• The actin targeting compound Chondramide inhibits breast cancer metastasis via reduction of cellular contractility.

      Menhofer, Magdalena H; Kubisch, Rebekka; Schreiner, Laura; Zorn, Matthias; Foerster, Florian; Mueller, Rolf; Raedler, Joachim O; Wagner, Ernst; Vollmar, Angelika M; Zahler, Stefan; et al. (2014)
      A major player in the process of metastasis is the actin cytoskeleton as it forms key structures in both invasion mechanisms, mesenchymal and amoeboid migration. We tested the actin binding compound Chondramide as potential anti-metastatic agent.
    • Anti-leukemic effects of the V-ATPase inhibitor Archazolid A.

      Zhang, Siwei; Schneider, Lina S; Vick, Binje; Grunert, Michaela; Jeremias, Irmela; Menche, Dirk; Müller, Rolf; Vollmar, Angelika M; Liebl, Johanna; Helmholtz-Institute for Pharmaceutical Research Saarland (HIPS),Saarland 9 University, 66123 Saarbrücken, Germany. (2015-12-22)
      Prognosis for patients suffering from T-ALL is still very poor and new strategies for T-ALL treatment are urgently needed. Our study shows potent anti-leukemic effects of the myxobacterial V-ATPase inhibitor Archazolid A. Archazolid A reduced growth and potently induced death of leukemic cell lines and human leukemic samples. By inhibiting lysosomal acidification, Archazolid A blocked activation of the Notch pathway, however, this was not the mechanism of V-ATPase inhibition relevant for cell death induction. In fact, V-ATPase inhibition by Archazolid A decreased the anti-apoptotic protein survivin. As underlying mode of action, this work is in line with recent studies from our group demonstrating that Archazolid A induced S-phase cell cycle arrest by interfering with the iron metabolism in leukemic cells. Our study provides evidence for V-ATPase inhibition as a potential new therapeutic option for T-ALL.
    • Chivosazole A Modulates Protein-Protein Interactions of Actin.

      Wang, Shuaijun; Gegenfurtner, Florian A; Crevenna, Alvaro H; Ziegenhain, Christoph; Kliesmete, Zane; Enard, Wolfgang; Müller, Rolf; Vollmar, Angelika M; Schneider, Sabine; Zahler, Stefan; et al. (American Society for Chemistry, 2019-07-26)
      Actin is a protein of central importance for many cellular key processes. It is regulated by local interactions with a large number of actin binding proteins (ABPs). Various compounds are known to either increase or decrease the polymerization dynamics of actin. However, no actin binding compound has been developed for clinical applications yet because of selectivity issues. We provide a crystal structure of the natural product chivosazole A (ChivoA) bound to actin and show that-in addition to inhibiting nucleation, polymerization, and severing of F-actin filaments-it selectively modulates binding of ABPs to G-actin: Although unphysiological actin dimers are induced by ChivoA, interaction with gelsolin, profilin, cofilin, and thymosin-β4 is inhibited. Moreover, ChivoA causes transcriptional effects differing from latrunculin B, an actin binder with a different binding site. Our data show that ChivoA and related compounds could serve as scaffolds for the development of actin binding molecules selectively targeting specific actin functions.
    • Connecting lysosomes and mitochondria - a novel role for lipid metabolism in cancer cell death.

