METHODS OF MODULATING SMYD3 FOR TREATMENT OF CANCER
The present invention features a method for determining the methyltransferase activity of a polypeptide and screening for modulators of methyltransferase activity, more particularly for modulators of the methylation of retinoblastoma by SMYD3. The invention further provides a method or pharmaceutical composition for prevention or treating of colorectal cancer, hepatocellular carcinoma, bladder cancer and/or breast cancer using a modulator so identified.
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This application claims the benefit of U.S. Provisional Application Ser. No. 60/695,957 filed Jul. 1, 2005, the contents of which are hereby incorporated by reference in their entirety.TECHNICAL FIELD
The present invention relates to transcriptional regulation, more particularly to the identification of agents that modulate methyltransferase activity, such as agents that modulate methylation of retinoblastoma by SMYD3 (also known as “ZNFN3A1”). As SMYD3 is up-regulated in a number of cancer types, SMYD3 modulators so identified may prove useful in the treatment of cancer, including, for example, colorectal carcinoma, hepatocellular carcinoma, breast cancer and bladder cancer.BACKGROUND ART
Recent molecular studies have disclosed that abrogated cell cycle control underlies a wide range of human tumors (Sherr, C. J., Science 274, 1672-7 (1996)). Genetic alteration in p53, RB1, or p16 genes is involved in a great majority of human cancers, where deregulated cell cycle progression results in uncontrolled cell proliferation (Hanahan, D. & Weinberg, R. A. Cell 100, 57-70 (2000); Sherr, C. J. & McCormick, F. Cancer Cell 2, 103-12 (2002)). Among the cell cycling, the G1/S boundary, wherein cell cycle is arrested, integrity of the genome is surveyed, and DNA damages are repaired, is critical for the maintenance of normal cellular and genomic properties. Two key signaling pathways, namely p53 and RB1, participate in the regulation of the G1/S boundary by controlling a number of downstream genes. Cells containing damaged DNA are arrested at this boundary by the induction p21Cip1 through transactivation of accumulated wild type p53 protein (Sherr, C. J. & Roberts, J. M. Genes Dev 13, 1501-12 (1999)). Isolated as a responsible gene for familial retinoblastoma (Friend, S. H. et al. Nature 323, 643-6 (1986); Fung, Y. K. et al. Science 236, 1657-61 (1987); Lee, W. H. et al. Science 235, 1394-9 (1987)), RB1 functions as a tumor suppressor through the control of cell cycle progression. From the G1 to the S cell cycle transition, RB1 is inactivated by phosphorylation, which is catalyzed by cyclin dependent kinases (CDKs). Under phosphorylated RB1 inhibits the activator E2Fs, transcription factors that modulate expression of genes required for DNA replication and cell cycle progression (Dannenberg, J. H., et al., Genes Dev 14, 3051-64 (2000); Sage, J. et al. Genes Dev 14, 3037-50 (2000)), by a direct interaction with their activation domain, alteration of chromatin structure complexed with HDACs, and recruitment of a repressor complex to E2F-binding site(s) in the promoter region of responsive genes (Weintraub, S. J., et al., Nature 358, 259-61 (1992); Sellers, W. R., et al., Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 92, 11544-8 (1995)). Phosphorylated by CDK/cyclin complexes, such as CDK4/cyclinD, RB1 dissociates E2Fs, which then transactivate downstream genes including cyclin E, c-Myb, CDK2, and BCL2.
The present inventors previously reported that SMYD3 has a di- and tri-methyltransferase activity on lysine 4 of histone H3 (H3-K4), and that elevated SMYD3 expression plays a crucial role in the proliferation of colorectal carcinoma (CRC) and hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) cells (Hamamoto, R. et al., Nat Cell Biol 6, 731-40 (2004)), because over-expression of SMYD3 resulted in growth promotion of NIH3T3 cells and the knockdown of endogenous SMYD3 expression in several cancer cells induced a growth inhibition and apoptosis of those cells. However, the precise mechanism(s) by which SMYD3-overexpression results in growth promotion remains unresolved. Modification of histones by acetylation, phosphorylation, and/or methylation regulates chromatin structure that leads to transcriptional activation or inactivation of target gene(s) by recruiting different molecules. Regarding histone lysine methylation, modification of H3-K4, H3-K36, and H3-K79 is associated with a transcriptional activation by the conformational change from heterochromatin to euchromatin structure (Im, H. et al., J Biol Chem 278, 18346-52 (2003); Bannister, A. J. et al., J Biol Chem 280, 17732-6 (2005); Schneider, R. et al., Nat Cell Biol 6, 73-7 (2004)), whereas methylation of H3-K9, H3-K27, and H4-K20 results in transcriptional repression by heterochromatin structure (Schotta, G. et al., Genes Dev 18, 1251-62 (2004); Nakayama, J. et al., Science 292, 110-3 (2001); Kirmizis, A. et al. Genes Dev 18, 1592-605 (2004)).SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION
The present invention is based, at least in part, on the discovery of a novel mechanism of RB1 regulation through lysine 824 methylation by SMYD3. SMYD3, also known under the gene name “ZNFN3A1”, is a histone H3 methyltransferase that is up-regulated in a great majority of colorectal and hepatocellular carcinomas (See, for example, WO 2003/027413) as well as bladder and breast cancers.
The C-terminal region of RB1 interacts with the SET domain of SMYD3. Furthermore, expression of SMYD3 enhanced the phosphorylation of 821/826 and 807/811 of RB1 by CDK2/cyclinE or CDK6/cyclinD3 complex in vitro and in vivo, which, in turn, resulted in augmented transcriptional activity of E2F in HEK293 cells. This data implies that enhanced SMYD3 expression promotes cell cycle progression through the modification of RB1 and subsequent transcriptional activation of E2F in cancer cells. The instant findings suggest a novel mechanism underlying the regulation of RB1. In addition, the present findings contribute to the better understanding of carcinogenesis, more particularly colorectal, hepatocellular, bladder and breast carcinogenesis, and thus contribute to the development new therapeutic strategies for these tumors.
- Accordingly, it is an object of the present invention to provide a method for identifying an agent that modulates methylation of retinoblastoma by SMYD3, the method including the steps of:
- (a) contacting an SMYD3 polypeptide having a methyltransferase activity with a retinoblastoma peptide to be methylated and a cofactor in the presence of a test agent under conditions suitable for the methylation of the retinoblastoma peptide;
- (b) detecting the methylation level of the retinoblastoma peptide; and
- (c) comparing the methylation level detected in step (b) with a control level detected in the absence of the agent
- wherein an increase or decrease in the methylation level as compared to the control level indicates that the agent modulates methylation of retinoblastoma by SMYD3.
- It is a further object of the present invention to provide a kit for detecting for the ability of a test compound to regulate methylation of retinoblastoma, such a kit including (a) an SMYD3 polypeptide having methyl transferase activity, (b) a retinoblastoma peptide capable of being methylated by the SMYD3 polypeptide, and (c) a cofactor for the methylation of the retinoblastoma peptide. In a further embodiment, the kit may optionally include S-adenosyl homocysteine hydrolase (SAHH).
The present invention further provides a method of screening for a compound for treating a cancer, such as colorectal cancer, hepatocellular carcinoma, bladder cancer, and breast cancer, such a method including the steps of: (a) identifying a test compound that modulates methylation according to the method described above, and (b) selecting the test compound that decreases the methylation level of the substrate to be methylated as compared to a control methylation level detected in the absence of the test compound.
The present invention further provides a composition for alleviating a symptom of a cancer, such as colorectal cancer, hepatocellular carcinoma, bladder cancer, and breast cancer, such composition composed of a pharmaceutically effective amount of a compound identified by the method described above and a pharmaceutically acceptable carrier.
It is a further object of the present invention to provide a method for alleviating a symptom of a cancer, such as colorectal cancer, hepatocellular carcinoma, bladder cancer, and breast cancer, including the step of contacting the cancer cell with a pharmaceutically effective amount of a compound identified by the method described above.
These and other objects, features and advantages of the invention will become more fully apparent when the following detailed description is read in conjunction with the accompanying figures and examples, as well as the claims appended hereto.
Unless otherwise defined, all technical and scientific terms used herein have the same meaning as commonly understood by one of ordinary skill in the art to which this invention belongs. In addition, the words “a”, “an” and “the” as used herein mean “at least one” unless otherwise specifically indicated.
