Targeting a DNA binding motif of the EVI1 protein by a pyrrole-imidazole polyamide.


The zinc finger protein EVI1 is causally associated with acute myeloid leukemogenesis, and inhibition of its function with a small molecule therapeutic may provide effective therapy for EVI1-expressing leukemias. In this paper we describe the development of a pyrrole-imidazole polyamide to specifically block EVI1 binding to DNA. We first identify essential domains for leukemogenesis through structure-function studies on both EVI1 and the t(3;21)(q26;q22)-derived RUNX1-MDS1-EVI1 (RME) protein, which revealed that DNA binding to the cognate motif GACAAGATA via the first of two zinc finger domains (ZF1, encompassing fingers 1-7) is essential transforming activity. To inhibit DNA binding via ZF1, we synthesized a pyrrole-imidazole polyamide 1, designed to bind to a subsite within the GACAAGATA motif and thereby block EVI1 binding. DNase I footprinting and electromobility shift assays revealed a specific and high affinity interaction between polyamide 1 and the GACAAGATA motif. In an in vivo CAT reporter assay using NIH-3T3-derived cell line with a chromosome-embedded tet-inducible EVI1-VP16 as well as an EVI1-responsive reporter, polyamide 1 completely blocked EVI1-responsive reporter activity. Growth of a leukemic cell line bearing overexpressed EVI1 was also inhibited by treatment with polyamide 1, while a control cell line lacking EVI1 was not. Finally, colony formation by RME was attenuated by polyamide 1 in a serial replating assay. These studies provide evidence that a cell permeable small molecule may effectively block the activity of a leukemogenic transcription factor and provide a valuable tool to dissect critical functions of EVI1 in leukemogenesis.

DOI: 10.1021/bi200962u


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@article{Zhang2011TargetingAD, title={Targeting a DNA binding motif of the EVI1 protein by a pyrrole-imidazole polyamide.}, author={Yi Zhang and G{\'e}raldine Sicot and Xiaohui Cui and Marion Vogel and Charles A Wuertzer and Kimberly Lezon-Geyda and John Wheeler and Daniel A Harki and Katy A Muzikar and Daniel A Stolper and Peter B Dervan and Archibald S Perkins}, journal={Biochemistry}, year={2011}, volume={50 48}, pages={10431-41} }