Background: The angiogenesis inhibitors TNP-470 and ovalicin potently suppress endothelial cell growth. Both drugs also specifically inhibit methionine aminopeptidase 2 (MetAP2) in vitro. Inhibition of MetAP2 and changes in initiator methionine removal in drug-treated endothelial cells have not been demonstrated, however.
Results: Concentrations of TNP-470 sufficient to inactivate MetAP2 in intact endothelial cells were comparable to those that inhibited cell proliferation, suggesting that MetAP2 inhibition by TNP-470 underlies the ability of the drug to inhibit cell growth. Both drug-sensitive and drug-insensitive cell lines express MetAP1 and MetAP2, indicating that drug sensitivity in mammalian cells is not simply due to the absence of compensating MetAP activity. With a single exception, detectable protein N-myristoylation is unaffected in sensitive endothelial cells treated with TNP-470, so MetAP1 activity can generally compensate when MetAP2 is inactive. Analysis of total protein extracts from cells pulse-labeled with [(35)S]-methionine following TNP-470 treatment revealed changes in the migration of several newly synthesized proteins. Two of these proteins were identified as glyceraldehyde-3-phosphate dehydrogenase (GAPDH) and cyclophilin A. Purification and amino-terminal sequencing of GAPDH from TNP-470-treated cells revealed partial retention of its initiator methionine, indicating that methionine removal from some, but not all, proteins is affected by MetAP2 inactivation.
Conclusions: Amino-terminal processing defects occur in cells treated with TNP-470, indicating that inhibition of MetAP2 by the drug occurs in intact cells. This work renders plausible a mechanism for growth inhibition by TNP-470 as a consequence of initiator methionine retention, leading to the inactivation of as yet unidentified proteins essential for endothelial cell growth.