Although methods and materials similar or equivalent to those described herein can be used in the practice or testing of the present invention, suitable methods and materials are described herein below.
All publications, patent applications, patents, and other references mentioned herein are incorporated by reference in their entirety. In case of conflict, the present specification, including definitions, will control. In addition, the materials, methods, and examples are illustrative only and not intended to be limiting.
The SMYD3 cDNA consists of 1622 nucleotides that contain an open reading frame of 1284 nucleotides as set forth in SEQ. ID. NO.:1. The open reading frame encodes a 428-amino acid protein with a zinc finger motif and a SET domain, as shown in SEQ. ID. NO.:2. The zinc finger domain (MYND) extends from amino acid 49 to amino acid 87 and the SET (Su 3-9, Enhancer-of-zeste, Trihorrax) domain extends from amino acid 117 to amino acid 246.
The subcellular localization of the SMYD3 protein is altered during cell cycle progression and by the density of cultured cells. The SMYD3 protein accumulates in the nucleus when cells are in middle to late S phase or cultured in sparse conditions. However, the SMYD3 protein localizes in the cytoplasm as well as in the nucleus when cells are in other phases of the cell cycle or grown in a dense condition.
The present invention thus provides a method of screening for an agent that modulates SMYD3 methyltransferase activity. The method is practiced by contacting an SMYD3 polypeptide or a functional equivalent thereof having methyltransferase activity with a retinoblastoma protein, and assaying methyltransferase activity of the contacted SMYD3 or its functional equivalent. An agent that modulates methyltransferase activity of the SMYD3 or functional equivalent is thereby identified.
In the present invention, the term “functionally equivalent” means that the subject protein or polypeptide has the same or substantially the same methyltransferase activity as SMYD3. In particular, the protein catalyzes the methylation of a retinoblastoma protein or a fragment of a retinoblastoma protein that includes lysine 824. Whether a subject protein has the target activity can be routinely determined by the present invention. Namely, the methyltransferase activity can be determined by (a) contacting a polypeptide with a substrate (e.g., a retinoblastoma protein or a fragment that includes lysine 824) and a co-factor (e.g., S-adenosyl-L-methionine) under conditions suitable for methylation of the substrate, and (b) detecting the methylation level of the substrate.
As used herein, the term “retinoblastoma peptide” refers to full length retinoblastoma proteins (e.g., SEQ ID NO: 4) as well as mutants and fragments thereof. Examples of functional fragments include, but are not limited to, C-terminal fragment such as the fragment composed of amino acids 769 to 921 of SEQ ID NO: 4. Preferred fragments include the lysine residue at position 824. Examples of functional mutants include, but are not limited to, the following RB1 mutants that retain the methylation capacity of the full length retinoblastoma protein: K889A, K896A, K791A, K814A, K791A/K824A, and K814A/K824A.
Methods for preparing proteins that are functional equivalents of a given protein are well known to those skilled in the art and include conventional methods of introducing mutations into the protein. For example, one skilled in the art can prepare proteins functionally equivalent to the human SMYD3 protein by introducing an appropriate mutation in the amino acid sequence of the human SMYD3 protein using site-directed mutagenesis for example (Hashimoto-Gotoh, T. et al. (1995), Gene 152, 271-275; Zoller, M J, and Smith, M. (1983), Methods Enzymol. 100, 468-500; Kramer, W. et al. (1984), Nucleic Acids Res. 12, 9441-9456; Kramer W, and Fritz H J. (1987) Methods. Enzymol. 154, 350-367; Kunkel, T A (1985), Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA. 82, 488-492). Amino acid mutations can occur in nature, too. A SMYD3 polypeptide useful in the context of the present invention includes those proteins having the amino acid sequences of the human SMYD3 protein in which one or more amino acids are mutated, provided the resulting mutated proteins are functional equivalents of the human SMYD3 protein, more particularly retain the methyltransferase activity of the human SMYD3 protein. The number of amino acids to be mutated in such a mutant is generally 20 amino acids or less, typically 10 amino acids or less, preferably 6 amino acids or less, and more preferably 3 amino acids or less. To maintain the methyltransferase activity, the SET-domain “NHSCXXN” and “GEELXXXY” are preferably conserved in the amino acid sequence of the mutated proteins (“X” indicates any amino acid).
Mutated or modified proteins, i.e., proteins having amino acid sequences modified by deleting, adding and/or replacing one or more amino acid residues of a certain amino acid sequence, are known to retain the biological activity of the original protein (Mark, D. F. et al., Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA (1984) 81, 5662-5666, Zoller, M. J. & Smith, M., Nucleic Acids Research (1982) 10, 6487-6500, Wang, A. et al., Science 224, 1431-1433, Dalbadie-McFarland, G. et al., Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA (1982) 79, 6409-6413).
The amino acid residue to be mutated is preferably mutated into a different amino acid that allows the properties of the amino acid side-chain to be conserved (a process known as conservative amino acid substitution). Examples of properties of amino acid side chains include hydrophobic amino acids (A, I, L, M, F, P, W, Y, V), hydrophilic amino acids (R, D, N, C, E, Q, G, H, K, S, T), and side chains having the following functional groups or characteristics in common: an aliphatic side-chain (G, A, V, L, I, P); a hydroxyl group containing side-chain (S, T, Y); a sulfur atom containing side-chain (C, M); a carboxylic acid and amide containing side-chain (D, N, E, Q); a base containing side-chain (R, K, H); and an aromatic containing side-chain (H, F, Y, W). Note, the parenthetic letters indicate the one-letter codes of amino acids.
An example of a protein in one or more amino acids residues are added to the amino acid sequence of human SMYD3 protein (SEQ ID NO: 2) is a fusion protein containing the human SMYD3 protein. Fusion proteins include fusions of the human SMYD3 protein and other peptides or proteins, and are used in the present invention. Fusion proteins can be made by techniques well known to a person skilled in the art, such as by linking the DNA encoding the human SMYD3 protein of the invention with DNA encoding other peptides or proteins, so that the frames match, inserting the fusion DNA into an expression vector and expressing it in a host. There is no restriction as to the peptides or proteins fused to the protein of the present invention.
Known peptides that can be used as peptides to be fused to the SMYD3 protein include, for example, FLAG (Hopp, T. P. et al., Biotechnology (1988) 6, 1204-1210), 6×His containing six His (histidine) residues, 10×His, Influenza agglutinin (HA), human c-myc fragment, VSP-GP fragment, p18HIV fragment, T7-tag, HSV-tag, E-tag, SV40T antigen fragment, lck tag, α-tubulin fragment, B-tag, Protein C fragment, and the like. Examples of proteins that may be fused to a protein of the invention include GST (glutathione-S-transferase), Influenza agglutinin (HA), immunoglobulin constant region, β-galactosidase, MBP (maltose-binding protein), and such.
Fusion proteins can be prepared by fusing commercially available DNA, encoding the fusion peptides or proteins discussed above, with the DNA encoding the protein of the present invention and expressing the fused DNA prepared.
An alternative method known in the art to isolate functionally equivalent proteins uses hybridization techniques to identify homologous sequences (Sambrook, J. et al., Molecular Cloning 2nd ed. 9.47-9.58, Cold Spring Harbor Lab. Press, 1989). One skilled in the art can readily isolate a DNA having high homology with a whole or part of the SMYD3 DNA sequence (e.g., SEQ ID NO: 1) encoding the human SMYD3 protein, and isolate proteins that are functionally equivalent to the human SMYD3 protein from the isolated DNA. The proteins used for the present invention include those that are encoded by DNA that hybridize with a whole or part of the DNA sequence encoding the human SMYD3 protein and are functional equivalents of the human SMYD3 protein. These proteins include mammal homologues corresponding to the protein derived from human or mouse (for example, a protein encoded by a monkey, rat, rabbit and bovine gene). In isolating a cDNA highly homologous to the DNA encoding the human SMYD3 protein from animals, it is particularly preferable to use tissues from skeletal muscle, testis, HCC, or colorectal tumors.
