.

Emerald BioStructures, Inc, Bainbridge Island, WA 98110, USA.

Selection of aptamers from nucleic acid libraries by in vitro evolution represents a powerful method of identifying high-affinity ligands for a broad range of molecular targets. Nevertheless, a sizeable fraction of proteins remain difficult targets due to inherently limited chemical diversity of nucleic acids. We have exploited synthetic nucleotide modifications that confer protein-like diversity on a nucleic acid scaffold, resulting in a new generation of binding reagents called SOMAmers (Slow Off-rate Modified Aptamers). Here we report a unique crystal structure of a SOMAmer bound to its target, platelet-derived growth factor B (PDGF-BB). The SOMAmer folds into a compact structure and exhibits a hydrophobic binding surface that mimics the interface between PDGF-BB and its receptor, contrasting sharply with mainly polar interactions seen in traditional protein-binding aptamers. The modified nucleotides circumvent the intrinsic diversity constraints of natural nucleic acids, thereby greatly expanding the structural vocabulary of nucleic acid ligands and considerably broadening the range of accessible protein targets.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1073/pnas.1213933109DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3523867PMC
December 2012

Artificial neural networks trained to detect viral and phage structural proteins.

PLoS Comput Biol 2012 23;8(8):e1002657. Epub 2012 Aug 23.

Program of Computational Science, San Diego State University, San Diego, California, United States of America.

Phages play critical roles in the survival and pathogenicity of their hosts, via lysogenic conversion factors, and in nutrient redistribution, via cell lysis. Analyses of phage- and viral-encoded genes in environmental samples provide insights into the physiological impact of viruses on microbial communities and human health. However, phage ORFs are extremely diverse of which over 70% of them are dissimilar to any genes with annotated functions in GenBank. Better identification of viruses would also aid in better detection and diagnosis of disease, in vaccine development, and generally in better understanding the physiological potential of any environment. In contrast to enzymes, viral structural protein function can be much more challenging to detect from sequence data because of low sequence conservation, few known conserved catalytic sites or sequence domains, and relatively limited experimental data. We have designed a method of predicting phage structural protein sequences that uses Artificial Neural Networks (ANNs). First, we trained ANNs to classify viral structural proteins using amino acid frequency; these correctly classify a large fraction of test cases with a high degree of specificity and sensitivity. Subsequently, we added estimates of protein isoelectric points as a feature to ANNs that classify specialized families of proteins, namely major capsid and tail proteins. As expected, these more specialized ANNs are more accurate than the structural ANNs. To experimentally validate the ANN predictions, several ORFs with no significant similarities to known sequences that are ANN-predicted structural proteins were examined by transmission electron microscopy. Some of these self-assembled into structures strongly resembling virion structures. Thus, our ANNs are new tools for identifying phage and potential prophage structural proteins that are difficult or impossible to detect by other bioinformatic analysis. The networks will be valuable when sequence is available but in vitro propagation of the phage may not be practical or possible.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pcbi.1002657DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3426561PMC
December 2012

Resveratrol ameliorates aging-related metabolic phenotypes by inhibiting cAMP phosphodiesterases.

Cell 2012 Feb;148(3):421-33

Laboratory of Obesity and Aging Research, Genetics and Developmental Biology Center, National Heart Lung and Blood Institute, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, MD 20892, USA.

Resveratrol, a polyphenol in red wine, has been reported as a calorie restriction mimetic with potential antiaging and antidiabetogenic properties. It is widely consumed as a nutritional supplement, but its mechanism of action remains a mystery. Here, we report that the metabolic effects of resveratrol result from competitive inhibition of cAMP-degrading phosphodiesterases, leading to elevated cAMP levels. The resulting activation of Epac1, a cAMP effector protein, increases intracellular Ca(2+) levels and activates the CamKKβ-AMPK pathway via phospholipase C and the ryanodine receptor Ca(2+)-release channel. As a consequence, resveratrol increases NAD(+) and the activity of Sirt1. Inhibiting PDE4 with rolipram reproduces all of the metabolic benefits of resveratrol, including prevention of diet-induced obesity and an increase in mitochondrial function, physical stamina, and glucose tolerance in mice. Therefore, administration of PDE4 inhibitors may also protect against and ameliorate the symptoms of metabolic diseases associated with aging.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.cell.2012.01.017DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3431801PMC
February 2012

Small molecule allosteric modulators of phosphodiesterase 4.

