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Journal articleBenns HJ, Storch M, Falco JA, et al., 2022,
Nucleophilic amino acids are important in covalent drug development yet underutilized as anti-microbial targets. Chemoproteomic technologies have been developed to mine chemically accessible residues via their intrinsic reactivity towards electrophilic probes but cannot discern which chemically reactive sites contribute to protein function and should therefore be prioritized for drug discovery. To address this, we have developed a CRISPR-based oligo recombineering (CORe) platform to support the rapid identification, functional prioritization and rational targeting of chemically reactive sites in haploid systems. Our approach couples protein sequence and function with biological fitness of live cells. Here we profile the electrophile sensitivity of proteinogenic cysteines in the eukaryotic pathogen Toxoplasma gondii and prioritize functional sites using CORe. Electrophile-sensitive cysteines decorating the ribosome were found to be critical for parasite growth, with target-based screening identifying a parasite-selective anti-malarial lead molecule and validating the apicomplexan translation machinery as a target for ongoing covalent ligand development.
Journal articlePriyamvada L, Kallemeijn WW, Faronato M, et al., 2022,
Inhibition of vaccinia virus L1 N-myristoylation by the host N-myristoyltransferase inhibitor IMP-1088 generates non-infectious virions defective in cell entry, PLoS Pathogens, Vol: 18, ISSN: 1553-7366
We have recently shown that the replication of rhinovirus, poliovirus and foot-and-mouth disease virus requires the co-translational N-myristoylation of viral proteins by human host cell N-myristoyltransferases (NMTs), and is inhibited by treatment with IMP-1088, an ultrapotent small molecule NMT inhibitor. Here, we examine the importance of N-myristoylation during vaccinia virus (VACV) infection in primate cells and demonstrate the anti-poxviral effects of IMP-1088. N-myristoylated proteins from VACV and the host were metabolically labelled with myristic acid alkyne during infection using quantitative chemical proteomics. We identified VACV proteins A16, G9 and L1 to be N-myristoylated. Treatment with NMT inhibitor IMP-1088 potently abrogated VACV infection, while VACV gene expression, DNA replication, morphogenesis and EV formation remained unaffected. Importantly, we observed that loss of N-myristoylation resulted in greatly reduced infectivity of assembled mature virus particles, characterized by significantly reduced host cell entry and a decline in membrane fusion activity of progeny virus. While the N-myristoylation of VACV entry proteins L1, A16 and G9 was inhibited by IMP-1088, mutational and genetic studies demonstrated that the N-myristoylation of L1 was the most critical for VACV entry. Given the significant genetic identity between VACV, monkeypox virus and variola virus L1 homologs, our data provides a basis for further investigating the role of N-myristoylation in poxviral infections as well as the potential of selective NMT inhibitors like IMP-1088 as broad-spectrum poxvirus inhibitors.
Journal articleZhang Q, Kounde C, Mondal M, et al., 2022,
Light-mediated multi-target protein degradation using arylazopyrazole photoswitchable PROTACs (AP-PROTACs), Chemical Communications, Vol: 58, Pages: 10933-10936, ISSN: 1359-7345
Light-activable spatiotemporal control of PROTAC-induced protein degradation was achieved with novel arylazopyrazole photoswitchable PROTACs (AP-PROTACs). The use of a promiscuous kinase inhibitor in the design enables this unique photoswitchable PROTAC to selectively degrade four protein kinases together with on/off optical control using different wavelengths of light.