      Bartel, Karin; Pein, Helmut; Popper, Bastian; Schmitt, Sabine; Janaki-Raman, Sudha; Schulze, Almut; Lengauer, Florian; Koeberle, Andreas; Werz, Oliver; Zischka, Hans; et al. (BMC, 2019-07-29)
      BACKGROUND: The understanding of lysosomes has been expanded in recent research way beyond their view as cellular trash can. Lysosomes are pivotal in regulating metabolism, endocytosis and autophagy and are implicated in cancer. Recently it was discovered that the lysosomal V-ATPase, which is known to induce apoptosis, interferes with lipid metabolism in cancer, yet the interplay between these organelles is poorly understood. METHODS: LC-MS/MS analysis was performed to investigate lipid distribution in cells. Cell survival and signaling pathways were analyzed by means of cell biological methods (qPCR, Western Blot, flow cytometry, CellTiter-Blue). Mitochondrial structure was analyzed by confocal imaging and electron microscopy, their function was determined by flow cytometry and seahorse measurements. RESULTS: Our data reveal that interfering with lysosomal function changes composition and subcellular localization of triacylglycerids accompanied by an upregulation of PGC1α and PPARα expression, master regulators of energy and lipid metabolism. Furthermore, cardiolipin content is reduced driving mitochondria into fission, accompanied by a loss of membrane potential and reduction in oxidative capacity, which leads to a deregulation in cellular ROS and induction of mitochondria-driven apoptosis. Additionally, cells undergo a metabolic shift to glutamine dependency, correlated with the fission phenotype and sensitivity to lysosomal inhibition, most prominent in Ras mutated cells. CONCLUSION: This study sheds mechanistic light on a largely uninvestigated triangle between lysosomes, lipid metabolism and mitochondrial function. Insight into this organelle crosstalk increases our understanding of mitochondria-driven cell death. Our findings furthermore provide a first hint on a connection of Ras pathway mutations and sensitivity towards lysosomal inhibitors.
    • The Cytotoxic Natural Product Vioprolide A Targets Nucleolar Protein 14, Which Is Essential for Ribosome Biogenesis.

      Kirsch, Volker C; Orgler, Christina; Braig, Simone; Jeremias, Irmela; Auerbach, David; Müller, Rolf; Vollmar, Angelika M; Sieber, Stephan A; HIPS, Helmholtz-Institut für Pharmazeutische Forschung Saarland, Universitätscampus E8.1 66123 Saarbrücken, Germany. (Wiley-VCH, 2020-01-20)
      Novel targets are needed for treatment of devastating diseases such as cancer. For decades, natural products have guided innovative therapies by addressing diverse pathways. Inspired by the potent cytotoxic bioactivity of myxobacterial vioprolides A-D, we performed in-depth studies on their mode of action. Based on its prominent potency against human acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) cells, we conducted thermal proteome profiling (TPP) and deciphered the target proteins of the most active derivative vioprolide A (VioA) in Jurkat cells. Nucleolar protein 14 (NOP14), which is essential in ribosome biogenesis, was confirmed as a specific target of VioA by a suite of proteomic and biological follow-up experiments. Given its activity against ALL cells compared to healthy lymphocytes, VioA exhibits unique therapeutic potential for anticancer therapy through a novel mode of action
    • Modulation of actin dynamics as potential macrophage subtype-targeting anti-tumour strategy.

      Pergola, Carlo; Schubert, Katrin; Pace, Simona; Ziereisen, Jana; Nikels, Felix; Scherer, Olga; Hüttel, Stephan; Zahler, Stefan; Vollmar, Angelika M; Weinigel, Christina; et al. (2017-01-30)
      Tumour-associated macrophages mainly comprise immunosuppressive M2 phenotypes that promote tumour progression besides anti-tumoural M1 subsets. Selective depletion or reprogramming of M2 may represent an innovative anti-cancer strategy. The actin cytoskeleton is central for cellular homeostasis and is targeted for anti-cancer chemotherapy. Here, we show that targeting G-actin nucleation using chondramide A (ChA) predominantly depletes human M2 while promoting the tumour-suppressive M1 phenotype. ChA reduced the viability of M2, with minor effects on M1, but increased tumour necrosis factor (TNF)α release from M1. Interestingly, ChA caused rapid disruption of dynamic F-actin filaments and polymerization of G-actin, followed by reduction of cell size, binucleation and cell division, without cellular collapse. In M1, but not in M2, ChA caused marked activation of SAPK/JNK and NFκB, with slight or no effects on Akt, STAT-1/-3, ERK-1/2, and p38 MAPK, seemingly accounting for the better survival of M1 and TNFα secretion. In a microfluidically-supported human tumour biochip model, circulating ChA-treated M1 markedly reduced tumour cell viability through enhanced release of TNFα. Together, ChA may cause an anti-tumoural microenvironment by depletion of M2 and activation of M1, suggesting induction of G-actin nucleation as potential strategy to target tumour-associated macrophages in addition to neoplastic cells.
    • Pharmacological targeting of membrane rigidity: implications on cancer cell migration and invasion

