Nucleic Acids Research

Chemical intervention of the NM23-H2 transcriptional programme on c-MYC via a novel small molecule

Shan, C., Lin, J., Hou, J.-Q., Liu, H.-Y., Chen, S.-B., Chen, A.-C., Ou, T.-M., Tan, J.-H., Li, D., Gu, L.-Q., Huang, Z.-S..

c-MYC is an important oncogene that is considered as an effective target for anticancer therapy. Regulation of this gene's transcription is one avenue for c-MYC-targeting drug design. Direct binding to a transcription factor and generating the intervention of a transcriptional programme appears to be an effective way to modulate gene transcription. NM23-H2 is a transcription factor for c-MYC and is proven to be related to the secondary structures in the promoter. Here, we first screened our small-molecule library for NM23-H2 binders and then sifted through the inhibitors that could target and interfere with the interaction process between NM23-H2 and the guanine-rich promoter sequence of c-MYC. As a result, a quinazolone derivative, SYSU-ID-01, showed a significant interference effect towards NM23-H2 binding to the guanine-rich promoter DNA sequence. Further analyses of the compound–protein interaction and the protein–DNA interaction provided insight into the mode of action for SYSU-ID-01. Cellular evaluation results showed that SYSU-ID-01 could abrogate NM23-H2 binding to the c-MYC promoter, resulting in downregulation of c-MYC transcription and dramatically suppressed HeLa cell growth. These findings provide a new way of c-MYC transcriptional control through interfering with NM23-H2 binding to guanine-rich promoter sequences by small molecules.