A high-content AlphaScreen™ identifies E6-specific small molecule inhibitors as potential therapeutics for HPV head and neck squamous cell carcinomas
The incidence of human papillomavirus-positive head and neck squamous cell carcinoma (HPV-HNSCC) has increased dramatically over the past decades due to an increase in infection of the oral mucosa by HPV. The etiology of HPV-HNSCC is linked to expression of the HPV oncoprotein, E6, which influences tumor formation, growth and survival. E6 effects this oncogenic phenotype in part through inhibitory protein-protein interactions (PPIs) and accelerated degradation of proteins with tumor suppressor properties, such as p53 and caspase 8. Interfering with the binding between E6 and its cellular partners may therefore represent a reasonable pharmacological intervention in HPV tumors. In this study, we probed a small-molecule library using AlphaScreen™ technology to discover novel E6 inhibitors. Following a cascade of screens we identified and prioritized one hit compound. Structure activity relationship (SAR) studies of this lead uncovered an analog, 30-hydroxygambogic acid (GA-OH), that displayed improved activity. Further testing of this analog in a panel of HPV and HPV cell lines showed good potency and a large window of selectivity as demonstrated by apoptosis induction and significant inhibition of cell growth, cell survival in HPV cells. In summary, GA-OH may serve as a starting point for the development of potent E6-specific inhibitors.
Chitsike, Lennox; Yuan, Chung-Hsiang; Roy, Anuradha; Boyle, Kristopher; and Duerksen-Hughes, Penelope J., "A high-content AlphaScreen™ identifies E6-specific small molecule inhibitors as potential therapeutics for HPV head and neck squamous cell carcinomas" (2021). LLU Faculty Publications. 298.