      Braig, Simone; Sebastian Schmidt, B U; Stoiber, Katharina; Händel, Chris; Möhn, Till; Werz, Oliver; Müller, Rolf; Zahler, Stefan; Koeberle, Andreas; Käs, Josef A; et al. (2015-08-05)
    • Targeting actin inhibits repair of doxorubicin-induced DNA damage: a novel therapeutic approach for combination therapy.

      Pfitzer, Lisa; Moser, Christina; Gegenfurtner, Florian; Arner, Anja; Foerster, Florian; Atzberger, Carina; Zisis, Themistoklis; Kubisch-Dohmen, Rebekka; Busse, Johanna; Smith, Rebecca; et al. (Springer-Nature, 2019-04-03)
      Severe side effects often restrict clinical application of the widely used chemotherapeutic drug doxorubicin. In order to decrease required substance concentrations, new concepts for successful combination therapy are needed. Since doxorubicin causes DNA damage, combination with compounds that modulate DNA repair could be a promising strategy. Very recently, a role of nuclear actin for DNA damage repair has been proposed, making actin a potential target for cancer therapy in combination with DNA-damaging therapeutics. This is of special interest, since actin-binding compounds have not yet found their way into clinics. We find that low-dose combination treatment of doxorubicin with the actin polymerizer chondramide B (ChB) synergistically inhibits tumor growth in vivo. On the cellular level we demonstrate that actin binders inhibit distinctive double strand break (DSB) repair pathways. Actin manipulation impairs the recruitment of replication factor A (RPA) to the site of damage, a process crucial for homologous recombination. In addition, actin binders reduce autophosphorylation of DNA-dependent protein kinase (DNA-PK) during nonhomologous end joining. Our findings substantiate a direct involvement of actin in nuclear DSB repair pathways, and propose actin as a therapeutic target for combination therapy with DNA-damaging agents such as doxorubicin.
    • Thioholgamide A, a New Anti-Proliferative Anti-Tumor Agent, Modulates Macrophage Polarization and Metabolism.

      Dahlem, Charlotte; Siow, Wei Xiong; Lopatniuk, Maria; Tse, William K F; Kessler, Sonja M; Kirsch, Susanne H; Hoppstädter, Jessica; Vollmar, Angelika M; Müller, Rolf; Luzhetskyy, Andriy; et al. (MDPI, 2020-05-19)
      Natural products represent powerful tools searching for novel anticancer drugs. Thioholgamide A (thioA) is a ribosomally synthesized and post-translationally modified peptide, which has been identified as a product of Streptomyces sp. MUSC 136T. In this study, we provide a comprehensive biological profile of thioA, elucidating its effects on different hallmarks of cancer in tumor cells as well as in macrophages as crucial players of the tumor microenvironment. In 2D and 3D in vitro cell culture models thioA showed potent anti-proliferative activities in cancer cells at nanomolar concentrations. Anti-proliferative actions were confirmed in vivo in zebrafish embryos. Cytotoxicity was only induced at several-fold higher concentrations, as assessed by live-cell microscopy and biochemical analyses. ThioA exhibited a potent modulation of cell metabolism by inhibiting oxidative phosphorylation, as determined in a live-cell metabolic assay platform. The metabolic modulation caused a repolarization of in vitro differentiated and polarized tumor-promoting human monocyte-derived macrophages: ThioA-treated macrophages showed an altered morphology and a modulated expression of genes and surface markers. Taken together, the metabolic regulator thioA revealed low activities in non-tumorigenic cells and an interesting anti-cancer profile by orchestrating different hallmarks of cancer, both in tumor cells as well as in macrophages as part of the tumor microenvironment.
    • V-ATPase inhibition increases cancer cell stiffness and blocks membrane related Ras signaling - a new option for HCC therapy.