Handb Exp Pharmacol 2011 (204):167-92

Tetra Discovery Partners, Grand Rapids, MI, USA.

Phosphodiesterase 4 (PDE4) inhibitors have shown benefit in human clinical trials but dosing is limited by tolerability, particularly because of emesis. Novel cocrystal structures of PDE4 catalytic units with their regulatory domains together with bound inhibitors have revealed three different PDE4 conformers that can be exploited in the design of novel therapeutic agents. The first is an open conformer, which has been employed in the traditional approach to the design of competitive PDE4 inhibitors. The second is an asymmetric dimer in which a UCR2 regulatory helix from one monomer is placed in a closed conformation over the opposite active site in the PDE4 dimer (trans-capping). Only one active site can be closed by an inhibitor at a time with the consequence that compounds exploiting this conformer only partially inhibit PDE4 enzymatic activity while retaining potency in cellular and in vivo models. By placing an intrinsic ceiling on the magnitude of PDE4 inhibition, such compounds may better maintain spatial and temporal patterning of signaling in cAMP microdomains with consequent improved tolerability. The third is a symmetric PDE4 conformer in which helices from the C-terminal portion of the catalytic unit cap both active sites (cis-capping). We propose that dual-gating of PDE4 activity may be further fine tuned by accessory proteins that recognize open or closed conformers of PDE4 regulatory helices.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/978-3-642-17969-3_7DOI Listing
September 2011

Use of divalent metal ions in the DNA cleavage reaction of topoisomerase IV.

Nucleic Acids Res 2011 Jun 7;39(11):4808-17. Epub 2011 Feb 7.

Department of Biochemistry, Vanderbilt University School of Medicine, Nashville, TN 37232-0146, USA.

It has long been known that type II topoisomerases require divalent metal ions in order to cleave DNA. Kinetic, mutagenesis and structural studies indicate that the eukaryotic enzymes utilize a novel variant of the canonical two-metal-ion mechanism to promote DNA scission. However, the role of metal ions in the cleavage reaction mediated by bacterial type II enzymes has been controversial. Therefore, to resolve this critical issue, this study characterized the DNA cleavage reaction of Escherichia coli topoisomerase IV. We utilized a series of divalent metal ions with varying thiophilicities in conjunction with oligonucleotides that replaced bridging and non-bridging oxygen atoms at (and near) the scissile bond with sulfur atoms. DNA scission was enhanced when thiophilic metal ions were used with substrates that contained bridging sulfur atoms. In addition, the metal-ion dependence of DNA cleavage was sigmoidal in nature, and rates and levels of DNA cleavage increased when metal ion mixtures were used in reactions. Based on these findings, we propose that topoisomerase IV cleaves DNA using a two-metal-ion mechanism in which one of the metal ions makes a critical interaction with the 3'-bridging atom of the scissile phosphate and facilitates DNA scission by the bacterial type II enzyme.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/nar/gkr018DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3113566PMC
June 2011

A novel and unified two-metal mechanism for DNA cleavage by type II and IA topoisomerases.

Nature 2010 Jun;465(7298):641-4

Department of Molecular and Cell Biology, University of California, Berkeley, California 94720, USA.