The condition of hybridization for isolating a DNA encoding a functional equivalent of the human SMYD3 protein can be routinely selected by a person skilled in the art. For example, hybridization may be performed by conducting prehybridization at 68° C. for 30 min or longer using “Rapid-hyb buffer” (Amersham LIFE SCIENCE), adding a labeled probe, and warming at 68° C. for 1 hour or longer. The following washing step can be conducted, for example, in a low stringent condition. A low stringency condition is, for example, 42° C., 2× SSC, 0.1% SDS, or preferably 50° C., 2×SSC, 0.1% SDS. More preferably, highly stringent conditions are used. In the context of the present invention, a highly stringent condition includes, for example, washing 3 times in 2×SSC, 0.01% SDS at room temperature for 20 min, then washing 3 times in 1×SSC, 0.1% SDS at 37° C. for 20 min, and washing twice in 1×SSC, 0.1% SDS at 50° C. for 20 min. However, several factors such as temperature and salt concentration can influence the stringency of hybridization and one skilled in the art can suitably select the factors to achieve the requisite stringency.
In place of hybridization, a gene amplification method, for example, the polymerase chain reaction (PCR) method, can be utilized to isolate a DNA encoding a protein that is functionally equivalent to the human SMYD3 protein, using a primer synthesized based on the sequence information of the DNA (SEQ ID NO: 1) encoding the human SMYD3 protein (SEQ ID NO: 2).
Proteins that are functional equivalents of the human SMYD3 protein, encoded by DNA isolated through the above hybridization techniques or by gene amplification techniques, normally have a high homology to the amino acid sequence of the human SMYD3 protein. “High homology” (also referred to as “high identity”) typically refers to the degree of identity between two optimally aligned sequences (either polypeptide or polynucleotide sequences). Typically, high homology or identity refers to homology of 40% or higher, preferably 60% or higher, more preferably 80% or higher, even more preferably 85%, 90%, 95%, 98%, 99%, or higher. The degree of homology or identity between two polypeptide or polynucleotide sequences can be determined by following the algorithm in “Wilbur, W. J. and Lipman, D. J. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA (1983) 80, 726-730”.
A protein useful in the context of the present invention may have variations in amino acid sequence, molecular weight, isoelectric point, the presence or absence of sugar chains, or form, depending on the cell or host used to produce it or the purification method utilized. Nevertheless, so long as it is a function equivalent of human SMYD3 protein (SEQ ID NO: 2), it is useful in the present invention.
The proteins useful in the context of the present invention can be prepared as recombinant proteins or natural proteins, by methods well known to those skilled in the art. A recombinant protein can be prepared by inserting a DNA encoding a protein of the present invention (for example, the DNA comprising the nucleotide sequence of SEQ ID NO: 1), into an appropriate expression vector, introducing the vector into an appropriate host cell, obtaining the extract, and purifying the protein by subjecting the extract to chromatography, for example, ion exchange chromatography, reverse phase chromatography, gel filtration, or affinity chromatography utilizing a column to which antibodies against the protein of the present invention is fixed, or by combining more than one of aforementioned columns.
In addition, when a protein useful in the context of the present invention is expressed within host cells (for example, animal cells and E. coli) as a fusion protein with glutathione-S-transferase protein or as a recombinant protein supplemented with multiple histidines, the expressed recombinant protein can be purified using a glutathione column or nickel column.
After purifying the fusion protein, it is also possible to exclude regions other than the objective protein by cutting with thrombin or factor-Xa as required.
A natural protein can be isolated by methods known to a person skilled in the art, for example, by contacting an affinity column, in which antibodies binding to the SMYD3 protein described below are bound, with the extract of tissues or cells expressing the protein of the present invention. The antibodies can be polyclonal antibodies or monoclonal antibodies.
In the present invention, the methyltransferase activity of a SMYD3 polypeptide can be determined by methods known in the art. For example, a SMYD3 polypeptide and a retinoblastoma peptide substrate can be incubated with a labeled methyl donor, under suitable assay conditions. Examples of preferred methyl donors include, but are not limited to, S-adenosyl-[methyl-14C]-L-methionine, and S-adenosyl-[methyl-3H]-L-methionine preferably. Transfer of the radiolabel to the retinoblastoma peptide can be detected, for example, by SDS-PAGE electrophoresis and fluorography. Alternatively, following the reaction, the retinoblastoma peptides can be separated from the methyl donor by filtration, and the amount of radiolabel retained on the filter quantitated by scintillation counting. Other suitable labels that can be attached to methyl donors, such as chromogenic and fluorescent labels, and methods of detecting transfer of these labels to retinoblastoma peptides, are known in the art.
Alternatively, the methyltransferase activity of SMYD3 can be determined using an unlabeled methyl donor (e.g. S-adenosyl-L-methionine) and reagents that selectively recognize methylated retinoblastoma peptides. For example, after incubation of SMYD3, substrate to be methylated and methyl donor, under conditions suitable for methylation of the substrate, methylated substrate can be detected using conventional immunological methods. Any immunological techniques that uses an antibody to recognize a methylated substrate can be used for the detection.
Furthermore, it was confirmed that phosphorylation of RB1 at Ser 807 and Ser 811 was enhanced in the methlated RB1 at Lys 824. Accordingly, in another embodiments, methylation level of the RB1 may be estimated via phosphorylation of RB1. Kinase such as CDK2 or CDK6 may also be required for the phosphorylation of RB1. The phosphorylation of RB1 may be detected using radiolabeled phosphate donor. Alternatively, antibody recognising phosphorylation site of RB1 may be used for estimating phosphorylation level of RB1.
Various low-throughput and high-throughput enzyme assay formats are known in the art and can be readily adapted for detection or measuring of the methyltransferase activity of SMYD3. For high-throughput assays, the retinoblastoma peptide substrate can conveniently be immobilized on a solid support, such as a multiwell plate, slide or chip. Following the reaction, the methylated product can be detected on the solid support by the methods described above. Alternatively, the methyltransferase reaction can take place in solution, after which the retinoblastoma peptide can be immobilized on a solid support, and the methylated product detected. To facilitate such assays, the solid support can be coated with streptavidin and the retinoblastoma labeled with biotin, or the solid support can be coated with anti-retinoblastoma antibodies. The skilled person can determine suitable assay formats depending on the desired throughput capacity of the screen.
The present invention also encompasses the use of partial peptides of a protein of the present invention. A partial peptide has an amino acid sequence specific to the SMYD3 protein and consists of less than about 400 amino acids, usually less than about 200 and often less than about 100 amino acids, and at least about 7 amino acids, preferably about 8 amino acids or more, and more preferably about 9 amino acids or more. The partial peptide can be used, for example, in the screening for an agent or compound that binds to the SMYD3 protein, and the screening for inhibitors of the binding between SMYD3 and a co-factor thereof, such as, for example, SAM. The partial peptide containing the SET-domain is preferably used for such screening.
A partial peptide useful in the context of the present invention can be produced by genetic engineering, by known methods of peptide synthesis, or by digesting the protein of the invention with an appropriate peptidase. For peptide synthesis, for example, solid phase synthesis or liquid phase synthesis may be used.
A SMYD3 mutant having a mutation of SET-domain shows inhibitory effects on cell proliferation. Therefore, a partial peptide of SMYD3 preferably includes the SET-domain “NHSCXXN” and/or “GEELXXXY”.
Any test agent can be used. Examples include, but are not limited to, cell extracts, cell culture supernatant, products of fermenting microorganism, extracts from marine organism, plant extracts, purified or crude proteins, peptides, non-peptide compounds, synthetic micromolecular compounds and natural compounds.
Test agents or compounds useful in the assays described herein can also take the form of antibodies that specifically bind to SMYD3 or partial SMYD3 peptides that lack methyltransferase activity. For example, antibodies (e.g., monoclonal antibodies) can be tested for the ability to block the binding between SMYD3 and its retinoblastoma substrate.
An agent or compound isolated by the screening methods of the present invention is a candidate for drugs that inhibit the methyltransferase activity of SMYD3 and, thus, can be applied to the treatment or prevention of hepatocellular, colorectal, breast and/or bladder cancer.
Moreover, agents or compounds in which a part of the structure of the agent or compound inhibiting the methyltransferase activity of SMYD3 is converted by addition, deletion and/or replacement are also included in the agents and compounds obtainable by the screening methods of the present invention.
