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Discovery and Characterization of Halogenated Xanthene Inhibitors of DUSP5 as Potential Photodynamic Therapeutics. J Photochem Photobiol A Chem 2019 Apr 15;375:114-131



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Dual specific phosphatases (DUSPs) are an important class of mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) regulators, and are drug targets for treating vascular diseases. Previously we had shown that DUSP5 plays a role in embryonic vertebrate vascular patterning. Herein, we screened a library of FDA-approved drugs and related compounds, using a para-nitrophenylphosphate substrate (pNPP)-based assay. This assay identified merbromin (also known as mercurochrome) as targeting DUSP5; and, we subsequently identified xanthene-ring based merbromin analogs eosin Y, erythrosin B, and rose bengal, all of which inhibit DUSP5 in vitro. Inhibition was time-dependent for merbromin, eosin Y, 2',7'-dibromofluorescein, and 2',7'-dichlorofluorescein, with enzyme inhibition increasing over time. Reaction progress curve data fit best to a slow-binding model of irreversible enzyme inactivation. Potency of the time-dependent compounds, except for 2',7'-dichlorofluorescein, was diminished when dithiothreitol (DTT) was present, suggesting thiol reactivity. Two additional merbromin analogs, erythrosin B and rose bengal also inhibit DUSP5, but have the therapeutic advantage of being less sensitive to DTT and exhibiting little time dependence for inhibition. Inhibition potency is correlated with the xanthene dye's LUMO energy, which affects ability to form light-activated radical anions, a likely active inhibitor form. Consistent with this hypothesis, rose bengal inhibition is light-dependent and demonstrates the expected red shifted spectrum upon binding to DUSP5, with a Kd of 690 nM. These studies provide a mechanistic foundation for further development of xanthene dyes for treating vascular diseases that respond to DUSP5 inhibition, with the following relative potencies: rose bengal > merbromin > erythrosin B > eosin Y.

Author List

Bongard RD, Lepley M, Gastonguay A, Syrlybaeva RR, Talipov MR, Lipinsky RAJ, Leigh NR, Brahmbhatt J, Kutty R, Rathore R, Ramchandran R, Sem DS


Ramani Ramchandran PhD Professor in the Pediatrics department at Medical College of Wisconsin

jenkins-FCD Prod-484 8aa07fc50b7f6d102f3dda2f4c7056ff84294d1d