Istituto di Cristallografia - CNR

PHA-680626 Is an Effective Inhibitor of the Interaction between Aurora-A and N-Myc

Neuroblastoma is a severe childhood disease, accounting for ~10% of all infant cancers. The amplification of the MYCN gene, coding for the N-Myc transcriptional factor, is an essential marker correlated with tumor progression and poor prognosis. In neuroblastoma cells, the
mitotic kinase Aurora-A (AURKA), which is another protein frequently overexpressed in cancer, prevents N-Myc degradation, by directly binding to a highly conserved N-Myc region, i.e. Myc Box I. As a result, elevated levels of N-Myc, which are required for the growth of MYCN
amplified cells, are observed. During the last years, it has been demonstrated that the ATP competitive inhibitors of AURKA CD532, MLN8054 and Alisertib also cause essential conformational changes in the structure of the activation loop of the kinase that prevent NMyc
binding, thus impairing the formation of the AURKA /N-Myc complex. In this study, starting from a screening of crystal structures of AURKA in complex with known inhibitors, we identified additional compounds affecting the conformation of the kinase activation loop. We assessed
the ability of such compounds to disrupt the interaction between AURKA and N-Myc in vitro, using Surface Plasmon Resonance competition assays, and in tumor cell lines overexpressing MYCN, by performing Proximity Ligation Assays. Finally, their effects on N-Myc cellular levels and cell viability were also investigated. Our results, identifying PHA-680626 as an amphosteric inhibitor both in vitro and MYCN overexpressing cell lines, expand the repertoire of known conformational disrupting inhibitors of the AURKA /N-Myc complex, and confirm that altering the conformation of the activation loop of AURKA with a small molecule is an effective strategy to destabilize the AURKA/N-Myc interaction in neuroblastoma cancer cells.

International journal of molecular sciences (Online)
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Fani Souvalidou, Dalila Boi, Davide Capelli, Federica Polverino, Grazia Marini, Roberta Montanari, Giorgio Pochetti, Angela Tramonti, Roberto Contestabile, Daniela Trisciuoglio, Patrizia Carpinelli, Camilla Ascanelli, Catherine Lindon, Alessandro De Leo, Michele Saviano, Roberto Di Santo, Roberta Costi, Giulia Guarguaglini, Alessandro Paiardini
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