In Vitro Selection of Mutant HDM2 Resistant to Nutlin Inhibition.

In Vitro Selection of Mutant HDM2 Resistant to Nutlin Inhibition.

PLoS One. 2013; 8(4): e62564
Wei SJ, Joseph T, Sim AY, Yurlova L, Zolghadr K, Lane D, Verma C, Ghadessy F

HDM2 binds to the p53 tumour suppressor and targets it for proteosomal degradation. Presently in clinical trials, the small molecule Nutlin-3A competitively binds to HDM2 and abrogates its repressive function. Using a novel in vitro selection methodology, we simulated the emergence of resistance by evolving HDM2 mutants capable of binding p53 in the presence of Nutlin concentrations that inhibit the wild-type HDM2-p53 interaction. The in vitro phenotypes were recapitulated in ex vivo assays measuring both p53 transactivation function and the direct p53-HDM2 interaction in the presence of Nutlin. Mutations conferring drug resistance were not confined to the N-terminal p53/Nutlin-binding domain, and were additionally seen in the acidic, zinc finger and RING domains. Mechanistic insights gleaned from this broad spectrum of mutations will aid in future drug design and further our understanding of the complex p53-HDM2 interaction. HubMed – drug


Antidepressant treatment outcome depends on the quality of the living environment: a pre-clinical investigation in mice.

PLoS One. 2013; 8(4): e62226
Branchi I, Santarelli S, Capoccia S, Poggini S, D’Andrea I, Cirulli F, Alleva E

Antidepressants represent the standard treatment for major depression. However, their efficacy is variable and incomplete. A growing number of studies suggest that the environment plays a major role in determining the efficacy of these drugs, specifically of selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRI). A recent hypothesis posits that the increase in serotonin levels induced by SSRI may not affect mood per se, but enhances neural plasticity and, consequently, renders the individual more susceptible to the influence of the environment. Thus, SSRI administration in a favorable environment would lead to a reduction of symptoms, while in a stressful environment might lead to a worse prognosis. To test this hypothesis, we treated C57BL/6 adult male mice with chronic fluoxetine while exposing them to either (i) an enriched environment, after exposure to a chronic stress period aimed at inducing a depression-like phenotype, or (ii) a stressful environment. Anhedonia, brain BDNF and circulating corticosterone levels, considered endophenotypes of depression, were investigated. Mice treated with fluoxetine in an enriched condition improved their depression-like phenotype compared to controls, displaying higher saccharin preference, higher brain BDNF levels and reduced corticosterone levels. By contrast, when chronic fluoxetine administration occurred in a stressful condition, mice showed a more distinct worsening of the depression-like profile, displaying a faster decrease of saccharin preference, lower brain BDNF levels and increased corticosterone levels. Our findings suggest that the effect of SSRI on depression-like phenotypes in mice is not determined by the drug per se but is induced by the drug and driven by the environment. These findings may be helpful to explain variable effects of SSRI found in clinical practice and to device strategies aimed at enhancing their efficacy by means of controlling environmental conditions. HubMed – drug


Comparison of simple models of periodic protocols for combined anticancer therapy.

Comput Math Methods Med. 2013; 2013: 567213
Do?bniak M, Swierniak A

Several simple ordinary differential equation (ODE) models of tumor growth taking into account the development of its vascular network are discussed. Different biological aspects are considered from the simplest model of Hahnfeldt et al. proposed in 1999 to a model which includes drug resistance of cancer cells to chemotherapy. Some of these models can be used in clinical oncology to optimize antiangiogenic and cytostatic drugs delivery so as to ensure maximum efficacy. Simple models of continuous and periodic protocols of combined therapy are implemented. Discussion on the dynamics of the models and their complexity is presented. HubMed – drug


An Integrative Platform of TCM Network Pharmacology and Its Application on a Herbal Formula, Qing-Luo-Yin.

Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. 2013; 2013: 456747
Zhang B, Wang X, Li S

The scientific understanding of traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) has been hindered by the lack of methods that can explore the complex nature and combinatorial rules of herbal formulae. On the assumption that herbal ingredients mainly target a molecular network to adjust the imbalance of human body, here we present a-self-developed TCM network pharmacology platform for discovering herbal formulae in a systematic manner. This platform integrates a set of network-based methods that we established previously to catch the network regulation mechanism and to identify active ingredients as well as synergistic combinations for a given herbal formula. We then provided a case study on an antirheumatoid arthritis (RA) formula, Qing-Luo-Yin (QLY), to demonstrate the usability of the platform. We revealed the target network of QLY against RA-related key processes including angiogenesis, inflammatory response, and immune response, based on which we not only predicted active and synergistic ingredients from QLY but also interpreted the combinatorial rule of this formula. These findings are either verified by the literature evidence or have the potential to guide further experiments. Therefore, such a network pharmacology strategy and platform is expected to make the systematical study of herbal formulae achievable and to make the TCM drug discovery predictable. HubMed – drug