Type II topoisomerases are required for the management of DNA tangles and supercoils, and are targets of clinical antibiotics and anti-cancer agents. These enzymes catalyse the ATP-dependent passage of one DNA duplex (the transport or T-segment) through a transient, double-stranded break in another (the gate or G-segment), navigating DNA through the protein using a set of dissociable internal interfaces, or 'gates'. For more than 20 years, it has been established that a pair of dimer-related tyrosines, together with divalent cations, catalyse G-segment cleavage. Recent efforts have proposed that strand scission relies on a 'two-metal mechanism', a ubiquitous biochemical strategy that supports vital cellular processes ranging from DNA synthesis to RNA self-splicing. Here we present the structure of the DNA-binding and cleavage core of Saccharomyces cerevisiae topoisomerase II covalently linked to DNA through its active-site tyrosine at 2.5A resolution, revealing for the first time the organization of a cleavage-competent type II topoisomerase configuration. Unexpectedly, metal-soaking experiments indicate that cleavage is catalysed by a novel variation of the classic two-metal approach. Comparative analyses extend this scheme to explain how distantly-related type IA topoisomerases cleave single-stranded DNA, unifying the cleavage mechanisms for these two essential enzyme families. The structure also highlights a hitherto undiscovered allosteric relay that actuates a molecular 'trapdoor' to prevent subunit dissociation during cleavage. This connection illustrates how an indispensable chromosome-disentangling machine auto-regulates DNA breakage to prevent the aberrant formation of mutagenic and cytotoxic genomic lesions.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/nature08974DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2882514PMC
June 2010

Design of phosphodiesterase 4D (PDE4D) allosteric modulators for enhancing cognition with improved safety.

Nat Biotechnol 2010 Jan 27;28(1):63-70. Epub 2009 Dec 27.

deCODE biostructures, Bainbridge Island, Washington, USA.

Phosphodiesterase 4 (PDE4), the primary cAMP-hydrolyzing enzyme in cells, is a promising drug target for a wide range of conditions. Here we present seven co-crystal structures of PDE4 and bound inhibitors that show the regulatory domain closed across the active site, thereby revealing the structural basis of PDE4 regulation. This structural insight, together with supporting mutagenesis and kinetic studies, allowed us to design small-molecule allosteric modulators of PDE4D that do not completely inhibit enzymatic activity (I(max) approximately 80-90%). These allosteric modulators have reduced potential to cause emesis, a dose-limiting side effect of existing active site-directed PDE4 inhibitors, while maintaining biological activity in cellular and in vivo models. Our results may facilitate the design of CNS therapeutics modulating cAMP signaling for the treatment of Alzheimer's disease, Huntington's disease, schizophrenia and depression, where brain distribution is desired for therapeutic benefit.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/nbt.1598DOI Listing
January 2010

Metal ion interactions in the DNA cleavage/ligation active site of human topoisomerase IIalpha.

Biochemistry 2009 Sep;48(38):8940-7

Department of Biochemistry, Vanderbilt University School of Medicine, Nashville, Tennessee 37232-0146, USA.

Human topoisomerase IIalpha utilizes a two-metal-ion mechanism for DNA cleavage. One of the metal ions (M(1)(2+)) is believed to make a critical interaction with the 3'-bridging atom of the scissile phosphate, while the other (M(2)(2+)) is believed to interact with a nonbridging oxygen of the scissile phosphate. Based on structural and mutagenesis studies of prokaryotic nucleic acid enzymes, it has been proposed that the active site divalent metal ions interact with type II topoisomerases through a series of conserved acidic amino acid residues. The homologous residues in human topoisomerase IIalpha are E461, D541, D543, and D545. To address the validity of these assignments and to delineate interactions between individual amino acids and M(1)(2+) and M(2)(2+), we individually mutated each of these acidic amino acid residues in topoisomerase IIalpha to either cysteine or alanine. Mutant enzymes displayed a marked loss of catalytic and DNA cleavage activity as well as a reduced affinity for divalent metal ions. Additional experiments determined the ability of wild-type and mutant topoisomerase IIalpha enzymes to cleave an oligonucleotide substrate that contained a sulfur atom in place of the 3'-bridging oxygen of the scissile phosphate in the presence of Mg2+, Mn2+, or Ca2+. On the basis of the results of these studies, we conclude that the four acidic amino acid residues interact with metal ions in the DNA cleavage/ligation active site of topoisomerase IIalpha. Furthermore, we propose that M(1)(2+) interacts with E461, D543, and D545 and M(2)(2+) interacts with E461 and D541.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1021/bi900875cDOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2782489PMC
September 2009

Discovery of leukotriene A4 hydrolase inhibitors using metabolomics biased fragment crystallography.

