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Rational Design of Bisubstrate-Type Analogues as Inhibitors of DNA Methyltransferases in Cancer Cells

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journal contribution
posted on 02.05.2017, 00:00 by Ludovic Halby, Yoann Menon, Elodie Rilova, Dany Pechalrieu, Véronique Masson, Celine Faux, Mohamed Amine Bouhlel, Marie-Hélène David-Cordonnier, Natacha Novosad, Yannick Aussagues, Arnaud Samson, Laurent Lacroix, Fréderic Ausseil, Laurence Fleury, Dominique Guianvarc’h, Clotilde Ferroud, Paola B. Arimondo
Aberrant DNA hypermethylation of promoter of tumor suppressor genes is commonly observed in cancer, and its inhibition by small molecules is promising for their reactivation. Here we designed bisubstrate analogues-based inhibitors, by mimicking each substrate, the S-adenosyl-l-methionine and the deoxycytidine, and linking them together. This approach resulted in quinazoline–quinoline derivatives as potent inhibitors of DNMT3A and DNMT1, some showing certain isoform selectivity. We highlighted the importance of (i) the nature and rigidity of the linker between the two moieties for inhibition, as (ii) the presence of the nitrogen on the quinoline group, and (iii) of a hydrophobic group on the quinazoline. The most potent inhibitors induced demethylation of CDKN2A promoter in colon carcinoma HCT116 cells and its reactivation after 7 days of treatment. Furthermore, in a leukemia cell model system, we found a correlation between demethylation of the promoter induced by the treatment, chromatin opening at the promoter, and the reactivation of a reporter gene.