Cellular proteins that fail to fold properly result in inactive or disfunctional proteins that can have toxic functions. The unfolded protein response (UPR) is a two-tiered cellular mechanism initiated by eukaryotic cells that have accumulated misfolded proteins within the endoplasmic reticulum (ER). An adaptive pathway facilitates the clearance of the undesired proteins; however, if overwhelmed, cells trigger apoptosis by upregulating transcription factors such as C/EBP-homologous protein (CHOP). A high throughput screen was performed directed at identifying compounds that selectively upregulate the apoptotic CHOP pathway while avoiding adaptive signaling cascades, resulting in a sulfonamidebenzamide chemotype that was optimized. These efforts produced a potent and selective CHOP inducer (AC50 = 0.8 μM; XBP1 > 80 μM), which was efficacious in both mouse embryonic fibroblast cells and a human oral squamous cell cancer cell line, and demonstrated antiproliferative effects for multiple cancer cell lines in the NCI-60 panel.
- CHOP activator
- UPR apoptotic pathway activator
- UPR modulator