J Med Chem 2009 Aug;52(15):4694-715

deCODE biostructures, Inc., 7869 NE Day Road West, Bainbridge Island, Washington 98110, USA.

We describe a novel fragment library termed fragments of life (FOL) for structure-based drug discovery. The FOL library includes natural small molecules of life, derivatives thereof, and biaryl protein architecture mimetics. The choice of fragments facilitates the interrogation of protein active sites, allosteric binding sites, and protein-protein interaction surfaces for fragment binding. We screened the FOL library against leukotriene A4 hydrolase (LTA4H) by X-ray crystallography. A diverse set of fragments including derivatives of resveratrol, nicotinamide, and indole were identified as efficient ligands for LTA4H. These fragments were elaborated in a small number of synthetic cycles into potent inhibitors of LTA4H representing multiple novel chemotypes for modulating leukotriene biosynthesis. Analysis of the fragment-bound structures also showed that the fragments comprehensively recapitulated key chemical features and binding modes of several reported LTA4H inhibitors.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1021/jm900259hDOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2722745PMC
August 2009

Use of divalent metal ions in the dna cleavage reaction of human type II topoisomerases.

Biochemistry 2009 Mar;48(9):1862-9

Department of Biochemistry, Vanderbilt University School of Medicine, Nashville, Tennessee 37232-0146, USA.

All type II topoisomerases require divalent metal ions to cleave and ligate DNA. To further elucidate the mechanistic basis for these critical enzyme-mediated events, the role of the metal ion in the DNA cleavage reaction of human topoisomerase IIbeta was characterized and compared to that of topoisomerase IIalpha. This study utilized divalent metal ions with varying thiophilicities in conjunction with DNA cleavage substrates that substituted a sulfur atom for the 3'-bridging oxygen or the nonbridging oxygens of the scissile phosphate. On the basis of time courses of DNA cleavage, cation titrations, and metal ion mixing experiments, we propose the following model for the use of divalent metal ions by human type II topoisomerases. First, both enzymes employ a two-metal ion mechanism to support DNA cleavage. Second, an interaction between one divalent metal ion and the 3'-bridging atom of the scissile phosphate greatly enhances enzyme-mediated DNA cleavage, most likely by stabilizing the leaving 3'-oxygen. Third, there is an important interaction between a divalent second metal ion and a nonbridging atom of the scissile phosphate that stimulates DNA cleavage mediated by topoisomerase IIbeta. If this interaction exists in topoisomerase IIalpha, its effects on DNA cleavage are equivocal. This last aspect of the model highlights a difference in metal ion utilization during DNA cleavage mediated by human topoisomerase IIalpha and IIbeta.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1021/bi8023256DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2693261PMC
March 2009

Human topoisomerase IIalpha uses a two-metal-ion mechanism for DNA cleavage.

Nucleic Acids Res 2008 Sep 24;36(15):4883-93. Epub 2008 Jul 24.

Department of Biochemistry, Vanderbilt University School of Medicine, Nashville, TN 37232-0146, USA.

The DNA cleavage reaction of human topoisomerase IIalpha is critical to all of the physiological and pharmacological functions of the protein. While it has long been known that the type II enzyme requires a divalent metal ion in order to cleave DNA, the role of the cation in this process is not known. To resolve this fundamental issue, the present study utilized a series of divalent metal ions with varying thiophilicities in conjunction with DNA cleavage substrates that replaced the 3'-bridging oxygen of the scissile bond with a sulfur atom (i.e. 3'-bridging phosphorothiolates). Rates and levels of DNA scission were greatly enhanced when thiophilic metal ions were included in reactions that utilized sulfur-containing substrates. Based on these results and those of reactions that employed divalent cation mixtures, we propose that topoisomerase IIalpha mediates DNA cleavage via a two-metal-ion mechanism. In this model, one of the metal ions makes a critical interaction with the 3'-bridging atom of the scissile phosphate. This interaction greatly accelerates rates of enzyme-mediated DNA cleavage, and most likely is needed to stabilize the leaving 3'-oxygen.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/nar/gkn466DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2528187PMC
September 2008

Using 3'-bridging phosphorothiolates to isolate the forward DNA cleavage reaction of human topoisomerase IIalpha.

