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Discovery of novel small molecule inhibitors of Bcl10-MALT1 interaction for the treatment of aggressive diffuse large B-cell lymphoma

Kang, Heejae (2020) Discovery of novel small molecule inhibitors of Bcl10-MALT1 interaction for the treatment of aggressive diffuse large B-cell lymphoma. Doctoral Dissertation, University of Pittsburgh. (Unpublished)

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The CARMA1/Bcl10/MALT1 (CBM) signaling complex mediates antigen receptor-induced activation of the pro-survival NF-kB transcription factor in lymphocytes to support normal adaptive immunity. Gain-of-function mutations in the CARMA1 moiety or its upstream regulators trigger antigen-independent assembly of oligomeric CBM complexes, leading to constitutive activation of both the protease and scaffolding functions of MALT1, inappropriate NF-kB activity, and development of an aggressive Activated B-Cell subtype of Diffuse Large B-Cell Lymphoma (ABC DLBCL).
Since MALT1 activation relies on its recruitment to the CBM complex via its interaction with Bcl10, we sought to identify inhibitors of Bcl10-MALT1 interaction in order to target both the protease and scaffolding activities of MALT1 as a potential approach for treating ABC DLBCL. After confirming that Bcl10 residues 107-119 and the tandem Ig-like domains of MALT1 are critical for interaction, we performed a structure-guided in silico screen of 3 million compounds based on a computational model of the experimentally identified interaction interface.
Compound K691-0124 from the initial screening hits and its structural derivative, compound K691-0122, show dose-responsive inhibition of Bcl10-MALT1 interaction. Functionally, both compounds inhibit both the protease and scaffolding activities of MALT1 in Jurkat T cells, as demonstrated by its inhibition of CD3/CD28-induced RelB and N4BP1 cleavage, and inhibition of IKK phosphorylation, respectively. Both compounds also block IL2 transcription and IL-2 secretion by PMA/ionomycin-stimulated Jurkat T cells, as well as constitutive CBM-dependent secretion of IL-6 and IL-10 by ABC DLBCL cells. Accordingly, these two compounds selectively suppress the growth of ABC DLBCL cell lines, but does not affect the growth of MALT1-independent GCB DLBCL cell lines.
In conclusion, we have developed two early-stage small molecule compounds that inhibit Bcl10-MALT1 interaction, impair both protease and scaffolding activities of MALT1, inhibit secretion of cytokines encoded by MALT1-controlled downstream NF-kB target genes, and specifically inhibit proliferation of MALT1-driven ABC DLBCL cell lines. This new class of protein-protein interaction inhibitors has the potential for a more complete and efficacious blockade of MALT1, while offering protection from undesirable autoimmune side effects of unbalanced blocking of only the protease activity of MALT1, in the treatment of this aggressive form of lymphoma.


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Item Type: University of Pittsburgh ETD
Status: Unpublished
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Kang, Heejaehek43@pitt.eduhek430000-0002-2259-5995
ETD Committee:
TitleMemberEmail AddressPitt UsernameORCID
Committee ChairChu,
Thesis AdvisorLucas,
Committee MemberYu,
Committee MemberChen,
Committee MemberScott,
Date: 1 June 2020
Date Type: Publication
Defense Date: 27 March 2020
Approval Date: 1 June 2020
Submission Date: 8 May 2020
Access Restriction: 2 year -- Restrict access to University of Pittsburgh for a period of 2 years.
Number of Pages: 149
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: School of Medicine > Cellular and Molecular Pathology
Degree: PhD - Doctor of Philosophy
Thesis Type: Doctoral Dissertation
Refereed: Yes
Uncontrolled Keywords: ABC DLBCL Bcl10 drug discovery MALT1 protein-protein interaction small molecule drug
Date Deposited: 02 Jun 2020 03:00
Last Modified: 01 Jun 2022 05:15


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