Mouse double minute 2 (MDM2) protein functionally inactivates the tumor suppressor p53 in human cancer. Conventional MDM2 inhibitors provide limited clinical application as they interfere only with the MDM2-p53 interaction to release p53 from MDM2 sequestration but do not prevent activated p53 from transcriptionally inducing MDM2 expression. Here, we report a rationally synthesized chalcone-based pyrido[b]indole, CPI-7c, as a unique small-molecule inhibitor of MDM2, which not only inhibited MDM2-p53 interaction but also promoted MDM2 degradation. CPI-7c bound to both RING and N-terminal domains of MDM2 to promote its ubiquitin-mediated degradation and p53 stabilization. CPI-7c-induced p53 directly recruited to the promoters of DR4 and DR5 genes and enhanced their expression, resulting in sensitization of TNF-related apoptosis-inducing ligand (TRAIL)-resistant cancer cells toward TRAIL-induced apoptosis. Collectively, we identified CPI-7c as a novel small-molecule inhibitor of MDM2 with a unique two-prong mechanism of action that sensitized TRAIL-resistant cancer cells to apoptosis by modulating the MDM2-p53-DR4/DR5 pathway.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cancer Research