Biochemistry 2008 Apr 5;47(13):4129-40. Epub 2008 Mar 5.

Department of Biochemistry, Vanderbilt University School of Medicine, Nashville, Tennessee 37232-0146, USA.

The ability to cleave DNA is critical to the cellular and pharmacological functions of human type II topoisomerases. However, the low level of cleavage at equilibrium and the tight coupling of the cleavage and ligation reactions make it difficult to characterize the mechanism by which these enzymes cut DNA. Therefore, to establish a system that isolates topoisomerase II-mediated DNA scission from ligation, oligonucleotide substrates were developed that contained a 3'-bridging phosphorothiolate at the scissile bond. Scission of these substrates generates a 3'-terminal -SH moiety that is a poor nucleophile relative to the normal 3'-terminal -OH group. Consequently, topoisomerase II cannot efficiently ligate phosphorothiolate substrates once they are cleaved. The characteristics of topoisomerase IIalpha-mediated cleavage of phosphorothiolate oligonucleotides were identical to those seen with wild-type substrates, except that no ligation was observed. This unidirectional accumulation of cleavage complexes provided critical information regarding coordination of the protomer subunits of topoisomerase IIalpha and the mechanism of action of topoisomerase II poisons. Results indicate that the two enzyme subunits are partially coordinated and that cleavage at one scissile bond increases the degree of cleavage at the other. Furthermore, anticancer drugs such as etoposide and amsacrine that strongly inhibit topoisomerase II-mediated DNA ligation have little effect on the forward scission reaction. In contrast, abasic sites that increase levels of cleavage complexes without affecting ligation stimulate the forward rate of scission. Phosphorothiolate substrates provide significant advantages over traditional "suicide substrates" and should be valuable for future studies on DNA scission and the topoisomerase II-DNA cleavage complex.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1021/bi702194xDOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2733888PMC
April 2008

Tyrosyl-DNA phosphodiesterase (Tdp1) (3'-phosphotyrosyl DNA phosphodiesterase).

Methods Enzymol 2006 ;409:511-24

Molecular Biology Program, Sloan-Kettering Institute, New York, New York, USA.

Tyrosyl-DNA phosphodiesterase (Tdp1) hydrolyzes 3'-phosphotyrosyl bonds in vitro. Because topoisomerase I, a type IB topoisomerase, is the only enzyme known to form 3'-phosphotyrosine bonds in eukaryotic cells, it was proposed that Tdp1 is involved in the repair of dead-end topoisomerase I-DNA covalent complexes that may form in vivo. It has also been proposed that Tdp1 may represent a novel anticancer target since known anticancer agents (e.g., camptothecin) act by stabilizing topoisomerase I-DNA covalent adducts. The importance of Tdp1 in DNA repair is also demonstrated by the observation that a recessive mutation in the human TDP1 gene is responsible for the hereditary disorder Spinocerebellar Ataxia with Axonal Neuropathy (SCAN). Although it has been proposed that Tdp1 may be involved in the repair of multiple DNA lesions, this chapter describes the synthesis and characterization of substrates used to study the role of Tdp1 in repairing topoisomerase I-DNA adducts, and the methods used to study the catalytic mechanism and structure of this novel enzyme.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/S0076-6879(05)09030-0DOI Listing
August 2006

A novel norindenoisoquinoline structure reveals a common interfacial inhibitor paradigm for ternary trapping of the topoisomerase I-DNA covalent complex.

Mol Cancer Ther 2006 Feb;5(2):287-95

Laboratory of Molecular Pharmacology, Center for Cancer Research, National Cancer Institute, Building 37, Room 5068, Bethesda, MD 20892-4255, USA.

