Public Release: 

TopBP1 a sweet spot for treatment in multiple cancers

Baylor College of Medicine

HOUSTON -- (Nov. 17, 2014) - A compound called calcein may act to inhibit topoisomerase IIβ-binding protein 1 (TopBP1), which enhances the growth of tumors, said researchers from Baylor College of Medicine in a report that appears online in the journal Nature Communications.

"The progression of many solid tumors is driven by de-regulation of multiple common pathways," said Dr. Weei-Chin Lin, associate professor of medicine- hematology & oncology, and a member of the NCI-designated Dan L. Duncan Cancer Center at Baylor. Among those are the retinoblastoma (Rb), PI(3)K/Akt and p53 pathways, which, when de-regulated, lead to accumulation and structural alteration of TopBP1.

Previously topoisomerase IIβ-binding protein 1 had been shown by Lin's lab to suppress apoptosis (programmed cell death) in cancer by repressing E2F1 and to mediate effects of p53 mutations. (TP53 is a tumor suppressor gene). When it is mutated or missing, it cannot prevent the formation of tumors. Moreover, mutant p53 proteins gain new functions in promoting cancer progression, and these activities in part depend on TopBP1.)

In studies in cell culture and in mice, Lin and his colleagues at Baylor showed that calcein inhibits these activities of TopBP1.

Here the authors identify calcein as a lead compound to inhibit TopBP1 and show that calcein has anti-tumor activity in mouse cancer models.

A topoisomerase is a class of enzymes that control the number and topology of supercoils in DNA. Type I enzymes cut one DNA strand, rotate it about the other, and reseal the ends. Type II enzymes cut and reseal both ends. TopBP1 is a protein that binds the enzyme.

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Others who took part in this work include Pinki Chowdhury, Gregory E. Lin, Kang Liu, Yongcheng Song and Fang-Tsyr Lin, all of Baylor. Gregory Lin is also with Rice University.

Funding for this work came from National Institutes of Health Grants RO1CA100857, RO1CA138641 to W.-C.L., and ARRA 3 P30CA125123-03S5), Department of Defense Breast Cancer Research Program (Grant W81XWH-14-1-0339), Department of Defense Ovarian Cancer Research Program (Grant W81XWH-14-1-0306) to W.-C.L. and F.-T.L. and the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (Grant R01NS080963) to Y.S.

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