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PloS one

Differential disruption of EWS-FLI1 binding by DNA-binding agents.


PMID 23894528

Abstract

Fusion of the EWS gene to FLI1 produces a fusion oncoprotein that drives an aberrant gene expression program responsible for the development of Ewing sarcoma. We used a homogenous proximity assay to screen for compounds that disrupt the binding of EWS-FLI1 to its cognate DNA targets. A number of DNA-binding chemotherapeutic agents were found to non-specifically disrupt protein binding to DNA. In contrast, actinomycin D was found to preferentially disrupt EWS-FLI1 binding by comparison to p53 binding to their respective cognate DNA targets in vitro. In cell-based assays, low concentrations of actinomycin D preferentially blocked EWS-FLI1 binding to chromatin, and disrupted EWS-FLI1-mediated gene expression. Higher concentrations of actinomycin D globally repressed transcription. These results demonstrate that actinomycin D preferentially disrupts EWS-FLI1 binding to DNA at selected concentrations. Although the window between this preferential effect and global suppression is too narrow to exploit in a therapeutic manner, these results suggest that base-preferences may be exploited to find DNA-binding compounds that preferentially disrupt subclasses of transcription factors.