The many variants of human Ca2+/calmodulin-dependent protein kinase II (CaMKII) differ in the lengths and sequences of disordered linkers connecting the kinase domains to the oligomeric hub of the holoenzyme. CaMKII activity depends on the balance between activating and inhibitory autophosphorylation (on Thr 286 and Thr 305/306, respectively, in the human a isoform). Variation in the linkers could alter transphosphorylation rates within a holoenzyme and the balance of autophosphorylation outcomes. We show, using mammalian-cell expression and a single-molecule assay, that the balance of autophosphorylation is flipped between CaMKII variants with longer and shorter linkers. For the principal isoforms in the brain, CaMKII-a, with a ~30 residue linker, readily acquires activating autophosphorylation, while CaMKII-b, with a ~200 residue linker, is biased towards inhibitory autophosphorylation. Our results show how the responsiveness of CaMKII holoenzymes to calcium signals can be tuned by varying the relative levels of isoforms with long and short linkers.
All data generated or analyzed during this study are summarized in the manuscript, figures, appendix, and supplementary files. The in-house Matlab programs that are used for data analysis are provided as Source code file 1 and is open-access.
- Moitrayee Bhattacharyya
- John Kuriyan
The funders had no role in study design, data collection and interpretation, or the decision to submit the work for publication.
- Tony Hunter, Salk Institute for Biological Studies, United States
© 2020, Bhattacharyya et al.
This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License permitting unrestricted use and redistribution provided that the original author and source are credited.
The TEA domain (TEAD) transcription factor forms a transcription co-activation complex with the key downstream effector of the Hippo pathway, YAP/TAZ. TEAD-YAP controls the expression of Hippo-responsive genes involved in cell proliferation, development, and tumorigenesis. Hyperactivation of TEAD-YAP activities is observed in many human cancers and is associated with cancer cell proliferation, survival, and immune evasion. Therefore, targeting the TEAD-YAP complex has emerged as an attractive therapeutic approach. We previously reported that the mammalian TEAD transcription factors (TEAD1–4) possess auto-palmitoylation activities and contain an evolutionarily conserved palmitate-binding pocket (PBP), which allows small-molecule modulation. Since then, several reversible and irreversible inhibitors have been reported by binding to PBP. Here, we report a new class of TEAD inhibitors with a novel binding mode. Representative analog TM2 shows potent inhibition of TEAD auto-palmitoylation both in vitro and in cells. Surprisingly, the co-crystal structure of the human TEAD2 YAP-binding domain (YBD) in complex with TM2 reveals that TM2 adopts an unexpected binding mode by occupying not only the hydrophobic PBP, but also a new side binding pocket formed by hydrophilic residues. RNA-seq analysis shows that TM2 potently and specifically suppresses TEAD-YAP transcriptional activities. Consistently, TM2 exhibits strong antiproliferation effects as a single agent or in combination with a MEK inhibitor in YAP-dependent cancer cells. These findings establish TM2 as a promising small-molecule inhibitor against TEAD-YAP activities and provide new insights for designing novel TEAD inhibitors with enhanced selectivity and potency.
Drugs that target human thymidylate synthase (hTS), a dimeric enzyme, are widely used in anti-cancer therapy. However, treatment with classical substrate-site-directed TS inhibitors induces over-expression of this protein and development of drug resistance. We thus pursued an alternative strategy that led us to the discovery of TS-dimer destabilizers. These compounds bind at the monomer-monomer interface and shift the dimerization equilibrium of both the recombinant and the intracellular protein toward the inactive monomers. A structural, spectroscopic, and kinetic investigation has provided evidence and quantitative information on the effects of the interaction of these small molecules with hTS. Focusing on the best among them, E7, we have shown that it inhibits hTS in cancer cells and accelerates its proteasomal degradation, thus causing a decrease in the enzyme intracellular level. E7 also showed a superior anticancer profile to fluorouracil in a mouse model of human pancreatic and ovarian cancer. Thus, over sixty years after the discovery of the first TS prodrug inhibitor, fluorouracil, E7 breaks the link between TS inhibition and enhanced expression in response, providing a strategy to fight drug-resistant cancers.