As noted above, the agents or compounds that inhibit the methyltransferase activity of SMYD3 can be either partial peptides that lack the methyltransferase activity of SMYD3 or can be antibodies against SMYD3. As used herein, the term “antibody” refers to an immunoglobulin molecule having a specific structure, that interacts (i.e., binds) only with the antigen that was used for synthesizing the antibody or with an antigen closely related thereto. Furthermore, an antibody may be a fragment of an antibody or a modified antibody, so long as it binds to the proteins encoded by SMYD3 gene. For instance, the antibody fragment may be Fab, F(ab′)2, Fv, or single chain Fv (scFv), in which Fv fragments from H and L chains are ligated by an appropriate linker (Huston J. S. et al. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A. 85:5879-5883 (1988)). More specifically, an antibody fragment may be generated by treating an antibody with an enzyme, such as papain or pepsin. Alternatively, a gene encoding the antibody fragment may be constructed, inserted into an expression vector, and expressed in an appropriate host cell (see, for example, Co M. S. et al. J. Immunol. 152:2968-2976 (1994); Better M. and Horwitz A. H. Methods Enzymol. 178:476-496 (1989); Pluckthun A. and Skerra A. Methods Enzymol. 178:497-515 (1989); Lamoyi E. Methods Enzymol. 121:652-663 (1986); Rousseaux J. et al. Methods Enzymol. 121:663-669 (1986); Bird R. E. and Walker B. W. Trends Biotechnol. 9:132-137 (1991)).
An antibody may be modified by conjugation with a variety of molecules, such as polyethylene glycol (PEG). The present invention provides such modified antibodies. The modified antibody can be obtained by chemically modifying an antibody. Such modification methods are conventional in the field. Alternatively, an antibody may comprise as a chimeric antibody having a variable region derived from a nonhuman antibody and a constant region derived from a human antibody, or a humanized antibody, comprising a complementarity determining region (CDR) derived from a nonhuman antibody, the frame work region (FR) derived from a human antibody and the constant region. Such antibodies can be prepared by using known technologies. Humanization can be performed by substituting rodent CDRs or CDR sequences for the corresponding sequences of a human antibody (see e.g., Verhoeyen et al., Science 239:1534-1536 (1988)). Accordingly, such humanized antibodies are chimeric antibodies, wherein substantially less than an intact human variable domain has been substituted by the corresponding sequence from a non-human species.
Fully human antibodies, comprising human variable regions in addition to human framework and constant regions, can also be used. Such antibodies can be produced using various techniques that are known in the art. For example, in vitro methods involving the use of recombinant libraries of human antibody fragments displayed on bacteriophage may be used (e.g., Hoogenboom & Winter, J. Mol. Biol. 227:381 (1991)), Similarly, human antibodies can be made by introducing of human immunoglobulin loci into transgenic animals, e.g., mice in which the endogenous immunoglobulin genes have been partially or completely inactivated. This approach is described, e.g., in U.S. Pat. Nos. 6,150,584, 5,545,807; 5,545,806; 5,569,825; 5,625,126; 5,633,425; 5,661,016.
When administrating an agent or compound isolated by a method of the present invention as a pharmaceutical for humans and other mammals, such as mice, rats, guinea-pigs, rabbits, cats, dogs, sheep, pigs, cattle, monkeys, baboons, and chimpanzees, the isolated agent or compound can be directly administered or can be formulated into a dosage form using known pharmaceutical preparation methods. For example, according to the need, the drugs can be taken orally, as sugar-coated tablets, capsules, elixirs and microcapsules, or non-orally, in the form of injections of sterile solutions or suspensions with water or any other pharmaceutically acceptable liquid. For example, the agents or compounds can be mixed with pharmaceutically acceptable carriers or media, specifically, sterilized water, physiological saline, plant-oils, emulsifiers, suspending agents, surfactants, stabilizers, flavoring agents, excipients, vehicles, preservatives, binders, and such in a unit dose form required for generally accepted drug implementation. The amount of active ingredients in these preparations makes a suitable dosage within the indicated range acquirable.
Examples of additives that can be mixed to tablets and capsules are, binders such as gelatin, corn starch, tragacanth gum and arabic gum; excipients such as crystalline cellulose; swelling agents such as corn starch, gelatin and alginic acid; lubricants such as magnesium stearate; sweeteners such as sucrose, lactose or saccharin; and flavoring agents such as peppermint, Gaultheria adenothrix oil and cherry. When the unit-dose form is a capsule, a liquid carrier, such as an oil, can also be further included in the above ingredients. Sterile composites for injections can be formulated following normal drug implementations using vehicles such as distilled water used for injections.
Physiological saline, glucose, and other isotonic liquids including adjuvants, such as D-sorbitol, D-mannose, D-mannitol, and sodium chloride, can be used as aqueous solutions for injections. These can be used in conjunction with suitable solubilizers, such as alcohol, specifically ethanol, polyalcohols such as propylene glycol and polyethylene glycol, non-ionic surfactants, such as Polysorbate 80 ™ and HCO-50.
Sesame oil or soy-bean oil can be used as a oleaginous liquid and may be used in conjunction with benzyl benzoate or benzyl alcohol as a solubilizer and may be formulated with a buffer, such as phosphate buffer and sodium acetate buffer; a pain-killer, such as procaine hydrochloride; a stabilizer, such as benzyl alcohol and phenol; and an anti-oxidant. The prepared injection may be filled into a suitable ampule.
Methods well known to one skilled in the art may be used to administer a pharmaceutical composition of the present invention to patients, for example as intraarterial, intravenous, or percutaneous injections and also as intranasal, intramuscular or oral administrations. The dosage and method of administration vary according to the body-weight and age of a patient and the administration method; however, one skilled in the art can routinely select a suitable method of administration. In addition, if the agent or compound of interest is encodable by a DNA, the DNA can be inserted into a vector for gene therapy and the vector administered to a patient to perform the therapy. The dosage and method of administration vary according to the body-weight, age, and symptoms of the patient but one skilled in the art can suitably select them.
For example, although the dose of an agent or compound that binds to SMYD3 and regulates its activity depends on the symptoms, a typical dose ranges from about 0.1 mg to about 100 mg per day, preferably about 1.0 mg to about 50 mg per day and more preferably about 1.0 mg to about 20 mg per day, when administered orally to a normal adult (weight 60 kg).
When administering parenterally, in the form of an injection to a normal adult (weight 60 kg), although there are some differences according to the patient, target organ, symptoms and method of administration, it is convenient to intravenously inject a dose of about 0.01 mg to about 30 mg per day, preferably about 0.1 to about 20 mg per day and more preferably about 0.1 to about 10 mg per day. Also, in the case of other animals too, it is possible to administer an amount converted to 60 kgs of body-weight.
The present invention further provides a method for treating cancer in a subject, such as hepatocellular carcinoma, colorectal carcinoma, bladder cancer and breast cancer. Administration can be prophylactic or therapeutic to a subject at risk of (or susceptible to) a disorder or having a disorder associated with aberrant the methyltransferase activity of SMYD3. The method includes decreasing the function of SMYD3 in a suitable cancer cell. Function can be inhibited through the administration of an agent or compound obtained by a screening method of the present invention.
In another aspect, the present invention includes pharmaceutical, or therapeutic, compositions containing one or more therapeutic agents or, compounds described herein. Alternatively, the present invention also provides use of one or more therapeutic agents or compounds described herein for manufacturing a pharmaceutical, or therapeutic, compositions for treating and/or preventing of cancer, more particularly hepatocellular carcinoma, colorectal carcinoma, bladder cancer and breast cancer. Pharmaceutical formulations may include those suitable for oral, rectal, nasal, topical (including buccal and sub-lingual), vaginal or parenteral (including intramuscular, sub-cutaneous and intravenous) administration, or for administration by inhalation or insufflation. The formulations may, where appropriate, be conveniently presented in discrete dosage units and may be prepared by any of the methods well known in the art of pharmacy. All such pharmacy methods include the steps of bringing into association the active compound with liquid carriers or finely divided solid carriers or both as needed and then, if necessary, shaping the product into the desired formulation.
