S-adenosyl-L-methionine (AdoMet) is a common methyl donor in cellular epigenetic modification of macromolecules to regulate gene expression. Methionine adenosyltransferase (MAT) is the sole enzyme responsible for AdoMet synthesis from ATP and methionine substrates. Three MAT isozymes are found in humans, with only the MAT2A isoform being expressed in most tissues and cancer cells. Over expression of MAT2A in cancer cells has been noted for some time. Recent studies have shown that a common gene deletion in cancer cells of 5?-methylthioadenosine phosphorylase (MTAP) creates susceptibility to MAT2A inhibition due to increased cellular dependence on AdoMet synthesis. Our lab has previously targeted MTAP using tight-binding transition state analogues that were successful in reducing cancer cell growth in cell culture and mouse xenografts. Cancer cells conditioned to MTAP inhibitor resistance were analyzed and a single gene amplification event at the MAT2A gene locus was identified. In this proposal, we will use two powerful methods of enzyme inhibitor design, click chemistry and transition state analogues, to target MAT2A. These innovative chemistry approaches have been applied to other enzyme targets to generate some of the tightest binding inhibitors known. Click chemistry and transition state analogue approaches allow for creation of bisubstrate analogues that target both the ATP and methionine binding sites of MAT2A. This simultaneous targeting of two enzyme active site groups increases the inhibitor affinity, as it resembles the short-lived but high-affinity intermediate reaction species. Inhibitors generated through these methods will be subject to structural, thermodynamic, and kinetic analysis. Efficacy of these high affinity MAT2A inhibitors on reducing cancer cell growth and viability will be analyzed on MTAP-/- and MTAP+/+ cancer cell lines. Co-treatment of cancer cell lines with MTAP transition state analogues will explore synergistic effects of MTAP and MAT2A. We hypothesize that MAT2A inhibitors generated from this work will amplify the anti-cancer effects MTAP inhibitors and provide a novel treatment for MTAP-/- cancers.

Public Health Relevance

The goal of this project is to design and evaluate inhibitors of epigenetic methylation in cancer cells as a method of cancer treatment by targeting of methionine adenosyltransferase 2A (MAT2A) by two proven approaches of inhibitor design, click chemistry and transition state analogues. Developed inhibitors will be characterized kinetically, thermodynamically, and structurally and the anti-cancer potential examined in several common cancer cell lines. Enhanced anti-cancer effects will be examined upon co-treatment with previously developed MTAP inhibitors, an additional enzyme in the methionine metabolism pathway, which may provide unique treatment to various cancer types.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Cancer Institute (NCI)
Postdoctoral Individual National Research Service Award (F32)
Project #
Application #
Study Section
Special Emphasis Panel (ZRG1)
Program Officer
Jakowlew, Sonia B
Project Start
Project End
Budget Start
Budget End
Support Year
Fiscal Year
Total Cost
Indirect Cost
Albert Einstein College of Medicine
United States
Zip Code