Small Molecule Antagonists of the MDM2 Oncoprotein as Anticancer Agents
John K. Buolamwini,
In this early phase of the new era of molecularly targeted patient friendly cancer chemotherapy, there is a need for novel viable anticancer molecular targets. The MDM2 oncoprotein has been validated as a potential target for cancer drug development. MDM2 amplification and / or overexpression occur in a wide variety of human cancers, several of which can be treated experimentally with MDM2 antagonists. MDM2 interacts primarily with the p53 tumor suppressor protein in an autoregulatory negative feedback loop to attenuate p53s cell cycle arrest and apoptosis functions. Inhibition of the p53-MDM2 interaction has been shown to cause selective cancer cell death, as well as sensitize cancer cells to chemotherapy or radiation effects. Consequently, this interaction has been the main focus of anticancer drug discovery targeted to MDM2. The promotion of the proteasomal degradation of the p53 protein by MDM2 is central to its repression of the tumor suppressor functions of p53, and many proteins impinge upon this activity, either enhancing or inhibiting it. MDM2 also has oncogenic activity independent of its interaction with p53, but this has so far not been explored for drug discovery. Among the approaches for targeting MDM2 for cancer therapy, small molecule antagonists have recently featured as effective anticancer agents in experimental models, although the repertoire is currently limited and none has yet entered human clinical trials. Small molecules that have been reported to disrupt the p53-MDM2 binding, thereby enhancing p53 activity to elicit anticancer effects include the following: synthetic chalcones, norbornane derivatives, cis-imidazoline derivatives (Nutlins), a pyrazolidinedione sulfonamide and 1,4-benzodiazepine-2,5-diones, as well as tryptophan derivatives. In addition to compounds disrupting p53pMDM2 binding, three compounds have been discovered that are effective in inhibiting the E3 ligase activity of MDM2 towards p53, and should serve as leads for drug discovery targeting this aspect of the p53-MDM2 interaction as well. These compounds were discovered from library screening and / or structure-based rational drug design strategies.
Keywords: mdm2, p53, small molecules, anticancer, drug design, drug discovery, protein-protein interaction
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