The resorcylic acid lactone hypothemycin has been shown to inactivate protein kinases by binding to a cysteine conserved in 46 protein kinases, including mitogen-activated protein kinase kinase (MEK), extracellular signal-regulated kinase (ERK) and platelet-derived growth factor receptor (PDGFR). We assessed the selectivity of hypothemycin in cellular contexts. Hypothemycin normalized the morphology and inhibited anchorage-independent growth of Ki-ras transformed normal rat kidney (NRK) cells with selectivity and potency comparable to or greater than that of the MEK inhibitor U0126. In Ki-ras-transformed and phorbol 12-myristate 13-acetate (PMA)-treated NRK cells, hypothemycin blocked ERK activation but showed a minimal effect on autophosphorylation of protein kinase D1 (PKD1), another kinase containing the conserved cysteine. Hypothemycin potently inhibited PDGFR autophosphorylation and activation of the MEK-ERK pathway in platelet-derived growth factor (PDGF)-treated NRK cells. However, the phosphoinositide-3-kinase (PI3K) pathway was only modestly attenuated. Hypothemycin also inhibited growth factor- and anchorage-independent growth of human cancer cell lines with a constitutively active MEK-ERK pathway. Although hypothemycin has the potential to inactivate various protein kinases, the results indicate that in intracellular environments, hypothemycin can inhibit the MEKERK axis with sufficient selectivity to normalize transformed phenotypes of cells dependent on this pathway.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Pharmaceutical Science