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In Silico Screening and Binding Characterization of Small Molecules toward a G‑Quadruplex Structure Formed in the Promoter Region of c‑MYC Oncogene

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journal contribution
posted on 2017-08-09, 17:43 authored by Jyotsna Bhat, Soma Mondal, Pallabi Sengupta, Subhrangsu Chatterjee
Overexpression of c-MYC oncogene is associated with cancer pathology. Expression of c-MYC is regulated by the G-quadruplex structure formed in the G-rich segment of nuclease hypersensitive element (NHE III1), that is, “Pu27”, which is localized in the promoter region. Ligand-induced stabilization of the Pu27 structure has been identified as a novel target for cancer therapeutics. Here, we have explored the library of synthetic compounds against the predefined binding site of Pu27. Three compounds were selected based on the docking analyses; they were further scrutinized using all atom molecular dynamics simulations in an explicit water model. Simulated trajectories were scrutinized for conformational stability and ligand binding free energy estimation; essential dynamic behavior was determined using principal component analysis. One of the molecules, “TPP (1-(3-(4-(1,2,3-thiadiazol-4-yl)phenoxy)-2-hydroxypropyl)-4-carbamoylpiperidinium)”, with the best results was considered for further evaluation. The theoretical observations are supported well by biophysical analysis using circular dichroism, isothermal titration calorimetry, and high-resolution NMR spectroscopy indicating association of TPP with Pu27. The in vitro studies were then translated into c-MYC overexpression in the T47D breast cancer cell line. Biological evaluation through the MTT assay, flow cytometric assay, RT-PCR, and reporter luciferase assay suggests that TPP downregulates the expression of c-MYC oncogene by arresting its promoter region. In silico and in vitro observations cumulatively suggest that the novel skeleton of TPP could be a potential anticancer agent by stabilizing the G-quadruplex formed in the Pu27 and consequently downregulating the expression of c-MYC oncogene. Derivation of new molecules on its skeleton may confer anticancer therapeutics for the next generation.

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