Homing in on New Cancer Drug Targets?

Homing in on new cancer drug targets?

Lancet Oncol. 2013 Feb; 14(2): e49
Senior K

HubMed – drug


Altered paralimbic interaction in behavioral addiction.

Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2013 Mar 4;
Rømer Thomsen K, Joensson M, Lou HC, Møller A, Gross J, Kringelbach ML, Changeux JP

The introduction of magnetoencephalography has made it possible to study electromagnetic signaling in deeper, paralimbic cortical structures such as the medial prefrontal/anterior cingulate (ACC) and medial parietal/posterior cingulate (PCC) cortices. Self-awareness and self-control have been attributed to these regions. To test the hypothesis that they are dysfunctional in pathological gambling with poor self-control, we studied gamblers with and without previous stimulant abuse and age- and sex-matched controls. We found that pathological gamblers were more impulsive than controls in a stop-signal task and attributed this to changes in the activity of the paralimbic network: Pathological gamblers had reduced synchronization at rest in the high gamma range (55-100 Hz) compared with controls and failed to show an increase in gamma synchronization during rest compared with the task, as observed in controls. Subgroup analysis revealed that pathological gamblers without a history of stimulant abuse had lower PCC power during the stop-signal task compared with controls and gamblers with previous stimulant abuse. Furthermore, gamblers with a history of stimulant abuse had up to four times higher power at the ACC site during rest and the task compared with controls. In conclusion, pathological gamblers had higher impulsivity and functional paralimbic abnormalities, which could not be explained by a history of stimulant abuse. In addition, previous stimulant abuse had a marked effect on the amplitude of oscillatory brain activity in the ACC and PCC, suggesting long-term deleterious effects of repeated dopaminergic drug exposure. These consequences should be investigated in more detail in longitudinal studies. HubMed – drug


NMR-based functional profiling of RASopathies and oncogenic RAS mutations.

Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2013 Mar 4;
Smith MJ, Neel BG, Ikura M

Defects in the RAS small G protein or its associated network of regulatory proteins that disrupt GTPase cycling are a major cause of cancer and developmental RASopathy disorders. Lack of robust functional assays has been a major hurdle in RAS pathway-targeted drug development. We used NMR to obtain detailed mechanistic data on RAS cycling defects conferred by oncogenic mutations, or full-length RASopathy-derived regulatory proteins. By monitoring the conformation of wild-type and oncogenic RAS in real-time, we show that opposing properties integrate with regulators to hyperactivate oncogenic RAS mutants. Q61L and G13D exhibited rapid nucleotide exchange and an unexpected susceptibility to GAP-mediated hydrolysis, in direct contrast with G12V, indicating different approaches must be taken to inhibit these oncoproteins. An NMR methodology was established to directly monitor RAS cycling by intact, multidomain proteins encoded by RASopathy genes in mammalian cell extracts. By measuring GAP activity from tumor cells, we demonstrate how loss of neurofibromatosis type 1 (NF1) increases RAS-GTP levels in NF1-derived cells. We further applied this methodology to profile Noonan Syndrome (NS)-derived SOS1 mutants. Combining NMR with cell-based assays allowed us to differentiate defects in catalysis, allosteric regulation, and membrane targeting of individual mutants, while revealing a membrane-dependent compensatory effect that attenuates dramatic increases in RAS activation shown by Y337C, L550P, and I252T. Our NMR method presents a precise and robust measure of RAS activity, providing mechanistic insights that facilitate discovery of therapeutics targeted against the RAS signaling network. HubMed – drug



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