We show that five topoisomerase I inhibitors (two indenoisoquinolines, two camptothecins, and one indolocarbazole) each intercalate between the base pairs flanking the cleavage site generated during the topoisomerase I catalytic cycle and are further stabilized by a network of hydrogen bonds with topoisomerase I. The interfacial inhibition paradigm described for topoisomerase I inhibitors can be generalized to a variety of natural products that trap macromolecular complexes as they undergo catalytic conformational changes that create hotspots for drug binding. Stabilization of such conformational states results in uncompetitive inhibition and exemplifies the relevance of screening for ligands and drugs that stabilize ("trap") these macromolecular complexes.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1158/1535-7163.MCT-05-0456DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2860177PMC
February 2006

Uncoupling the chemical steps of telomere resolution by ResT.

J Biol Chem 2005 Jul 23;280(29):26788-95. Epub 2005 May 23.

Department of Biochemistry & Molecular Biology, University of Calgary, Calgary, Alberta T2N 4N1, Canada.

ResT is the telomere resolvase of the spirochete Borrelia burgdorferi, the causative agent of Lyme disease. ResT is an essential cellular function that processes replication intermediates to produce linear replicons terminated by covalently closed hairpin telomeres. ResT generates these hairpin telomeres in a reaction with mechanistic similarities to those catalyzed by type IB topoisomerases and tyrosine recombinases. We report here, that like most of the tyrosine recombinases, ResT requires interprotomer communication, likely in an in-line synapse, to activate reaction chemistry. Unlike the tyrosine recombinases, however, we infer that the cleavage and strand transfer reactions on the two sides of the replicated telomere occur nearly simultaneously. Nonetheless, the chemical steps of the forward and reverse reactions performed by ResT can occur in a non-concerted fashion (i.e. events on the two sides of the replicated telomere can occur independently). We propose that uncoupling of reaction completion on the two sides of the substrate is facilitated by an early commitment to hairpin formation that is imposed by the precleavage action of the hairpin binding module of the ResT active site.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1074/jbc.M504530200DOI Listing
July 2005

Substrate specificity of tyrosyl-DNA phosphodiesterase I (Tdp1).

J Biol Chem 2005 Jun 4;280(23):22029-35. Epub 2005 Apr 4.

deCODE biostructures, 7869 NE Day Road West, Bainbridge Island, WA 98110, USA.

Tyrosyl-DNA phosphodiesterase I (Tdp1) hydrolyzes 3'-phosphotyrosyl bonds to generate 3'-phosphate DNA and tyrosine in vitro. Tdp1 is involved in the repair of DNA lesions created by topoisomerase I, although the in vivo substrate is not known. Here we study the kinetic and binding properties of human Tdp1 (hTdp1) to identify appropriate 3'-phosphotyrosyl DNA substrates. Genetic studies argue that Tdp1 is involved in double and single strand break repair pathways; however, x-ray crystal structures suggest that Tdp1 can only bind single strand DNA. Separate kinetic and binding experiments show that hTdp1 has a preference for single-stranded and blunt-ended duplex substrates over nicked and tailed duplex substrate conformations. Based on these results, we present a new model to explain Tdp1/DNA binding properties. These results suggest that Tdp1 only acts upon double strand breaks in vivo, and the roles of Tdp1 in yeast and mammalian cells are discussed.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1074/jbc.M502148200DOI Listing
June 2005

Structures of three classes of anticancer agents bound to the human topoisomerase I-DNA covalent complex.

J Med Chem 2005 Apr;48(7):2336-45

deCODE BioStructures, 7869 NE Day Road West, Bainbridge Island, Washington 98110, USA.

Human topoisomerase I (top1) is the molecular target of a diverse set of anticancer compounds, including the camptothecins, indolocarbazoles, and indenoisoquinolines. These compounds bind to a transient top1-DNA covalent complex and inhibit the resealing of a single-strand nick that the enzyme creates to relieve superhelical tension in duplex DNA. (Hertzberg, R. P.; et al. Biochem. 1989, 28, 4629-4638. Hsiang, Y. H.; et al. J. Biol. Chem 1985, 260, 14873-14878. Champoux, J. J. Annu. Rev. Biochem. 2001, 70, 369-413. Stewart, L.; et al. Science 1998, 729, 1534-1541.) We report the X-ray crystal structures of the human top1-DNA complex bound with camptothecin and representative members of the indenoisoquinoline and indolocarbazole classes of top1 poisons. The planar nature of all three structurally diverse classes allows them to intercalate between DNA base pairs at the site of single-strand cleavage. All three classes of compounds have a free electron pair near Arg364, a residue that if mutated confers resistance to all three classes of drugs. The common intercalative binding mode is augmented by unexpected chemotype-specific contacts with amino acid residues Asn352 and Glu356, which adopt alternative side-chain conformations to accommodate the bound compounds. These new X-ray structures explain how very different molecules can stabilize top1-DNA covalent complexes and will aid the rational design of completely novel structural classes of anticancer drugs.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1021/jm049146pDOI Listing
April 2005

