The platelet-derived growth factor receptor β (PDGFR-β) signaling pathway is a validated and important target for the treatment of certain malignant and nonmalignant pathologies. We previously identified a G-quadruplex-forming nuclease hypersensitive element (NHE) in the human PDGFR-β promoter that putatively forms four overlapping G-quadruplexes. Therefore, we further investigated the structures and biological roles of the G-quadruplexes and i-motifs in the PDGFR-β NHE with the ultimate goal of demonstrating an alternate and effective strategy for molecularly targeting the PDGFR-β pathway. Significantly, we show that the primary G-quadruplex receptor for repression of PDGFR-β is the 3′-end G-quadruplex, which has a GGA sequence at the 3′-end. Mutation studies using luciferase reporter plasmids highlight a novel set of G-quadruplex point mutations, some of which seem to provide conflicting results on effects on gene expression, prompting further investigation into the effect of these mutations on the i-motif-forming strand. Herein we characterize the formation of an equilibrium between at least two different i-motifs from the cytosine-rich (C-rich) sequence of the PDGFR-β NHE. The apparently conflicting mutation results can be rationalized if we take into account the single base point mutation made in a critical cytosine run in the PDGFR-β NHE that dramatically affects the equilibrium of i-motifs formed from this sequence. We identified a group of ellipticines that targets the G-quadruplexes in the PDGFR-β promoter, and from this series of compounds, we selected the ellipticine analog GSA1129, which selectively targets the 3′-end G-quadruplex, to shift the dynamic equilibrium in the full-length sequence to favor this structure. We also identified a benzothiophene-2-carboxamide (NSC309874) as a PDGFR-β i-motif-interactive compound. In vitro, GSA1129 and NSC309874 downregulate PDGFR-β promoter activity and transcript in the neuroblastoma cell line SK-N-SH at subcytotoxic cell concentrations. GSA1129 also inhibits PDGFR-β-driven cell proliferation and migration. With an established preclinical murine model of acute lung injury, we demonstrate that GSA1129 attenuates endotoxin-mediated acute lung inflammation. Our studies underscore the importance of considering the effects of point mutations on structure formation from the G- and C-rich sequences and provide further evidence for the involvement of both strands and associated structures in the control of gene expression.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Colloid and Surface Chemistry