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Novel covalent modification of human anaplastic lymphoma kinase (ALK) and potentiation of crizotinib-mediated inhibition of ALK activity by BNP7787

Authors Parker A, Petluru P, Nienaber V, Zhao M, Ayala P, Badger J, Chie-Leon B, Sridhar V, Logan C, Kochat H, Hausheer F

Received 3 September 2014

Accepted for publication 22 October 2014

Published 4 February 2015 Volume 2015:8 Pages 375—383

DOI https://doi.org/10.2147/OTT.S73690

Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewer comments 3

Editor who approved publication: Dr Faris Farassati


Aulma R Parker,1 Pavankumar N Petluru,1 Vicki L Nienaber,2 Min Zhao,1 Philippe Y Ayala,1 John Badger,2 Barbara Chie-Leon,2 Vandana Sridhar,2 Cheyenne Logan,2 Harry Kochat,1 Frederick H Hausheer1

1BioNumerik Pharmaceuticals, Inc., San Antonio, TX, USA; 2Zenobia Therapeutics, Inc., La Jolla, CA, USA

Abstract: BNP7787 (Tavocept, disodium 2,2’-dithio-bis-ethanesulfonate) is a novel, investigational, water-soluble disulfide that is well-tolerated and nontoxic. In separate randomized multicenter Phase II and Phase III clinical trials in non-small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC) patients, treatment with BNP7787 in combination with standard chemotherapy resulted in substantial increases in the overall survival of patients with advanced adenocarcinoma of the lung in the first-line treatment setting. We hypothesized that BNP7787 might interact with and modify human anaplastic lymphoma kinase (ALK). At least seven different variants of ALK fusions with the gene encoding the echinoderm microtubule-associated protein-like 4 (EML4) are known to occur in NSCLC. EML4–ALK fusions are thought to account for approximately 3% of NSCLC cases. Herein, we report the covalent modification of the kinase domain of human ALK by a BNP7787-derived mesna moiety and the functional consequences of this modification in ALK assays evaluating kinase activity. The kinase domain of the ALK protein crystallizes as a monomer, and BNP7787-derived mesna-cysteine adducts were observed at Cys 1235 and Cys 1156. The BNP7787-derived mesna adduct at Cys 1156 is located in close proximity to the active site and results in substantial disorder of the P-loop and activation loop (A-loop). Comparison with the P-loop of apo-ALK suggests that the BNP7787-derived mesna adduct at Cys 1156 interferes with the positioning of Phe 1127 into a small pocket now occupied by mesna, resulting in a destabilization of the loop's binding orientation. Additionally, in vitro kinase activity assays indicate that BNP7787 inhibits ALK catalytic activity and potentiates the activity of the ALK-targeted drug crizotinib.

Keywords: adenocarcinoma, ALK, BNP7787, chemo-enhancing, crizotinib, non-small-cell lung cancer, Tavocept

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