DNA ligation catalyzed by human topoisomerase II alpha.

Biochemistry 2004 Oct;43(42):13416-23

Department of Biochemistry, Vanderbilt University School of Medicine, Nashville, Tennessee 37232-0146, USA.

The DNA ligation reaction of topoisomerase II is essential for genomic integrity. However, it has been impossible to examine many fundamental aspects of this reaction because ligation assays historically required the enzyme to cleave a DNA substrate before sealing the nucleic acid break. Recently, a cleavage-independent DNA ligation assay was developed for human topoisomerase IIalpha [Bromberg, K. D., Hendricks, C., Burgin, A. B., and Osheroff, N. (2002) J. Biol. Chem. 277, 31201-31206]. This assay overcomes the requirement for DNA cleavage by monitoring the ability of the enzyme to ligate a nicked oligonucleotide in which the 5'-terminal phosphate at the nick has been activated by covalent attachment to the tyrosine mimic, p-nitrophenol. The cleavage-independent ligation assay was used to more fully characterize the DNA ligation activity of human topoisomerase IIalpha. Results suggest that the active site tyrosine contributes little to the catalysis of DNA ligation beyond its primary role as an activating/leaving group. Although arginine 804 (the residue immediately N-terminal to the active site tyrosine) has been proposed to help anchor the 5'-DNA terminus during cleavage, conversion of this residue to alanine had only a modest effect on DNA ligation. Thus, it appears that arginine 804 does not play an essential role in DNA strand joining. In contrast, disruption of base pairing at the 5'-DNA terminus abrogated DNA ligation in the absence of a covalent enzyme-DNA bond. Therefore, it is proposed that base pairing represents a secondary mechanism for aligning the 5'-DNA termini for ligation. Finally, the human enzyme appears to ligate the two scissile bonds of a cleavage site in a nonconcerted fashion.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1021/bi049420hDOI Listing
October 2004

Substitution of conserved residues within the active site alters the cleavage religation equilibrium of DNA topoisomerase I.

J Biol Chem 2004 Dec 15;279(52):54069-78. Epub 2004 Oct 15.

Department of Molecular Pharmacology, St. Jude Children's Research Hospital, Memphis, Tennessee 38105, USA.

Eukaryotic DNA topoisomerase I (Top1p) catalyzes the relaxation of supercoiled DNA and constitutes the cellular target of camptothecin (CPT). Mutation of conserved residues in close proximity to the active site tyrosine (Tyr(727) of yeast Top1p) alters the DNA cleavage religation equilibrium, inducing drug-independent cell lethality. Previous studies indicates that yeast Top1T722Ap and Top1N726Hp cytotoxicity results from elevated levels of covalent enzyme-DNA intermediates. Here we show that Top1T722Ap acts as a CPT mimetic by exhibiting reduced rates of DNA religation, whereas increased Top1N726Hp.DNA complexes result from elevated DNA binding and cleavage. We also report that the combination of the T722A and N726H mutations in a single protein potentiates the cytotoxic action of the enzyme beyond that induced by co-expression of the single mutants. Moreover, the addition of CPT to cells expressing the double top1T722A/N726H mutant did not enhance cell lethality. Thus, independent alterations in DNA cleavage and religation contribute to the lethal phenotype. The formation of distinct cytotoxic lesions was also evidenced by the different responses induced by low levels of these self-poisoning enzymes in isogenic strains defective for the Rad9 DNA damage checkpoint, processive DNA replication, or ubiquitin-mediated proteolysis. Substitution of Asn(726) with Phe or Tyr also produces self-poisoning enzymes, implicating stacking interactions in the increased kinetics of DNA cleavage by Top1N726Hp and Top1N726Fp. In contrast, replacing the amide side chain of Asn(726) with Gln renders Top1N726Qp resistant to CPT, suggesting that the orientation of the amide within the active site is critical for effective CPT binding.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1074/jbc.M409764200DOI Listing
December 2004

