The quinone methide aurin is a heat shock response inducer that causes proteotoxic stress and Noxa-dependent apoptosis in malignant melanoma cells

Angela L. Davis, Shuxi Qiao, Jessica L. Lesson, Montserrat Rojo De La Vega, Sophia L. Park, Carol M. Seanez, Vijay Gokhale, Christopher M. Cabello, Georg T Wondrak

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

12 Scopus citations

Abstract

Pharmacological induction of proteotoxic stress is rapidly emerging as a promising strategy for cancer cell-directed chemotherapeutic intervention. Here, we describe the identification of a novel drug-like heat shock response inducer for the therapeutic induction of proteotoxic stress targeting malignant human melanoma cells. Screening a focused library of compounds containing redox-directed electrophilic pharmacophores employing the Stress & Toxicity PathwayFinder™ PCR Array technology as a discovery tool, a drug-like triphenylmethane-derivative (aurin; 4-[bis(p-hydroxyphenyl)methylene]-2,5-cyclohexadien-1-one) was identified as an experimental cell stress modulator that causes (i) heat shock factor transcriptional activation, (ii) up-regulation of heat shock response gene expression (HSPA6, HSPA1A, DNAJB4, HMOX1), (iii) early unfolded protein response signaling (phospho-PERK, phospho-eIF2α, CHOP (CCAAT/enhancer-binding protein homologous protein)), (iv) proteasome impairment with increased protein-ubiquitination, and (v) oxidative stress with glutathione depletion. Fluorescence polarization-based experiments revealed that aurin displays activity as a geldanamycin-competitive Hsp90α-antagonist, a finding further substantiated by molecular docking and ATPase inhibition analysis. Aurin exposure caused caspase-dependent cell death in a panel of human malignant melanoma cells (A375, G361, LOX-IMVI) but not in non-malignant human skin cells (Hs27 fibroblasts, HaCaT keratinocytes, primary melanocytes) undergoing the aurin-induced heat shock response without impairment of viability. Aurin-induced melanoma cell apoptosis depends on Noxa up-regulation as confirmed by siRNA rescue experiments demonstrating that siPMAIP1-based target down-regulation suppresses aurin-induced cell death. Taken together, our data suggest feasibility of apoptotic elimination of malignant melanoma cells using the quinone methide-derived heat shock response inducer aurin.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1623-1638
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of Biological Chemistry
Volume290
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jan 16 2015

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ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology

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