      Bartel, Karin; Winzi, Maria; Ulrich, Melanie; Koeberle, Andreas; Menche, Dirk; Werz, Oliver; Müller, Rolf; Guck, Jochen; Vollmar, Angelika M; von Schwarzenberg, Karin; et al. (2017-02-07)
      Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) is the fifth most frequent cancer worldwide and the third leading cause of cancer-related death. However, therapy options are limited leaving an urgent need to develop new strategies. Currently, targeting cancer cell lipid and cholesterol metabolism is gaining interest especially regarding HCC. High cholesterol levels support proliferation, membrane-related mitogenic signaling and increase cell softness, leading to tumor progression, malignancy and invasive potential. However, effective ways to target cholesterol metabolism for cancer therapy are still missing. The V-ATPase inhibitor archazolid was recently shown to interfere with cholesterol metabolism. In our study, we report a novel therapeutic potential of V-ATPase inhibition in HCC by altering the mechanical phenotype of cancer cells leading to reduced proliferative signaling. Archazolid causes cellular depletion of free cholesterol leading to an increase in cell stiffness and membrane polarity of cancer cells, while hepatocytes remain unaffected. The altered membrane composition decreases membrane fluidity and leads to an inhibition of membrane-related Ras signaling resulting decreased proliferation in vitro and in vivo. V-ATPase inhibition represents a novel link between cell biophysical properties and proliferative signaling selectively in malignant HCC cells, providing the basis for an attractive and innovative strategy against HCC.
    • The V-ATPase-inhibitor archazolid abrogates tumor metastasis via inhibition of endocytic activation of the Rho-GTPase Rac1.

      Wiedmann, Romina M; von Schwarzenberg, Karin; Palamidessi, Andrea; Schreiner, Laura; Kubisch, Rebekka; Liebl, Johanna; Schempp, Christina; Trauner, Dirk; Vereb, Gyorgy; Zahler, Stefan; et al. (2012-11-15)
      The abundance of the multimeric vacuolar ATP-dependent proton pump, V-ATPase, on the plasma membrane of tumor cells correlates with the invasiveness of the tumor cell, suggesting the involvement of V-ATPase in tumor metastasis. V-ATPase is hypothesized to create a proton efflux leading to an acidic pericellular microenvironment that promotes the activity of proinvasive proteases. An alternative, not yet explored possibility is that V-ATPase regulates the signaling machinery responsible for tumor cell migration. Here, we show that pharmacologic or genetic reduction of V-ATPase activity significantly reduces migration of invasive tumor cells in vitro. Importantly, the V-ATPase inhibitor archazolid abrogates tumor dissemination in a syngeneic mouse 4T1 breast tumor metastasis model. Pretreatment of cancer cells with archazolid impairs directional motility by preventing spatially restricted, leading edge localization of epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) as well as of phosphorylated Akt. Archazolid treatment or silencing of V-ATPase inhibited Rac1 activation, as well as Rac1-dependent dorsal and peripheral ruffles by inhibiting Rab5-mediated endocytotic/exocytotic trafficking of Rac1. The results indicate that archazolid effectively decreases metastatic dissemination of breast tumors by impairing the trafficking and spatially restricted activation of EGFR and Rho-GTPase Rac1, which are pivotal for directed movement of cells. Thus, our data reveals a novel mechanism underlying the role of V-ATPase in tumor dissemination.