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  • Journal article
    Shah R, De Vita E, Sathyamurthi P, Conole D, Zhang X, Fellows E, Dickinson E, Fleites C, Queisser M, Harling J, Tate Eet al.,

    Structure-guided design and optimization of covalent VHL-targeted sulfonyl fluoride PROTACs

    , Journal of Medicinal Chemistry, ISSN: 0022-2623

    Proteolysis-targeting chimeras (PROTACs) are heterobifunctional molecules that have emerged as a therapeutic modality to induce targeted protein degradation (TPD) by harnessing cellular proteolytic degradation machinery. PROTACs which ligand the E3 ligase in a covalent manner have attracted intense interest, however, covalent PROTACs with a broad protein of interest (POI) scope have proven challenging to discover by design. Here, we report structure-guided design and optimization of Von Hippel-Lindau (VHL) protein-targeted sulfonyl fluorides which covalently bind Ser110 in the HIF1α binding site. We demonstrate that their incorporation in bifunctional degraders induces targeted protein degradation of BRD4 or androgen receptor (AR) without further linker optimization. Our study discloses the first covalent VHL ligands which can be implemented directly in bifunctional degrader design expanding the substrate scope of covalent E3 ligase PROTACs.

  • Journal article
    Ocasio CA, Baggelaar MP, Sipthorp J, Losada de la Lastra A, Tavares M, Volarić J, Soudy C, Storck EM, Houghton JW, Palma-Duran SA, MacRae JI, Tomić G, Carr L, Downward J, Eggert US, Tate EWet al., 2024,

    A palmitoyl transferase chemical-genetic system to map ZDHHC-specific S-acylation

    , Nature Biotechnology, ISSN: 1087-0156

    The 23 human zinc finger Asp-His-His-Cys motif-containing (ZDHHC) S-acyltransferases catalyze long-chain S-acylation at cysteine residues across an extensive network of hundreds of proteins important for normal physiology or dysregulated in disease. Here we present a technology to directly map the protein substrates of a specific ZDHHC at the whole-proteome level, in intact cells. Structure-guided engineering of paired ZDHHC 'hole' mutants and 'bumped' chemically tagged fatty acid probes enabled probe transfer to specific protein substrates with excellent selectivity over wild-type ZDHHCs. Chemical-genetic systems were exemplified for five human ZDHHCs (3, 7, 11, 15 and 20) and applied to generate de novo ZDHHC substrate profiles, identifying >300 substrates and S-acylation sites for new functionally diverse proteins across multiple cell lines. We expect that this platform will elucidate S-acylation biology for a wide range of models and organisms.

  • Journal article
    Conole D, Cao F, Am Ende CW, Xue L, Kantesaria S, Kang D, Jin J, Owen D, Lohr L, Schenone M, Majmudar JD, Tate EWet al., 2023,

    Discovery of a potent deubiquitinase (DUB) small molecule activity‐based probe enables broad spectrum DUB activity profiling in living cells

    , Angewandte Chemie International Edition, Vol: 62, ISSN: 1433-7851

    Deubiquitinases (DUBs) are a family of >100 proteases that hydrolyze isopeptide bonds linking ubiquitin to protein substrates. This leads to reduced substrate degradation through the ubiquitin proteasome system. Deregulation of DUB activity has been implicated in many diseases, including cancer, neurodegeneration and auto-inflammation, and several have been recognized as attractive targets for therapeutic intervention. Ubiquitin-derived covalent activity-based probes (ABPs) provide a powerful tool for DUB activity profiling, but their large recognition element impedes cellular permeability and presents an unmet need for small molecule ABPs which can account for regulation of DUB activity in intact cells or organisms. Here, through comprehensive chemoproteomic warhead profiling, we identify cyanopyrrolidine (CNPy) probe IMP-2373 (12) as a small molecule pan-DUB ABP to monitor DUB activity in physiologically relevant live cells. Through proteomics and targeted assays, we demonstrate that IMP-2373 quantitatively engages more than 35 DUBs across a range of non-toxic concentrations in diverse cell lines. We further demonstrate its application to quantification of changes in intracellular DUB activity during pharmacological inhibition and during MYC deregulation in a model of B cell lymphoma. IMP-2373 thus offers a complementary tool to ubiquitin ABPs to monitor dynamic DUB activity in the context of disease-relevant phenotypes.

