Allosteric cross-talk in chromatin can mediate drug-drug synergy

Journal: Nature Communications

Published: 2017-03-30

DOI: 10.1038/ncomms14860

Affiliations: 3

Authors: 8

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Research Highlight

Off-site workers prove effective

© Photography by ZhangXun/Moment/Getty

© Photography by ZhangXun/Moment/Getty

The binding of an anticancer agent to the proteins that spool around DNA helps an unrelated drug — one used to treat rheumatoid arthritis — to bind more efficiently in cancer cells.

Together, the two drugs kill many more ovarian cancer cells than either agent alone.

A team co-led by researchers at Nanyang Technological University showed that the therapeutic synergy results from a ‘domino’ model of drug attachment to the histone proteins that package DNA. After the anticancer drug RAPTA-T binds the DNA, it changes the shape of the histone in a way that makes it easier for the antirheumatic agent auranofin to bind at a distant site, different to the one where it normally acts.

While this kind of ‘off-site’ activity often leads to problematic side effects, in this case, it enhances the drugs’ destructive power against tumours.

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  1. Nature Communications 8, 14860 (2017). doi: 10.1038/ncomms14860
Institutions Share
Nanyang Technological University (NTU), Singapore 0.50
Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Lausanne (EPFL), Switzerland 0.50