Identification and characterization of small molecule inhibitors of the calcium-dependent S100B-p53 tumor suppressor interaction


The binding of S100B to p53 down-regulates wild-type p53 tumor suppressor activity in cancer cells such as malignant melanoma, so a search for small molecules that bind S100B and prevent S100B-p53 complex formation was undertaken. Chemical databases were computationally searched for potential inhibitors of S100B, and 60 compounds were selected for testing on the basis of energy scoring, commercial availability, and chemical similarity clustering. Seven of these compounds bound to S100B as determined by steady state fluorescence spectroscopy (1.0 μM ≤ KD ≤ 120 μM) and five inhibited the growth of primary malignant melanoma cells (C8146A) at comparable concentrations (1.0 μM ≤ IC50 ≤ 50 μM). Additionally, saturation transfer difference (STD) NMR experiments confirmed binding and qualitatively identified protons from the small molecule at the small molecule-S100B interface. Heteronuclear single quantum coherence (HSQC) NMR titrations indicate that these compounds interact with the p53 binding site on S100B. An NMR-docked model of one such inhibitor, pentamidine, bound to Ca 2+-loaded S100B was calculated using intermolecular NOE data between S100B and the drug, and indicates that pentamidine binds into the p53 binding site on S100B defined by helices 3 and 4 and loop 2 (termed the hinge region).

Document Type




Publication Date


Journal Title

Journal of Medicinal Chemistry