Pharmaceutical formulations suitable for oral administration may conveniently be presented as discrete units, such as capsules, cachets or tablets, each containing a predetermined amount of the active ingredient; as a powder or granules; or as a solution, a suspension or as an emulsion. The active ingredient may also be presented as a bolus electuary or paste, and be in a pure form, i.e., without a carrier. Tablets and capsules for oral administration may contain conventional excipients such as binding agents, fillers, lubricants, disintegrant or wetting agents. A tablet may be made by compression or molding, optionally with one or more formulational ingredients. Compressed tablets may be prepared by compressing in a suitable machine the active ingredients in a free-flowing form such as a powder or granules, optionally mixed with a binder, lubricant, inert diluent, lubricating, surface active or dispersing agent. Molded tablets may be made by molding in a suitable machine a mixture of the powdered compound moistened with an inert liquid diluent. The tablets may be coated according to methods well known in the art. Oral fluid preparations may be in the form of, for example, aqueous or oily suspensions, solutions, emulsions, syrups or elixirs, or may be presented as a dry product for constitution with water or other suitable vehicle before use. Such liquid preparations may contain conventional additives such as suspending agents, emulsifying agents, non-aqueous vehicles (which may include edible oils), or preservatives. The tablets may optionally be formulated so as to provide slow or controlled release of the active ingredient therein.
Formulations for parenteral administration include aqueous and non-aqueous sterile injection solutions which may contain anti-oxidants, buffers, bacteriostats and solutes which render the formulation isotonic with the blood of the intended recipient; and aqueous and non-aqueous sterile suspensions which may include suspending agents and thickening agents. The formulations may be presented in unit dose or multi-dose containers, for example sealed ampoules and vials, and may be stored in a freeze-dried (lyophilized) condition requiring only the addition of the sterile liquid carrier, for example, saline, water-for-injection, immediately prior to use. Alternatively, the formulations may be presented for continuous infusion. Extemporaneous injection solutions and suspensions may be prepared from sterile powders, granules and tablets of the kind previously described.
Formulations for rectal administration may be presented as a suppository with the usual carriers such as cocoa butter or polyethylene glycol. Formulations for topical administration in the mouth, for example buccally or sublingually, include lozenges, comprising the active ingredient in a flavored base such as sucrose and acacia or tragacanth, and pastilles comprising the active ingredient in a base such as gelatin and glycerin or sucrose and acacia. For intra-nasal administration the compounds obtained by the invention may be used as a liquid spray or dispersible powder or in the form of drops. Drops may be formulated with an aqueous or non-aqueous base also comprising one or more dispersing agents, solubilizing agents or suspending agents. Liquid sprays are conveniently delivered from pressurized packs.
For administration by inhalation the compounds are conveniently delivered from an insufflator, nebulizer, pressurized packs or other convenient means of delivering an aerosol spray. Pressurized packs may comprise a suitable propellant such as dichlorodifluoromethane, trichlorofluoromethane, dichlorotetrafluoroethane, carbon dioxide or other suitable gas. In the case of a pressurized aerosol, the dosage unit may be determined by providing a valve to deliver a metered amount.
Alternatively, for administration by inhalation or insufflation, the compounds may take the form of a dry powder composition, for example a powder mix of the compound and a suitable powder base such as lactose or starch. The powder composition may be presented in unit dosage form, in for example, capsules, cartridges, gelatin or blister packs from which the powder may be administered with the aid of an inhalator or insufflators.
When desired, the above described formulations, adapted to give sustained release of the active ingredient, may be employed. The pharmaceutical compositions may also contain other active ingredients such as antimicrobial agents, immunosuppressants or preservatives.
It should be understood that in addition to the ingredients particularly mentioned above, the formulations of this invention may include other agents conventional in the art having regard to the type of formulation in question, for example, those suitable for oral administration may include flavoring agents.
Preferred unit dosage formulations are those containing an effective dose, as recited below, or an appropriate fraction thereof, of the active ingredient.
For each of the aforementioned conditions, the compositions may be administered orally or via injection at a dose of from about 0.1 to about 250 mg/kg per day. The dose range for adult humans is generally from about 5 mg to about 17.5 g/day, preferably about 5 mg to about 10 g/day, and most preferably about 100 mg to about 3 g/day. Tablets or other unit dosage forms of presentation provided in discrete units may conveniently contain an amount which is effective at such dosage or as a multiple of the same, for instance, units containing about 5 mg to about 500 mg, usually from about 100 mg to about 500 mg.
The pharmaceutical composition preferably is administered orally or by injection (intravenous or subcutaneous), and the precise amount administered to a subject will be the responsibility of the attendant physician. However, the dose employed will depend upon a number of factors, including the age and sex of the subject, the precise disorder being treated, and its severity. Also the route of administration may vary depending upon the condition and its severity.
The following examples are merely illustrative and are not intended to limit the scope of the present invention. While aspects of the present invention are described in the following examples, those skilled in the art will recognize that other methods and materials similar or equivalent to those described herein can be used in the practice or testing of the present invention.EXAMPLES Materials and Methods Reagents:
Anti-RB (IF8), anti-phospho RB (Ser 807/811, sc-16670), and anti-phospho RB (Thr 821/826) antibodies were purchased from Santa Cruz Biotechnology, anti-Flag antibody from SIGMA, and anti-pan-methyl lysine antibody (ab7315) was from Abeam Ltd. Recombinant SMYD3 protein or synthetic RB1 peptides (residues 820-828) containing di- or tri-methylated lysine 824 were inoculated into rabbits (SIGMA-ALDRICH, St. Louis, Mo.), and polyclonal antibodies were purified from sera of the immunized rabbits. Recombinant C-terminal GST-RB1 and full-length GST-p53 proteins were from Santa Cruz Biotechnology, His-conjugated C-terminal RB1, CDK2/cyclin E and CDK6/cyclinD3 proteins were from Upstate Biotechnology, full-length recombinant RB protein (3108) was from QED Bioscience. S-(5′-Adenosyl)-L-homocysteine hydrolase (SAHH) was obtained from SIGMA.In Vitro Methyltransferase and Kinase Assays:
293T cells were transfected with plasmid expressing Flag-tagged wild-type SMYD3 (p3XFLAG-CMV-SMYD3), mutant SMYD3 (p3XFLAG-CMV-SMYD3ΔEEL), and purified tagged-SMYD3 protein by immunoprecipitation with anti-Flag antibody. Recombinant SMYD3 protein was prepared in Sf9 cells using Baculovirus system (Clontech). In vitro HMTase assay was performed with a slight modification as described elsewhere (Strahl, B. D., et al. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 96, 14967-72 (1999)). Briefly, immunoprecipitated or recombinant SMYD3 protein was mixed with 1 μg of recombinant histone H3, RB1, or p53 protein in the presence of 2 μCi of [methyl-3H]-labeled S-adenosyl-L-methionine (SAM, Amersham Biosciences) as methyl donor in methyltransferase buffer (50 mM Tris-HCl pH 8.5, 100 mM NaCl, 10 mM DTT). The reaction mixture was incubated for 1 hr at 30° C. Proteins were separated in SDS-PAGE, and labeled proteins were detected by fluorography. In vitro kinase assays of CDK2/cyclinE and CDK6/cyclinD3 were carried out according to the manufacture's protocol (Upstate Biotechnology). Both non-methylated and methylated RB1 (#12-439, Upstate Biotechnology) were used as the reaction substrate.In Vivo Methylation Assay:
