UBC Faculty Research and Publications

Computer-Aided Discovery of Small Molecules Targeting the RNA Splicing Activity of hnRNP A1 in Castration-Resistant Prostate Cancer Carabet, Lavinia A.; Leblanc, Eric; Lallous, Nada; Morin, Helene; Ghaidi, Fariba; Lee, Joseph; Rennie, Paul S.; Cherkasov, Artem


The heterogeneous nuclear ribonucleoprotein A1 (hnRNP A1) is a versatile RNA-binding protein playing a critical role in alternative pre-mRNA splicing regulation in cancer. Emerging data have implicated hnRNP A1 as a central player in a splicing regulatory circuit involving its direct transcriptional control by c-Myc oncoprotein and the production of the constitutively active ligand-independent alternative splice variant of androgen receptor, AR-V7, which promotes castration-resistant prostate cancer (CRPC). As there is an urgent need for effective CRPC drugs, targeting hnRNP A1 could, therefore, serve a dual purpose of preventing AR-V7 generation as well as reducing c-Myc transcriptional output. Herein, we report compound VPC-80051 as the first small molecule inhibitor of hnRNP A1 splicing activity discovered to date by using a computer-aided drug discovery approach. The inhibitor was developed to target the RNA-binding domain (RBD) of hnRNP A1. Further experimental evaluation demonstrated that VPC-80051 interacts directly with hnRNP A1 RBD and reduces AR-V7 messenger levels in 22Rv1 CRPC cell line. This study lays the groundwork for future structure-based development of more potent and selective small molecule inhibitors of hnRNP A1–RNA interactions aimed at altering the production of cancer-specific alternative splice isoforms.

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