  • Journal article
    Huang X, Yao J, Liu L, Chen J, Mei L, Huangfu J, Luo D, Wang X, Lin C, Chen X, Yang Y, Ouyang S, Wei F, Wang Z, Zhang S, Xiang T, Neculai D, Sun Q, Kong E, Tate EW, Yang Aet al., 2023,

    S-acylation of p62 promotes p62 droplet recruitment into autophagosomes in mammalian autophagy

    , Molecular Cell, Vol: 83, Pages: 3485-3501.E11, ISSN: 1097-2765

    p62 is a well-characterized autophagy receptor that recognizes and sequesters specific cargoes into autophagosomes for degradation. p62 promotes the assembly and removal of ubiquitinated proteins by forming p62-liquid droplets. However, it remains unclear how autophagosomes efficiently sequester p62 droplets. Herein, we report that p62 undergoes reversible S-acylation in multiple human-, rat-, and mouse-derived cell lines, catalyzed by zinc-finger Asp-His-His-Cys S-acyltransferase 19 (ZDHHC19) and deacylated by acyl protein thioesterase 1 (APT1). S-acylation of p62 enhances the affinity of p62 for microtubule-associated protein 1 light chain 3 (LC3)-positive membranes and promotes autophagic membrane localization of p62 droplets, thereby leading to the production of small LC3-positive p62 droplets and efficient autophagic degradation of p62-cargo complexes. Specifically, increasing p62 acylation by upregulating ZDHHC19 or by genetic knockout of APT1 accelerates p62 degradation and p62-mediated autophagic clearance of ubiquitinated proteins. Thus, the protein S-acylation-deacylation cycle regulates p62 droplet recruitment to the autophagic membrane and selective autophagic flux, thereby contributing to the control of selective autophagic clearance of ubiquitinated proteins.

  • Journal article
    White MEH, Gil J, Tate EW, 2023,

    Proteome-wide structural analysis identifies warhead- and coverage-specific biases in cysteine-focused chemoproteomics

    , Cell Chemical Biology, Vol: 30, Pages: 828-838.e4, ISSN: 2451-9456

    Covalent drug discovery has undergone a resurgence over the past two decades and reactive cysteine profiling has emerged in parallel as a platform for ligand discovery through on- and off-target profiling; however, the scope of this approach has not been fully explored at the whole-proteome level. We combined AlphaFold2-predicted side-chain accessibilities for >95% of the human proteome with a meta-analysis of eighteen public cysteine profiling datasets, totaling 44,187 unique cysteine residues, revealing accessibility biases in sampled cysteines primarily dictated by warhead chemistry. Analysis of >3.5 million cysteine-fragment interactions further showed that hit elaboration and optimization drives increased bias against buried cysteine residues. Based on these data, we suggest that current profiling approaches cover a small proportion of potential ligandable cysteine residues and propose future directions for increasing coverage, focusing on high-priority residues and depth. All analysis and produced resources are freely available and extendable to other reactive amino acids.

  • Journal article
    Ledger E, Lau K, Tate E, Edwards Aet al., 2023,

    XerC is required for the repair of antibiotic- and immune-mediated DNA damage in staphylococcus aureus

    , Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy, Vol: 67, Pages: 1-11, ISSN: 0066-4804

    To survive in the host environment, pathogenic bacteria need to be able to repair DNA damage caused by both antibiotics and the immune system. The SOS response is a key bacterial pathway to repair DNA double-strand breaks and may therefore be a good target for novel therapeutics to sensitize bacteria to antibiotics and the immune response. However, the genes required for the SOS response in Staphylococcus aureus have not been fully established. Therefore, we carried out a screen of mutants involved in various DNA repair pathways to understand which were required for induction of the SOS response. This led to the identification of 16 genes that may play a role in SOS response induction and, of these, 3 that affected the susceptibility of S. aureus to ciprofloxacin. Further characterization revealed that, in addition to ciprofloxacin, loss of the tyrosine recombinase XerC increased the susceptibility of S. aureus to various classes of antibiotics, as well as to host immune defenses. Therefore, the inhibition of XerC may be a viable therapeutic approach to sensitize S. aureus to both antibiotics and the immune response.

  • Journal article
    Bubeck D, Couves E, Gardner S, Voisin T, Bickel J, Stansfeld P, Tate Eet al., 2023,

    Structural basis for membrane attack complex inhibition by CD59

    , Nature Communications, Vol: 14, Pages: 1-13, ISSN: 2041-1723

    CD59 is an abundant immuno-regulatory receptor that protects human cells from damage during complement activation. Here we show how the receptor binds complement proteins C8 and C9 at the membrane to prevent insertion and polymerization of membrane attack complex (MAC) pores. We present cryo-electron microscopy structures of two inhibited MAC precursors known as C5b8 and C5b9. We discover that in both complexes, CD59 binds the pore-forming β-hairpins of C8 to form an intermolecular β-sheet that prevents membrane perforation. While bound to C8, CD59 deflects the cascading C9 β-hairpins, rerouting their trajectory into the membrane. Preventing insertion of C9 restricts structural transitions of subsequent monomers and indirectly halts MAC polymerization. We combine our structural data with cellular assays and molecular dynamics simulations to explain how the membrane environment impacts the dual roles of CD59 in controlling pore formation of MAC, and as a target of bacterial virulence factors which hijack CD59 to lyse human cells.

