AGRO100 inhibits activation of nuclear factor-kappaB (NF-kappaB) by forming a complex with NF-kappaB essential modulator (NEMO) and nucleolin.
- PubMed: 16891465
AGRO100, also known as AS1411, is an experimental anticancer drug that recently entered human clinical trials. It is a member of a novel class of antiproliferative agents known as G-rich oligonucleotides (GRO), which are non-antisense, guanosine-rich phosphodiester oligodeoxynucleotides that form stable G-quadruplex structures. The biological activity of GROs results from their binding to specific cellular proteins as aptamers. One important target protein of GROs has been previously identified as nucleolin, a multifunctional protein expressed at high levels by cancer cells. Here, we report that AGRO100 also associates with nuclear factor-kappaB (NF-kappaB) essential modulator (NEMO), which is a regulatory subunit of the inhibitor of kappaB (IkappaB) kinase (IKK) complex, and also called IKKgamma. In the classic NF-kappaB pathway, the IKK complex is required for phosphorylation of IkappaBalpha and subsequent activation of the transcription factor NF-kappaB. We found that treatment of cancer cells with AGRO100 inhibits IKK activity and reduces phosphorylation of IkappaBalpha in response to tumor necrosis factor-alpha stimulation. Using a reporter gene assay, we showed that AGRO100 blocks both tumor necrosis factor-alpha-induced and constitutive NF-kappaB activity in human cancer cell lines derived from cervical, prostate, breast, and lung carcinomas. In addition, we showed that, in AGRO100-treated cancer cells, NEMO is coprecipitated by nucleolin, indicating that both proteins are present in the same complex. Our studies suggest that abrogation of NF-kappaB activity may contribute to the anticancer effects of AGRO100 and that nucleolin may play a previously unknown role in regulating the NF-kappaB pathway.