3 years ago

Dual Targeting of WEE1 and PLK1 by AZD1775 Elicits Single Agent Cellular Anticancer Activity

Dual Targeting of WEE1 and PLK1 by AZD1775 Elicits Single Agent Cellular Anticancer Activity
Grace A. Ward, Volha Golubeva, Alvaro N.A. Monteiro, Uwe Rix, Ernst Schonbrunn, Harshani R. Lawrence, Norbert Berndt, Gabriela Wright, Jhanelle E. Gray, Lily L. Remsing Rix, Yunting Luo
Inhibition of the WEE1 tyrosine kinase enhances anticancer chemotherapy efficacy. Accordingly, the WEE1 inhibitor AZD1775 (previously MK-1775) is currently under evaluation in clinical trials for cancer in combination with chemotherapy. AZD1775 has been reported to display high selectivity and is therefore used in many studies as a probe to interrogate WEE1 biology. However, AZD1775 also exhibits anticancer activity as a single agent although the underlying mechanism is not fully understood. Using a chemical proteomics approach, we here describe a proteome-wide survey of AZD1775 targets in lung cancer cells and identify several previously unknown targets in addition to WEE1. In particular, we observed polo-like kinase 1 (PLK1) as a new target of AZD1775. Importantly, in vitro kinase assays showed PLK1 and WEE1 to be inhibited by AZD1775 with similar potency. Subsequent loss-of-function experiments using RNAi for WEE1 and PLK1 suggested that targeting PLK1 enhances the pro-apoptotic and antiproliferative effects observed with WEE1 knockdown. Combination of RNAi with AZD1775 treatment suggested WEE1 and PLK1 to be the most relevant targets for mediating AZD1775’s anticancer effects. Furthermore, disruption of WEE1 by CRISPR-Cas9 sensitized H322 lung cancer cells to AZD1775 to a similar extent as the potent PLK1 inhibitor BI-2536 suggesting a complex crosstalk between PLK1 and WEE1. In summary, we show that AZD1775 is a potent dual WEE1 and PLK1 inhibitor, which limits its use as a specific molecular probe for WEE1. However, PLK1 inhibition makes important contributions to the single agent mechanism of action of AZD1775 and enhances its anticancer effects.

Publisher URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1021/acschembio.7b00147

DOI: 10.1021/acschembio.7b00147

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