RNA-protein interactions (RPIs) are promising targets for developing new molecules of therapeutic interest. Nevertheless, challenges arise from the lack of methods and feedback between computational and experimental techniques during the drug discovery process. Here, we tackle these challenges by developing a drug screening approach that integrates chemical, structural and cellular data from both advanced computational techniques and a method to score RPIs in cells for the development of small RPI inhibitors; and we demonstrate its robustness by targeting Y-box binding protein 1 (YB-1), a messenger RNA-binding protein involved in cancer progression and resistance to chemotherapy. This approach led to the identification of 22 hits validated by molecular dynamics (MD) simulations and nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectroscopy of which 11 were found to significantly interfere with the binding of messenger RNA (mRNA) to YB-1 in cells. One of our leads is an FDA-approved poly(ADP-ribose) polymerase 1 (PARP-1) inhibitor. This work shows the potential of our integrative approach and paves the way for the rational development of RPI inhibitors.
All data are available within the Article, Supplementary Files and Appendices, or available from the corresponding authors on reasonable request. Source data for figures 2, 4d, 7b, Figure 3-Figure supplement 3, Figure 8a, Figure 8-Figure supplement 1b-c, Figure 8-Figure supplement 4b-c, Appendix 5 Table 1 and Appendix 5 Figure 1 are also provided with the paper.
- Krystel El Hage
- David Pastré
The funders had no role in study design, data collection and interpretation, or the decision to submit the work for publication.
- José D Faraldo-Gómez, National Institutes of Health, United States
© 2023, El Hage 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.
Pancreatic a-cells secrete glucagon, an insulin counter-regulatory peptide hormone critical for the maintenance of glucose homeostasis. Investigation of the function of human a-cells remains a challenge due to the lack of cost-effective purification methods to isolate high-quality a-cells from islets. Here, we use the reaction-based probe diacetylated Zinpyr1 (DA-ZP1) to introduce a novel and simple method for enriching live a-cells from dissociated human islet cells with ~ 95% purity. The a-cells, confirmed by sorting and immunostaining for glucagon, were cultured up to 10 days to form a-pseudoislets. The a-pseudoislets could be maintained in culture without significant loss of viability, and responded to glucose challenge by secreting appropriate levels of glucagon. RNA-sequencing analyses (RNA-seq) revealed that expression levels of key a-cell identity genes were sustained in culture while some of the genes such as DLK1, GSN, SMIM24 were altered in a-pseudoislets in a time-dependent manner. In conclusion, we report a method to sort human primary a-cells with high purity that can be used for downstream analyses such as functional and transcriptional studies.
Eukaryotic cells control inorganic phosphate to balance its role as essential macronutrient with its negative bioenergetic impact on reactions liberating phosphate. Phosphate homeostasis depends on the conserved INPHORS signaling pathway that utilizes inositol pyrophosphates and SPX receptor domains. Since cells synthesize various inositol pyrophosphates and SPX domains bind them promiscuously, it is unclear whether a specific inositol pyrophosphate regulates SPX domains in vivo, or whether multiple inositol pyrophosphates act as a pool. In contrast to previous models, which postulated that phosphate starvation is signaled by increased production of the inositol pyrophosphate 1-IP7, we now show that the levels of all detectable inositol pyrophosphates of yeast, 1-IP7, 5-IP7, and 1,5-IP8, strongly decline upon phosphate starvation. Among these, specifically the decline of 1,5-IP8 triggers the transcriptional phosphate starvation response, the PHO pathway. 1,5-IP8 inactivates the cyclin-dependent kinase inhibitor Pho81 through its SPX domain. This stimulates the cyclin-dependent kinase Pho85-Pho80 to phosphorylate the transcription factor Pho4 and repress the PHO pathway. Combining our results with observations from other systems, we propose a unified model where 1,5-IP8 signals cytosolic phosphate abundance to SPX proteins in fungi, plants, and mammals. Its absence triggers starvation responses.