The discovery of Bcl3 inhibitors by computer-based drug design. Prof. Brancale University of Chemistry and Technology, Prague, CZ

The proto-oncogene Bcl-3 is a co-factor for the transcription factor NF-kB, regulating NF-kB dependent gene expression through direct protein-protein interaction with the subunits, p50 and p52. Consequently it modulates both canonical and alternative NF-kB pathways responsible for a variety of cellular functions in normal and pathological settings. Loss of Bcl3 expression resulted in an 80% reduction in metastatic tumour burden, with no overt detriment to normal tissue homeostasis. Suppression of Bcl3 interaction with p50/p52 using a protein-binding mutant of Bcl3 replicated this phenotype in human breast cancer xenografts in vivo, an outcome linked to a reduction in cell motility in vitro. Molecular modeling of the Bcl-3 complexes with p50 and p52, and a subsequent in silico screening of a compound library against a specific site on Bcl-3 resulted in the identification of a nM efficient inhibitor that modulated NF-kB signaling and reduced cell motility in vitro. Use of this compound in mouse models of metastatic breast cancer resulted in a dramatic reduction in metastatic tumour burden. Based on these results, it is possible to say that this novel class of compounds show real promise as putative anticancer agents.


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