Poly(A)-specific ribonuclease (PARN) is a 3'-exoribonuclease that efficiently degrades poly(A) tails and regulates, in part, mRNA turnover rates. We have previously reported that adenosine- and cytosine-based glucopyranosyl nucleoside analogues with adequate tumour-inhibitory effect could effectively inhibit PARN. In the present study we dissect the mechanism of a more drastic inhibition of PARN by novel glucopyranosyl analogues bearing uracil, 5-fluorouracil or thymine as the base moiety. Kinetic analysis showed that three of the compounds are competitive inhibitors of PARN with K(i) values in the low μM concentration and significantly lower (11- to 33-fold) compared to our previous studies. Detailed kinetic analysis of the most effective inhibitor, the uracil-based nucleoside analogue (named U1), revealed slow-binding behaviour. Subsequent molecular docking experiments showed that all the compounds which inhibited PARN can efficiently bind into the active site of the enzyme through specific interactions. The present study dissects the inhibitory mechanism of this novel uracil-based compound, which prolongs its inhibitory effect through a slow-binding and slow-release mode at the active site of PARN, thus contributing to a more efficient inhibition. Such analogues could be used as leading compounds for further rationale design and synthesis of efficient and specific therapeutic agents. Moreover, our data reinforce the notion that human PARN can be established as a novel molecular target of potential anti-cancer agents through lowering mRNA turnover rates.
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