The cell cycle checkpoint activation by un-replicated or damaged DNA triggers a transduction cascade that orchestrates a variety of cellular responses including cell-cycle arrest, DNA repair, and apoptotic death. Several members of the phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase related kinase (PIKK) family, including the Ataxia-Telangiectasia (A-T) syndrome is caused by an inherited defect in both alleles of the ATM gene. Based on the extreme radiation hypersensitivity of individuals affected by A-T small-molecule inhibitors of TM catalytic activity may be useful as a novel radiosensitizing agents. In support of this, we have recently shown that the fungal metabolite, wortmannin, inhibits ATM kinase activity at concentrations that induce significant radiosensitization. The long-term goal of the current research project is to advanced the pre-clinical development of ATM kinase inhibitors as sensitizing agents for use in cancer therapy. In preliminary experiments, we found that wortmannin treatment prior to irradiation of S-phase synchronized cells resulted in a significant prolongation of the G2 delay. By comparing the defects in the G2 checkpoint and associated signal transduction pathways in wortmannin treated cells and cells derived from A-T patients, further insight into the mechanism of wortmannin-mediated radiosensitization will be gained. To demonstrate proof-of-principle for the use of ATM inhibitors in the clinical setting, the efficacy of wortmannin as a radiosensitizer in xenograft system will be examined. To accelerate the identification of novel ATM inhibitors, the catalytic activity of a series of ATM truncation and deletion mutants will be assessed in an effort to identify a catalytically active protein fragment. Such a fragment will then be used in the development of high-throughput screen for ATM kinase inhibitors. The identification of potent, specific inhibitors of ATM may lead to the development of noel therapeutic agents in the treatment of cancer.
|Effective start/end date||7/1/99 → 6/30/04|