Natural Products Discovered in a High-Throughput Screen Identified as Inhibitors of RGS17 and as Cytostatic and Cytotoxic Agents for Lung and Prostate Cancer Cell Lines

Regulator of G Protein Signaling (RGS) 17 is an overexpressed promoter of cancer survival in lung and prostate tumors, the knockdown of which results in decreased tumor cell proliferation in vitro. Identification of drug-like molecules inhibiting this protein could ameliorate the RGS17’s pro-tumorigenic effect. Using high-throughput screening, a chemical library containing natural products was interrogated for inhibition of the RGS17–Gα<sub>o</sub> interaction. Initial hits were verified in control and counter screens. Leads were characterized via biochemical, mass spectrometric, Western blot, microscopic, and cytotoxicity measures. Four known compounds (<b>1</b>–<b>4</b>) were identified with IC<sub>50</sub> values ranging from high nanomolar to low micromolar. Three compounds were extensively characterized biologically, demonstrating cellular activity determined by confocal microscopy, and two compounds were assessed via ITC exhibiting high nanomolar to low micromolar dissociation constants. The compounds were found to have a cysteine-dependent mechanism of binding, verified through site-directed mutagenesis and cysteine reactivity assessment. Two compounds, sanguinarine (<b>1</b>) and celastrol (<b>2</b>), were found to be cytostatic against lung and prostate cancer cell lines and cytotoxic against prostate cancer cell lines in vitro, although the dependence of RGS17 on these phenomena remains elusive, a result that is perhaps not surprising given the multimodal cytostatic and cytotoxic activities of many natural products.