Human papillomavirus (HPV)-induced cancers still represent a major health issue for worldwide population and lack specific therapeutic regimens. Despite substantial advancements in anti-HPV vaccination, the incidence of HPV-related cancers remains high, thus there is an urgent need for specific anti-HPV drugs. The HPV E7 oncoprotein is a major driver of carcinogenesis that acts by inducing the degradation of several host factors. A target is represented by the cellular phosphatase PTPN14 and its E7-mediated degradation was shown to be crucial in HPV oncogenesis. Here, by exploiting the crystal structure of E7 bound to PTPN14, we performed an in silico screening of small-molecule compounds targeting the C-terminal CR3 domain of E7 involved in the interaction with PTPN14. We discovered a compound able to inhibit the E7/PTPN14 interaction in vitro and to rescue PTPN14 levels in cells, leading to a reduction in viability, proliferation, migration, and cancer-stem cell potential of HPV-positive cervical cancer cells. Mechanistically, as a consequence of PTPN14 rescue, treatment of cancer cells with this compound altered the Yes-associated protein (YAP) nuclear-cytoplasmic shuttling and downstream signaling. Notably, this compound was active against cervical cancer cells transformed by different high-risk (HR)-HPV genotypes indicating a potential broad-spectrum activity. Overall, our study reports the first-in-class inhibitor of E7/PTPN14 interaction and provides the proof-of-principle that pharmacological inhibition of this interaction by small-molecule compounds could be a feasible therapeutic strategy for the development of novel antitumoral drugs specific for HPV-associated cancers.

A small molecule targeting the interaction between human papillomavirus E7 oncoprotein and cellular phosphatase PTPN14 exerts antitumoral activity in cervical cancer cells

Bertagnin C.;Celegato M.;Sturlese M.;Mercorelli B.;Moro S.;Loregian A.
2023

Abstract

Human papillomavirus (HPV)-induced cancers still represent a major health issue for worldwide population and lack specific therapeutic regimens. Despite substantial advancements in anti-HPV vaccination, the incidence of HPV-related cancers remains high, thus there is an urgent need for specific anti-HPV drugs. The HPV E7 oncoprotein is a major driver of carcinogenesis that acts by inducing the degradation of several host factors. A target is represented by the cellular phosphatase PTPN14 and its E7-mediated degradation was shown to be crucial in HPV oncogenesis. Here, by exploiting the crystal structure of E7 bound to PTPN14, we performed an in silico screening of small-molecule compounds targeting the C-terminal CR3 domain of E7 involved in the interaction with PTPN14. We discovered a compound able to inhibit the E7/PTPN14 interaction in vitro and to rescue PTPN14 levels in cells, leading to a reduction in viability, proliferation, migration, and cancer-stem cell potential of HPV-positive cervical cancer cells. Mechanistically, as a consequence of PTPN14 rescue, treatment of cancer cells with this compound altered the Yes-associated protein (YAP) nuclear-cytoplasmic shuttling and downstream signaling. Notably, this compound was active against cervical cancer cells transformed by different high-risk (HR)-HPV genotypes indicating a potential broad-spectrum activity. Overall, our study reports the first-in-class inhibitor of E7/PTPN14 interaction and provides the proof-of-principle that pharmacological inhibition of this interaction by small-molecule compounds could be a feasible therapeutic strategy for the development of novel antitumoral drugs specific for HPV-associated cancers.
2023
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11577/3493393
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