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Designing new molecular tools to study the life and death of a cancer cell
Date:2/15/2011

nd their synthetic modulators has become a new frontier for biomedical research and pharmaceutical development. We have chosen a proline containing tetrapeptide as the model to develop new peptidomimetic molecules to study the role of proline and tetrapeptide in the binding of XIAP protein and potential inhibition of XIAP mediated protein-protein interactions critical for apoptotic signaling in cancer cells. Our results suggest that these tetrapeptide analogs can be further developed into new molecular tools to analyze the mechanisms of protein-protein interactions and signal transduction pathways of XIAP in cancer and potential leads to develop anticancer drugs. This study combined the techniques in structure-based drug design, chemistry, and cancer biology and expertise and resources at institutions in America and China. It is an example of international collaboration to apply chemistry to biology and medicine with the long term goal of finding new anticancer therapeutics".

The research team used the crystal structure of a known tetrapeptide AVPI derived from Smac protein bound to XIAP protein as the guide to design a series of peptidomimetic analogs containing a conformationally constrained proline mimetic exo-2-azabicyclo[2.2.1]heptane-3-carboxylic acid. Structural analyses using nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) and molecular modeling showed that some of these analogs can mimic the conformations of the parent tetrapeptide. Using a fluorescence polarization assay, one of these analogs was shown to be potent like the parent tetrapeptide in binding XIAP protein. This raises the possibility that such an analog may inhibit the antiapoptotic function of XIAP (a protein inhibitor of apoptosis), thus removing the roadblock of the death signal to kill a cancer cell.

Dr. John Reed, who led the binding and biological studies of these molecules in La Jolla, California, said, "The progress made through our collaborations with Dr. Huang and colleagues
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Contact: Dr. Ziwei Huang
huangz@upstate.edu
315-464-7950
Society for Experimental Biology and Medicine
Source:Eurekalert

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