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Title: Modulation of the hypoxic response in cancer : inhibition of the HIF-1α/p300 protein-protein interaction
Author: Jayatunga, Madura Kelum Perera
ISNI:       0000 0004 5346 0713
Awarding Body: University of Oxford
Current Institution: University of Oxford
Date of Award: 2014
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Hypoxia inducible factor (HIF)-1α is a heterodimerically-activated transcription factor central to the cellular response to hypoxic environments and is often upregulated in cancer. Binding of HIF-1α to the co-activator p300 is necessary for the hypoxia-induced transcription of many oncogenic proteins. The aim of this project was to develop novel small molecule inhibitors of the HIF-1α/p300 protein-protein interaction (PPI). Initial work focused on designing, validating and optimising two high-throughput competition binding assays to screen for inhibitors of the PPI (Chapter 2). Alongside these, zinc ejector assays for both p300 and KDM4A proteins were developed to probe the mechanism of action and selectivity. Analysis of hits from a natural product high-throughput screen (HTS) revealed two compound classes; benzoquinones and 2-substituted indandiones, which modulate the PPI. The potency of these series correlated with the reactivity of the core functional groups, which act as electrophiles to covalently modify reactive cysteines, ejecting structural zinc and disrupting the p300/KDM4A protein fold (Chapter 3). Conjugating electrophilic groups to putative HIF-1α/p300 inhibitors did not replicate the activity of the zinc ejecting HTS hits (Chapter 4). Further work focused on non-covalent inhibitors of the HIF-1α/p300 interaction, first with peptide truncates, and then rationally designed α-helix peptidomimetics. An 11mer truncate showed encouraging activity (IC50 ≈ 70 μM), and corresponded to a key α-helix in the HIF-1α C-terminal transactivation domain. Three distinct double-sided scaffolds were used to imitate up to five hot-spot ampiphilic residues on this α-helix (Chapter 6 and 7). Of the 35 compounds screened, only modest inhibition was observed (IC50 ≈ 200-500 μM). Future work will look to conjugate electrophilic functionality onto the 11mer peptide in an attempt to gain potency from zinc ejection, while maintaining selectivity for p300.
Supervisor: Hamilton, Andrew; Schofield, Christopher Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Organic chemistry ; Protein chemistry ; Polymers Amino acid and peptide chemistry ; Oncology ; Peptidomimetics ; Cancer Research ; Hypoxia