Catalytic residues of the telomere resolvase ResT: a pattern similar to, but distinct from, tyrosine recombinases and type IB topoisomerases.

J Biol Chem 2004 Dec 6;279(51):53699-706. Epub 2004 Oct 6.

Department of Biochemistry & Molecular Biology, University of Calgary, Calgary, Alberta T2N 1N4, Canada.

ResT is a member of the telomere resolvases, a newly discovered class of DNA breakage and reunion enzymes. These enzymes are involved in the formation of co-valently closed hairpin DNA ends that are found in linear prokaryotic chromosomes and plasmids. The hairpins are generated by telomere resolution, where the replicated linear DNA ends are processed by DNA breakage followed by joining of DNA free ends to the complementary strand of the same molecule. Previous studies have shown that ResT catalyzes hairpin formation through a two-step transesterification similar to tyrosine recombinases and type IB topoisomerases. In the present study we have probed the reaction mechanism of ResT. The enzyme was found to efficiently utilize a substrate with a 5'-bridging phosphorothiolate at each cleavage site, similar to tyrosine recombinases/type IB topoisomerases. Using such a substrate to trap the covalent protein-DNA intermediate, coupled with affinity purification and mass spectroscopy, we report a new, non-radioactive approach to directly determine the position of the amino acid in the protein, which is linked to the DNA. We report that tyrosine 335 is the active site nucleophile in ResT, strengthening the link between ResT and tyrosine recombinases/type IB topoisomerases. However, a distinct pattern of catalytic residues with similarities, but distinct differences from the above enzymes was suggested. The differences include the apparent absence of a general acid catalyst, as well as the dispensability of the final histidine in the RKHRHY hexad. Finally, two signature motifs (GRR(2X)E(6X)F and LGH(4-6X)T(3X)Y) near the catalytic residues of aligned telomere resolvases are noted.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1074/jbc.M409001200DOI Listing
December 2004

Design and synthesis of fluorescent substrates for human tyrosyl-DNA phosphodiesterase I.

Nucleic Acids Res 2004 27;32(15):4657-64. Epub 2004 Aug 27.

deCODE biostructures, 7869 NE Day Road West, Bainbridge Island, WA 98110, USA.

Tyrosyl-DNA phosphodiesterase 1 (Tdp1) is a DNA repair enzyme that acts upon protein-DNA covalent complexes. Tdp1 hydrolyzes 3'-phosphotyrosyl bonds to generate 3'-phosphate DNA and free tyrosine in vitro. Mutations in Tdp1 have been linked to patients with spinocerebellar ataxia, and over-expression of Tdp1 results in resistance to known anti-cancer compounds. Tdp1 has been shown to be involved in double-strand break repair in yeast, and Tdp1 has also been implicated in single-strand break repair in mammalian cells. Despite the biological importance of this enzyme and the possibility that Tdp1 may be a molecular target for new anti-cancer drugs, there are very few assays available for screening inhibitor libraries or for characterizing Tdp1 function, especially under pre-steady-state conditions. Here, we report the design and synthesis of a fluorescence-based assay using oligonucleotide and nucleotide substrates containing 3'-(4-methylumbelliferone)-phosphate. These substrates are efficiently cleaved by Tdp1, generating the fluorescent 4-methylumbelliferone reporter molecule. The kinetic characteristics determined for Tdp1 using this assay are in agreement with the previously published values, and this fluorescence-based assay is validated using the standard gel-based methods. This sensitive assay is ideal for kinetic analysis of Tdp1 function and for high-throughput screening of Tdp1 inhibitory molecules.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/nar/gkh796DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC516067PMC
September 2004