NSC348884, a nucleophosmin inhibitor disrupts oligomer formation and induces apoptosis in human cancer cells

W. Qi, K. Shakalya, A. Stejskal, A. Goldman, S. Beeck, L. Cooke, D. Mahadevan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

92 Scopus citations


Nucleophosmin (NPM), a multifunctional nucleolar phosphoprotein is dysregulated in human malignancies leading to anti-apoptosis and inhibition of differentiation. We evaluated the precise three-dimensional structure of NPM based on the highly conserved structure of Xenopus NO38 and its requirement to form dimers and pentamers via its N-terminal domain (residues, 1-107). We hypothesized that a small molecular inhibitor (SMI) that could disrupt the formation of dimers would inhibit aberrant NPM function(s) in cancer cells. Molecular modeling, pharmacophore design, in silico screening and interactive docking identified NSC348884 as a putative NPM SMI that disrupts a defined hydrophobic pocket required for oligomerization. NSC348884 inhibited cell proliferation at an IC50 of 1.7-4.0 μM in distinct cancer cell lines and disrupted NPM oligomer formation by native polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis assay. Treatment of several different cancer cell types with NSC348884 upregulated p53 (increased Ser15 phosphorylation) and induced apoptosis in a dose-dependent manner that correlated with apoptotic markers: H2AX phosphorylation, poly(ADP-ribose) polymerase cleavage and Annexin V labeling. Further, NSC348884 synergized doxorubicin cytotoxicity on cancer cell viability. The data together show that NSC348884 is an SMI of NPM oligomer formation, upregulates p53, induces apoptosis and synergizes with chemotherapy. Hence, an SMI to NPM may be a useful approach to anticancer therapy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)4210-4220
Number of pages11
Issue number30
StatePublished - Jul 10 2008
Externally publishedYes


  • Apoptosis
  • NSC348884
  • Nucleophosmin
  • Small molecular inhibitor
  • p53

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Genetics
  • Molecular Biology
  • Cancer Research


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