  • Journal article
    Yahiya S, Saunders CN, Hassan S, Straschil U, Fischer OJ, Rueda-Zubiaurre A, Haase S, Vizcay-Barrena G, Famodimu MT, Jordan S, Delves MJ, Tate EW, Barnard A, Fuchter MJ, Baum Jet al., 2023,

    A novel class of sulphonamides potently block malaria transmission by targeting a Plasmodium vacuole membrane protein

    , Disease Models & Mechanisms, Vol: 16, Pages: 1-20, ISSN: 1754-8403

    Phenotypic cell-based screens are critical tools for discovering candidate drugs for development, yet identification of the cellular target and mode of action of a candidate drug is often lacking. Using an imaging-based screen, we recently discovered an N-[(4-hydroxychroman-4-yl)methyl]-sulphonamide (N-4HCS) compound, DDD01035881, that blocks male gamete formation in the malaria parasite life cycle and subsequent transmission of the parasite to the mosquito with nanomolar activity. To identify the target(s) of DDD01035881, and of the N-4HCS class of compounds more broadly, we synthesised a photoactivatable derivative, probe 2. Photoaffinity labelling of probe 2 coupled with mass spectrometry identified the 16 kDa Plasmodium falciparum parasitophorous vacuole membrane protein Pfs16 as a potential parasite target. Complementary methods including cellular thermal shift assays confirmed that the parent molecule DDD01035881 stabilised Pfs16 in lysates from activated mature gametocytes. Combined with high-resolution, fluorescence and electron microscopy data, which demonstrated that parasites inhibited with N-4HCS compounds phenocopy the targeted deletion of Pfs16 in gametocytes, these data implicate Pfs16 as a likely target of DDD01035881. This finding establishes N-4HCS compounds as being flexible and effective starting candidates from which transmission-blocking antimalarials can be developed in the future.

  • Journal article
    Fedoryshchak R, Gorelik A, Shen M, Shchepinova M, Pérez-Dorado I, Tate Eet al., 2023,

    Discovery of lipid-mediated protein–protein interactions in living cells using metabolic labeling with photoactivatable clickable probes

    , Chemical Science, Vol: 14, Pages: 2419-2430, ISSN: 2041-6520

    Protein-protein interactions (PPIs) are essential and pervasive regulatory elements in cell biology. Despite development of a range of techniques to probe PPIs in living systems, there is a dearth of approaches to capture interactions driven by specific post-translational modifications (PTMs). Myristoylation is a lipid PTM added to more than 200 human proteins, where it may regulate membrane localization, stability or activity. Here we report design and synthesis of a panel of novel photocrosslinkable and clickable myristic acid analog probes, and their characterization as efficient substrates for human N -myristoyltransferases NMT1 and NMT2, both biochemically and through X-ray co-crystallography. We demonstrate metabolic incorporation of probes to label NMT substrates in cell culture and in situ intracellular photoactivation to form a covalent crosslink between modified proteins and their interactors, capturing a snapshot of interactions driven by the presence of the lipid PTM. Proteomic analyses revealed both known and multiple novel interactors of a series of myristoylated proteins, including ferroptosis suppressor protein FSP1 and spliceosome-associated RNA helicase DDX46. The concept exemplified by these probes offers an efficient approach for exploring the PTM-specific interactome, which may prove broadly applicable to other PTMs.

  • Journal article
    Zhang L, Lovell S, De Vita E, Jagtap P, Lucy D, Goya Grocin A, Kjaer S, Borg A, Henning J, Miller A, Tate Eet al., 2022,

    A KLK6 activity-based probe reveals a role for KLK6 activity in pancreatic cancer cell invasion

    , Journal of the American Chemical Society, Vol: 144, Pages: 22493-22504, ISSN: 0002-7863

    Pancreatic cancer has the lowest survival rate of all common cancers due to late diagnosis and limited treatment options. Serine hydrolases are known to mediate cancer progression and metastasis through initiation of signaling cascades and cleavage of extracellular matrix proteins, and the kallikrein-related peptidase (KLK) family of secreted serine proteases have emerging roles in pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC). However, the lack of reliable activity-based probes (ABPs) to profile KLK activity has hindered progress in validation of these enzymes as potential targets or biomarkers. Here, we developed potent and selective ABPs for KLK6 by using a positional scanning combinatorial substrate library and characterized their binding mode and interactions by X-ray crystallography. The optimized KLK6 probe IMP-2352 (kobs/I = 11,000 M–1 s–1) enabled selective detection of KLK6 activity in a variety of PDAC cell lines, and we observed that KLK6 inhibition reduced the invasiveness of PDAC cells that secrete active KLK6. KLK6 inhibitors were combined with N-terminomics to identify potential secreted protein substrates of KLK6 in PDAC cells, providing insights into KLK6-mediated invasion pathways. These novel KLK6 ABPs offer a toolset to validate KLK6 and associated signaling partners as targets or biomarkers across a range of diseases.

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