To measure methylated RB1 in vivo, in vivo labeling of RB1 was carried out with [methyl-3H]-labeled S-adenosyl-L-methionine in cultured cells, according to the method described by Liu and Dreyfuss (Liu, Q. & Dreyfuss, G. Mol Cell Biol 15, 2800-8 (1995)) with slight modification. HEK293 cells were incubated with 100 μg/ml of cycloheximide and 40 μg/ml of chloramphenicol at 37° C. for 30 min, when the medium was then replaced by medium containing 10 μCi/ml of L-[methyl-3H] methionine and the protein synthesis inhibitors without unlabeled methionine, and maintained for an additional 3 h. The whole cell lysates were subjected to immunoprecipitation with anti-RB antibody (IF8; Santa Cruz Biotechnology). The immunoprecipitated RB1 protein was separated on SDS-PAGE, and subsequently transferred to a nitrocellulose membrane, which was analyzed by BAS imaging system (BAS-TR2040, FUJI) or immunoblot analysis.Immunocytochemical Staining:
Cultured cells on chamber slides were fixed with PBS containing 4% paraformaldehyde for 15 min, then rendered permeable with PBS containing 0.1% Triton X-100 for 2.5 min at room temperature. The cells were covered with 2% BSA in PBS for 24 h at 4° C. to block non-specific hybridization, and then incubated with anti-SMYD3 antibody, anti-RB [IF8] antibody and anti-phospho RB (Thr 821/826) antibody as the first antibody. As secondary antibody, fluorescent substrate-conjugated anti-rabbit or anti-mouse IgG (Molecular probes) were used; nuclei were counter-stained with 4′, 6-diamidino-2-phenylindole dihydrochloride (DAPI). Fluorescent images were obtained with TCS-SP2 confocal microscope (Leica).Luciferase Assay:
Luciferase assays were carried out using a Dual-Luciferase Reporter Assay System according to the manufacturer's instructions (Promega).Cell Lines and Tissue Specimens:
Human embryonic kidney 293 (HEK293), HEK293T, and HEK293F cells were purchased from IWAKI. A human hepatoma cell line HepG2, and HCT116 and SW480 human colon cancer lines were obtained from the American Type Culture Collection (ATCC). A human HCC cell line SNU423 was a gift from the Korea cell-line bank. T47D and MCF7 breast cancer cell lines were kindly provided from the cancer institute of the Japanese foundation for cancer research. All cell lines were grown in monolayers in appropriate media. Primary breast cancer tissues were obtained with informed consent from patients (Hamamoto, R. et al. Cancer Sci 97, 113-118 (2006).).Preparation of Plasmids:
Preparation of C-terminal FLAG-tagged SMYD3 was described previously (Hamamoto, R. et al. Nat Cell Biol 6, 731-740 (2004).). We additionally prepared plasmids expressing N-terminal HA-tagged, or N-terminal 3×FLAG-tagged SMYD3 by cloning various PCR products containing either wild-type or deleted forms of SMYD3 cDNA into an appropriate site of pCMV-HA (Clontech) or p3XFLAG-CMV14 (Sigma) vector. Primers used for wild-type plasmids were 5′-AAGCTTGCGGCCGCGATGGAGCCGCTGAAGGTGGAAAAG-3′ (SEQ ID NO: 5), and 5′-GGTACCTCTAGATTAGGATGCTCTGATGTTGGCGTC-3′ (SEQ ID NO: 6), and those used for mutants (FLAG-SMYD3-ΔN44, -ΔN99, -ΔN244, and -Δ34) were 5′-GGGGTACCTTAGGATGCTCTGATGTTGGCGTC-3′ (SEQ ID NO: 7) and 5′-CGGAATTCTGGCGCGATGGAGCCGCTGAAGGTGGAAAAG-3′ (SEQ ID NO: 8), 5′-CGGAATTCTGACTCCGTTCGACTTCTTGGCAG-3′ (SEQ ID NO: 9), 5′-CGGAATTCTCGGAAGCAGCTGAGGGACCAGTACTGC-3′ (SEQ ID NO: 10), or 5′-CGGAATTCACCCTTGGCGTACACGGTGTGCAAGG-3′ (SEQ ID NO: 11), respectively. Mutant plasmids expressing substitution(s) at glycine 15, 17, or 27 were prepared using QuikChange II XL site-directed mutagenesis Kit according to the supplier's protocol (Stratagene, Calif., USA).Western Blot Analysis:
A polyclonal antibody to SMYD3 was purified from sera of rabbits immunized with a recombinant His-tagged SMYD3 protein produced in E. coli as described elsewhere. Proteins were separated by 10% SDS-PAGE and immunoblotted with anti-SMYD3, anti-HA (Sigma), anti-FLAG (Sigma), anti-GST (Pharmingen), or anti-β-actin (Sigma) antibody. HRP-conjugated anti-rabbit IgG, anti-mouse IgG (Amersham Biosciences), or anti-goat IgG (Santa Cruz) antibody served as the secondary antibody for the ECL Detection System (Amersham).Determination of Cleavage Site:
C-terminal-FLAG-tagged SMYD3 was expressed exogenously in 293F cells. Immunoprecipitated SMYD3 protein with anti-FLAG antibody from the cells was separated on duplicated SDS-PAGE gels, and transferred to a nitrocellulose membrane and a sequence grade PVDF membrane. The nitrocellulose membrane was used for immunoblot analysis with anti-FLAG antibody to detect two forms of SMYD3 protein. After staining of the PVDF membrane with CBB solution without acetic acid (0.025% CBB in 40% methanol), we excised the band corresponding the short form of SMYD3 and subjected to amino acid sequence. The amino acid sequence of the protein was determined by Edman amino acid sequence method (Shimadzu Biotechnologies, Tokyo, Japan).In Vitro Histone Methyltransferase (HMTase) Assay:
FLAG-tagged SMYD3 was purified from 293T cells expressing wild-type (p3XFLAG-CMV-SMYD3) or mutant SMYD3 (p3XFLAG-ΔN34, -ΔN44, -SETNm1, -SETNm2 and -SETNm3) by immunoprecipitation with anti-FLAG antibody. GST-fused SMYD3 proteins were purified from bacterial cells expressing wild-type (GST-SMYD3-wt) or mutant SMYD3 constructs (GST-SMYD3-ΔN9, -ΔN19, -ΔN29, -ΔN44, -ΔN74). In vitro HMTase assay was performed as described elsewhere (Hamamoto, R. et al. Nat Cell Biol 6, 731-740 (2004).). 3H-radioactivity was measured by liquid scintillation counter.Example 1 RB1 as a Substrate for SMYD3
Since two recent reports showed that a histone H3-K4 methyltransferase SET7/9 catalyzes TAF10 and p53 as a substrates (Chuikov, S. et al., Nature 432, 353-60 (2004)), the present inventors searched for additional substrates for SMYD3 (GenBank Accession NO. AB057595; SEQ ID NO; 1, 2) other than histone H3. Because they are well known regulators of cell cycle progression, p53 and RB1 were first tested (GenBank Accession NO. NM—000321; SEQ ID NO; 3, 4) as candidate substrates. In the course of investigation, recombinant histone H3, wild-type p53, and C-terminal region of RB1 (codons 769-921) were incubated in the presence of 3H-labeled SAM, a methyl donor, together with immunoprecipitated SMYD3 protein from 293T cells. Subsequent PAGE and autoradiography showed bands corresponding methylated histone H3, which is consistent with the finding that SMYD3 methylate histone H3. Interestingly, bands corresponding to methylated RB1 were also detected; however, no bands corresponding to methylated p53 were detected (
To investigate a possible association between SMYD3 and RB1 proteins, proteins extracted from HepG2 or HCT116 cells were immunoprecipitated with anti-SMYD3 antibody. As expected, bands corresponding to RB1 protein were observed by immunoblot analysis with anti-RB1 antibody (
To determine the residue(s) responsible for the methylation of the substrate domain of RB1, conserved amino acid sequences in the substrates of SET7/9 methyltransferases were compared. Since the methylated lysines were preceded by either serine or threonine, the present inventors focused on lysine 824, lysine 889, and lysine 896 as candidates. Recombinant proteins, of wild type and three forms of mutant substrate domain of RB1, were prepared (
To further examine methylation of RB1 by SMYD3 in vivo, in vivo methylation assays were carried out (Liu, Q. & Dreyfuss, G. Mol Cell Biol 15, 2800-8 (1995)) using HEK293 cells that do not express SMYD3. HEK293 cell lines expressing SMYD3 (HEK-SMYD3-1 and -2) (
