Targeting cancer metabolism has emerged as an important cancer therapeutic strategy. Here, we describe the synthesis and biological evaluation of a novel class of hypoxia-inducible factor (HIF)-1α inhibitors, disubstituted adamantyl derivatives. One such compound, LW1564, significantly suppressed HIF-1α accumulation and inhibited the growth of various cancer cell lines, including HepG2, A549, and HCT116. Measurements of the oxygen consumption rate (OCR) and ATP production rate revealed that LW1564 suppressed mitochondrial respiration, thereby increasing the intracellular oxygen concentration to stimulate HIF-1α degradation. LW1564 also significantly decreased overall ATP levels by inhibiting mitochondrial electron transport chain (ETC) complex I and downregulated mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR) signaling by increasing the AMP/ATP ratio, which increased AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK) phosphorylation. Consequently, LW1564 promoted the phosphorylation of acetyl-CoA carboxylase, which inhibited lipid synthesis. In addition, LW1564 significantly inhibited tumor growth in a HepG2 mouse xenograft model. Taken together, the results indicate that LW1564 inhibits the growth of cancer cells by targeting mitochondrial ETC complex I and impairing cancer cell metabolism. We, therefore, suggest that LW1564 may be a potent therapeutic agent for a subset of cancers that rely on oxidative phosphorylation for ATP generation.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
This work was supported by the National Research Foundation (NRF) under grants NRF-2019M3E5D506636 and NRF-2018R1A5A2023127 and by the KRIBB Initiative Program under grants KGM4751713 and KGM4542013.
© 2020, The Author(s).
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Molecular Medicine
- Molecular Biology
- Clinical Biochemistry