Inhibition of mammalian cell proliferation by genetically selected peptide aptamers that functionally antagonize E2F activity

Fabbrizio, E.; Le Cam, L.; Polanowska, J.; Kaczorek, M.; Lamb, N.; Brent, R.; Sardet, C.


1999-07-29 / vol 18 / pages 4357-63


The p16-cyclin D-pRB-E2F pathway is frequently deregulated in human tumors. This critical regulatory pathway controls the G1/S transition of the mammalian cell cycle by positive and negative regulation of E2F-responsive genes required for DNA replication. To assess the value of the transcription factors E2Fs as targets for antiproliferative strategies, we have initiated a program aiming to develop inhibitors targeting specifically these proteins in vitro and in vivo. The cellular activity of E2F is the result of the heterodimeric association of two families of proteins, E2Fs and DPs, which then bind DNA. Here, we use a two hybrid approach to isolate from combinatorial libraries peptide aptamers that specifically interact with E2Fs DNA binding and dimerization domains. One of these is a potent inhibitor of E2F binding activity in vitro and in mammalian fibroblasts, blocks cells in G1, and the free variable region from this aptamer has the same effect. Our experiments argue that the variable region of this aptamer is structured, and that it functions by binding E2F with a motif that resembles a DP heterodimerization region, and blocking E2F’s association with DP. These results show that cell proliferation can be inhibited using genetically-selected synthetic peptides that specifically target protein-protein interaction motifs within cell cycle regulators. These results also emphasize the critical role of the E2F pathway for cell proliferation and might allow the design of novel antiproliferative agents targeting the cyclin/CDK-pRB-E2F pathway.

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Humans; Animals; Models, Biological; Amino Acid Sequence; Molecular Sequence Data; Cell Line; Fluorescent Antibody Technique; Dose-Response Relationship, Drug; S Phase; Cricetinae; Drug Design; *Cell Cycle Proteins; *Carrier Proteins; *DNA-Binding Proteins; E2F Transcription Factors; Fibroblasts; Transcription Factor DP1; *Cell Division; G1 Phase; Growth Inhibitors/*pharmacology; Peptides/*pharmacology; Thioredoxins/chemistry; Transcription Factors/*antagonists & inhibitors

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