The lysine 824 of RB1 is located between threonine 821st and 826th; residues phosphorylated by CDK/cyclin complexes, and that regulate the interaction between RB1 and E2F through the conformational change of central pocket domain. To examine the effect of RB1 methylation on the phosphorylation of these surrounding threonines, in vivo phosphorylation assays were carried out using methylated or unmethylated RB1 protein. Recombinant C-terminal RB1 was incubated with 3H-labeled SAM in the presence or absence of SMYD3, and then mixed with 32P-γATP in combination with either recombinant CDK2/CyclinE or CDK6/CyclinD3. Methylation and phosphorylation of the recombinant RB1 was measured simultaneously by liquid scintillation counter. The C-terminal RB1 protein incorporated four to six fold higher amount of 3H-labeled methyl donor in the presence of SMYD3 than the absence of SMYD3 (data not shown). Importantly, SMYD3 enhanced the phosphorylation of RB1 by CDK2/CyclinE complex in a dose-dependent manner, while SMYD3 alone did not increase the phosphorylation (
To investigate enhanced phosphorylation of RB1 in vivo, western blot analysis was carried out with anti-phosphorylated RB1 antibody using extracts from HEK-SMYD3 and HEK-Mock cells. Consistent with the enhanced phosphorylation of RB1 protein in vitro, elevated phosphorylation of both serine 807/811 and threonine 821/826 was detected in HEK-SMYD cells as compared to the control cells (
We showed in our earlier studies that expression levels of SMYD3 protein is elevated in human hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC), colorectal carcinoma (CRC), and breast cancer (Hamamoto, R. et al. Nat Cell Biol 6, 731-740 (2004), Hamamoto, R. et al. Cancer Sci 97, 113-118 (2006).). Interestingly, western blot analysis with anti-SMYD3 antibody showed two bands of 45-kDa and 42-kDa in all breast cancer tissues examined, but it detected neither of the two bands in normal mammary gland. Both of 45-kDa and 42-kDa bands were observed in HCC, CRC, and breast cancer cell lines (
In an attempt to determine the exact cleavage site of SMYD3, we purified the 42-kDa protein from PVDF-membrane transferred with immunoprecipitated FLAG-tagged SMYD3 protein (
To investigate the methyltransferase activity of the cleaved SMYD3 protein, we expressed 3×FLAG-tagged wild-type, or 34- or 44-amino acids-deleted forms of SMYD3 exogenously in HEK293 cells, and immunoprecipitated these proteins (
To determine the importance of the conserved amino acid sequence in the SET-N region for the suppressed enzyme activity, we prepared plasmids expressing wild-type or mutant N-terminal FLAG-tagged SMYD3 protein, SMYD3-SETNm1, -SETNm2, or -SETNm3, containing substitution(s) of both Gly15Ala and Gly17Ala, Gly15Ala, or Gly27Ala, respectively (
Since the N-terminal region enhanced its enzymatic activity, we hypothesized two possible mechanisms; the N-terminal region might associate with undetermined negative regulatory factor(s) for the enzyme activity, or the deletion might confer conformational change of the protein leading to enhanced enzyme activity. To determine whether additional negative regulatory factor(s) may play a role in the enzyme activity, we prepared recombinant proteins of wild-type and N-terminal deleted SMYD3, and investigated their HMTase activity in vitro. As shown in
Disclosed herein is the finding that SMYD3 has a methyltransferase activity on lysine 824 of RB1 in vitro and in vivo, and that the methylated RB1 is more susceptible for phosphorylation by CDK/cyclin complex than unmethylated RB1. Consequently, HEK293-SMYD3 cells expressing SMYD3 showed elevated E2F-transcriptional activity compared to HEK293-Mock cells, which is in good agreement with growth-promoting effect of SMYD3, because E2F-1 overexpression can promoter transition from the G1 phase to the S phase of the cell cycle by regulating a series of genes whose products are essential for cell proliferation. Harbour et al. presented a model of RB1 phosphorylation during the G1-S progression, in which phosphorylation of RB1 initiates sequential intramolecular interaction between the C-terminal region and the pocket domain (Harbour, J. W. et al., D. C. Cell 98, 859-69 (1999)). During the G1 phase, phosphorylation of the C-terminal region of RB1 by CDK4/6-cyclin D triggers intramolecular interaction with the central pocket domain, which inhibits HDAC binding, thereby blocking active transcriptional repression. The interaction facilitates accession of CDK2/cyclin E to serine 567 of RB1, which, in turn, results in disruption of the A/B interface and preventing the RB1 interaction with E2F. In this model, successive phosphorylation of RB1 by both CDK4/6-cyclinD and CDK2/cyclin E complexes is required for the dissociation of E2F (Lundberg, A. S. & Weinberg, R. A. Mol Cell Biol 18, 753-61 (1998)). Reportedly, phosphorylation of Thr821 and Thr826 in RB1 inactivates the interaction between the A/B pocket domain and LXCXE motif-containing proteins including E2Fs and HDACs, while phosphorylation of Ser807 and Ser811 inactivates the C-terminal domain. This data agrees with the instant discovery that cells expressing SMYD3 show higher E2F transcriptional activity, as methylation of RB1 by SMYD3 enhanced the phosphorylation by CDK2/cyclin E or CDK6/cyclin D complexes, and phosphorylation of Thr821/826 is elevated. Alternatively, methylation of lysine 824 may directly change the conformation of the C-terminal region, and thereby inhibit the association of the pocket domain with E2F, because lysine methylation of both histones and p53 leads to their conformational change (Tsuge, M. et al. Nat Genet. 37, 1104-7 (2005)). Since SMYD3 increases the transcriptional activity of E2F, elevated SMYD3 may enhance E2F1 activity as a positive feedback mechanism. Hence SMYD3-mediated RB1 inactivation is likely to play a crucial role in human carcinogenesis.
It is of note that RB1 plays a role in transcriptional repression through several mechanisms; RB1 interacts with transcription factors and directly suppresses their activity; recruitment of RB1 into the promoter region blocks the assembly of pre-initiation complexes; it also associates with class I HDACs (HDAC-1, -2, and -3), and induces the deacetylation of histories, resulting in conformational change to heterochromatin state; it forms a complex with DNMT1 leading to the DNA methylation in promoter region of target genes (Harbour, J. W. & Dean, D. C. Genes Dev 14, 2393-409 (2000); Robertson, K. D. et al. Nat Genet. 25, 338-42 (2000)). In addition to these mechanisms, recent studies on histone methylation disclosed that RB1 also associates with histone methyltransferases including SUV39H, and Suv4-20h1 or Suv4-20h1, which are involved in H3-K9 and H4-K20 methylation, respectively (Gonzalo, S. et al. Nat Cell Biol 7, 420-8 (2005); Nielsen, S. J. et al. Nature 412, 561-5 (2001)). Bound to these methyltransferases, RB1 stabilizes heterochromatin formation by recruiting HP1 or CBX into the complex. The instant findings bring a novel insight into the regulation of transcriptional activation of histone H3-K4 methyltransferase. Methylated RB1 at lysine 824 enhances phosphorylation of RB1 and subsequent transactivation of E2F1 by presumably releasing it from the central pocket domain. In addition, methylated RB1 may change its conformation and thereby dissociate HDACs, heterochromatin protein 1 (HP1), and/or chromobox proteins (CBXs) from the complex of SUV39H and/or Suv4-20h1 methyltransferases, leading to the reduced methylation of H3-K9 and H4-K20. Although further investigation is warranted, the data herein highlight the importance of methylation of RB1 in the regulation of E2F responsible genes. Since RB1 binds to different methyltransferases, position and degree of methylation in RB1 may differ by the methyltransferases. Taken together that RB1 is also phosphorylated at different residues, the data herein suggest that a combination of multiple modifications in RB1 may define its biological properties, which is reminiscent of modification of histones and p53.
Mutation of RB1 is involved in not only sporadic and familial cases of retinoblastoma (Weinberg, R. A. Science 254, 1138-46 (1991)), but also other human cancers (Classon, M. & Harlow, E. Nat Rev Cancer 2, 910-7 (2002)). Several oncogenic viral proteins such as adenovirus E1A, HPV-E7, and simian virus 40 (SV40) large T antigen associate with RB1 in some types of cancers, which inhibits the interaction between RB1 and E2F leading to dissociation of E2F (Chellappan, S. P., et al. Cell 65, 1053-61 (1991); Bagchi, S., et al. Cell 65, 1063-72 (1991)). p16, an inhibitor of cyclin-dependent kinase 4, is frequently inactivated by methylation of its promoter, resulting in enhanced phosphorylation of RB1 by CDK/cyclin complexes in cancer cells (Nuovo, G. J., et al. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 96, 12754-9 (1999)). These defects are reported to be involved in a part of colorectal and hepatocellular carcinomas (Chaubert, P. et al. Hepatology 25, 1376-81 (1997); Toyota, M. et al. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 96, 8681-6 (1999)), and may not account for all cases in these types of tumors. Herein, a novel mechanism for inactivation of RB1 is disclosed, namely one that is caused by the methylation and subsequent enhanced phosphorylation of RB1. Since expression of SMYD3 is enhanced in the majority of colorectal and hepatocellular carcinomas, SMYD3 may play a crucial role in the proliferation of cancer cells by transactivation of E2F through abrogated RB1 tumor suppressor function. Interestingly, the present inventors recently discovered that SMYD3 expression is regulated by E2F-1 through its interaction to an E2F-1 binding element in the promoter region of SMYD3, and that the element comprises of two- or three-tandem repeats of E2F-1 binding motif. Allele frequency of the three-repeats in Japanese colorectal (n=350), liver (n=360), and breast (n=334) cancer patients was significantly higher than that in healthy controls (n=730) from general Japanese population. This data suggests that once SMYD3 is activated, it enhances E2F transcriptional activity through the modification of RB1, and consequently up-regulates SMYD3 by a positive feedback. Therefore, people containing three-repeats of E2F-1 binding element are more susceptible for the inactivation of RB1 by SMYD3 than those containing two-repeats. Additionally, the inhibition of SMYD3 appears to be a promising therapeutic strategy for colorectal and liver cancers, as well as bladder and breast cancers, because it will block the positive feedback loop, thereby efficiently suppress the E2F-1-mediated mitogenic activity by phosphorylation of RB1.
Herein, it was revealed that methylation of RB1 by SMYD3 may accelerates cell cycle progression from G1 to S phase through the enhanced phosphorylation of RB1 by CDK/cyclin complexes. This data indicates that methylation of lysine is important for not only histones but also other non-histone proteins, such as p53 and RB1. In addition, our findings have shed light on the novel mechanism of RB1 regulation that is involved in human carcinogenesis.
It has been shown that perturbation of epigenetic regulation is associated with human carcinogenesis. In addition to the abnormal DNA methylation in the promoter region of genes regulating cell cycle, DNA repair, and cell adhesion, recent investigations disclosed that histone methylation is also abrogated in human carcinogenesis. Histone methylation plays a crucial role in the regulation of gene expression through the change of chromatin structure. We reported that SMYD3, a histone H3-Lysine 4-specific methyltransferase, is over-expressed in several human cancers including HCC, CRC and breast carcinoma (Hamamoto, R. et al. Nat Cell Biol 6, 731-740 (2004): Hamamoto, R. et al. Cancer Sci 97, 113-118 (2006).). In our previous paper, we showed that its expression is elevated by transcriptional activation of E2F1, a transcription factor that is frequently enhanced in a variety of human cancer.
Protein function is regulated not only at post-transcriptional levels, but also by posttranslational modifications, which include cleavage of protein and other wide known modifications such as acetylation, phosphorylation, methylation, glycosylation and ubiquitination. These modifications are associated with protein stability, conformation of protein, and/or protein-protein interactions resulting in activation or inactivation of the protein. We have found that cleavage of SMYD3 increases its HMTase activity, which is reminiscent of regulation of critical enzymes such as pepsin, insulin, caspases, PARD, and MMPs, since cleavage of these proteins increases their enzymatic activity. This finding additionally suggests that an undetermined mechanism of the cleavage of SMYD3 may play a role in the modulation of HMTase activity. Therefore identification of the protease responsible for the cleavage, and clarification of the regulatory mechanism(s) will contribute to the development of novel therapeutic approaches to suppress SMYD3 activity. Furthermore a cleaved form of SMYD3 may be useful for the screening of SMYD3 inhibitors compared to full-length protein.
We have found in this study that loss of SMYD3 N-terminal region enhances its enzyme activity in vitro, suggesting that the deletion might confer conformational change of SMYD3 leading to the enhanced enzyme activity. Interestingly, HSP90 binds to N-terminal region of SMYD3 resulting in an increase of its HMTase activity. This data is in good agreement with the view that conformational change is involved in the HMTase activity, because HSP90 exerts a chaperone-like function contributing to stabilizing normal protein structure. Our findings also underscore the importance of the conserved SET-N region for regulation of HMTase activity. This conserved region may also act as a negative regulator of HMTases in other SET domain containing proteins. Further studies will uncover the mechanisms of regulation of HMTase activity in SET domain containing proteins.
We have shown here that an N-terminal cleaved form of SMYD3 protein is expressed in cancer cells and that the cleaved protein has markedly higher HMTase activity than full-length protein. These data implied that a post-translational regulatory system regulates the HMTase activity through a possible conformational change of the protein. Furthermore, we have found that an addition of SAHH increases the methyltransferase activity of SMYD3. Our findings will help for the better understanding of the regulatory mechanisms of SMYD3 activity, and may contribute to the identification of novel therapeutic strategies to inhibit the HMTase activity.INDUSTRIAL APPLICABILITY
The methods described herein are useful in the identification of additional molecular targets for prevention, diagnosis and treatment of various cancers, including colorectal cancer, hepatocellular cancer, breast cancer and bladder cancer. Furthermore, the data reported herein add to a comprehensive understanding of cancer, facilitate development of novel diagnostic strategies, and provide clues for identification of molecular targets for therapeutic drugs and preventative agents. Such information contributes to a more profound understanding of tumorigenesis, and provides indicators for developing novel strategies for diagnosis, treatment, and ultimately prevention of cancer. While the present invention has been described in detail and with reference to specific embodiments thereof, it is to be understood that the foregoing description is exemplary and explanatory in nature and is intended to illustrate the invention and its preferred embodiments. Through routine experimentation, one skilled in the art will readily recognize that various changes and modifications can be made therein without departing from the spirit and scope of the invention. Thus, the invention is intended to be defined not by the above description, but by the following claims and their equivalents.
7. A method of screening for a compound for treating a cancer selected from group consisting of colorectal cancer, hepatocellular carcinoma, bladder cancer, and breast cancer, said method comprising the steps of:
- a. identifying a test compound that modulates methylation of a retinoblastoma peptide by SMYD3 according to a method comprising the steps of: 1) contacting an SMYD3 polypeptide having a methyltransferase activity selected from the group consisting of: i. a polypeptide comprising the amino acid sequence of SEQ ID NO: 2; ii. a polypeptide that comprises the amino acid sequence of positions 117 to 246 of the amino acid sequence of SEQ ID NO: 2, wherein said polypeptide has a methyltransferase activity equivalent to the polypeptide consisting of the amino acid sequence of SEQ ID NO: 2; iii. a polypeptide that comprises the amino acid sequence of positions 1 to 250 of the amino acid sequence of SEQ ID NO: 2; vi. a polypeptide that comprises the amino acid sequence of positions 45 to 428 of the amino acid sequence of SEQ ID NO: 2; v. a polypeptide that comprises the amino acid sequence of SEQ ID NO: 2 in which the amino acids of positions 1 to 30 have been deleted; vi. a polypeptide that comprises the amino acid sequence of SEQ ID NO: 2 in which the amino acids of positions 1 to 44 are deleted; vii. a polypeptide that comprises the amino acid sequence of SEQ ID NO: 2 in which the amino acids of positions 1 to 20 are deleted; viii. a polypeptide that comprises the amino acid sequence of SEQ ID NO: 2 in which the amino acids of positions 1 to 10 are deleted; with a retinoblastoma peptide to be methylated and a cofactor in the presence of the test compound under conditions suitable for methylation of the retinoblastoma peptide;
- 2) detecting the methylation level of the retinoblastoma peptide; and
- 3) comparing the methylation level of step 2) with a control level detected in the absence of the test compound, and b. selecting the test compound that decreases the methylation level of the retinoblastoma peptide to be methylated as compared to a control methylation level detected in the absence of the test compound.
22. The method of claim 7, wherein the retinoblastoma peptide comprises the amino acid sequence of SEQ ID NO: 4, or a functional mutant comprising the amino acid sequence of SEQ ID NO: 4, including one or more of the following mutations: K889A, K896A, K791A, K814A, K791A and K824A, and K814A and K824A, or is a functional fragment consisting of the amino acid sequence of positions 769-921 of the amino acid sequence of SEQ ID NO: 4.
23. The method of claim 7, wherein said cofactor is S-adenosyl homocysteine hydrolase (SAHH).
International Classification: G01N 33/50 (20060101);