Journal articleWilliams D, Mahmoud M, Liu R, et al., 2022,
Atherosclerosis preferentially occurs in arterial regions exposed to disturbed blood flow (d-flow), while regions exposed to stable flow (s-flow) are protected. The proatherogenic and atheroprotective effects of d-flow and s-flow are mediated in part by the global changes in endothelial cell gene expression, which regulates endothelial dysfunction, inflammation, and atherosclerosis. Previously, we identified Kallikrein-Related Peptidase 10 (Klk10, a secreted serine protease) as a flow-sensitive gene in mouse arterial endothelial cells, but its role in endothelial biology and atherosclerosis was unknown. Here, we show that KLK10 is upregulated under s-flow conditions and downregulated under d-flow conditions using in vivo& mouse models and in vitro studies with cultured endothelial cells (ECs). Single-cell RNA sequencing (scRNAseq) and scATAC sequencing (scATACseq) study using the partial carotid ligation mouse model showed flow-regulated Klk10 expression at the epigenomic and transcription levels. Functionally, KLK10 protected against d-flow-induced permeability dysfunction and inflammation in human artery ECs (HAECs), as determined by NFkB activation, expression of vascular cell adhesion molecule 1 (VCAM1) and intracellular adhesion molecule 1 (ICAM1), and monocyte adhesion. Further, treatment of mice in vivo with rKLK10 decreased arterial endothelial inflammation in d-flow regions. Additionally, rKLK10 injection or ultrasound-mediated transfection of Klk10-expressing plasmids inhibited atherosclerosis in Apoe-/- mice. Moreover, KLK10 expression was significantly reduced in human coronary arteries with advanced atherosclerotic plaques compared to those with less severe plaques. KLK10 is a flow-sensitive endothelial protein that serves as an anti-inflammatory, barrier-protective, and anti-atherogenic factor.
Journal articleMondal M, Conole D, Nautiyal J, et al., 2022,
Breast cancer has the highest incidence and death rate among cancers in women worldwide. In particular, metastatic Estrogen Receptor negative (ER–) breast cancer and Triple-Negative Breast Cancer (TNBC) subtypes have very limited treatment options, with low survival rates. Ubiquitin carboxyl terminal hydrolase L1 (UCHL1), a ubiquitin C-terminal hydrolase belonging to the deubiquitinase (DUB) family of enzymes, is highly expressed in these cancer types, and several key reports have revealed emerging and important roles for UCHL1 in breast cancer. However, selective and potent small molecule UCHL1 inhibitors have been disclosed only very recently, alongside chemical biology approaches to detect regulated UHCL1 activity in cancer cells. These tools will enable novel insights into oncogenic mechanisms driven by UCHL1, and identification of substrate proteins deubiquitinated by UCHL1, with the ultimate goal of realizing the potential of UCHL1 as a drug target in breast cancer.
Journal articleJamshidiha M, Lanyon-Hogg T, Sutherell C, et al., 2021,
Rab27A is a small GTPase, which mediates transport and docking of secretory vesicles at the plasma membrane via protein–protein interactions (PPIs) with effector proteins. Rab27A promotes the growth and invasion of multiple cancer types such as breast, lung and pancreatic, by enhancing secretion of chemokines, metalloproteases and exosomes. The significant role of Rab27A in multiple cancer types and the minor role in adults suggest that Rab27A may be a suitable target to disrupt cancer metastasis. Similar to many GTPases, the flat topology of the Rab27A-effector PPI interface and the high affinity for GTP make it a challenging target for inhibition by small molecules. Reported co-crystal structures show that several effectors of Rab27A interact with the Rab27A SF4 pocket (‘WF-binding pocket’) via a conserved tryptophan–phenylalanine (WF) dipeptide motif. To obtain structural insight into the ligandability of this pocket, a novel construct was designed fusing Rab27A to part of an effector protein (fRab27A), allowing crystallisation of Rab27A in high throughput. The paradigm of KRas covalent inhibitor development highlights the challenge presented by GTPase proteins as targets. However, taking advantage of two cysteine residues, C123 and C188, that flank the WF pocket and are unique to Rab27A and Rab27B among the >60 Rab family proteins, we used the quantitative Irreversible Tethering (qIT) assay to identify the first covalent ligands for native Rab27A. The binding modes of two hits were elucidated by co-crystallisation with fRab27A, exemplifying a platform for identifying suitable lead fragments for future development of competitive inhibitors of the Rab27A-effector interaction interface, corroborating the use of covalent libraries to tackle challenging targets.
Journal articleCoupland CE, Andrei SA, Ansell TB, et al., 2021,
The Sonic Hedgehog (SHH) morphogen pathway is fundamental for embryonic development and stem cell maintenance and is implicated in various cancers. A key step in signaling is transfer of a palmitate group to the SHH N terminus, catalyzed by the multi-pass transmembrane enzyme Hedgehog acyltransferase (HHAT). We present the high-resolution cryo-EM structure of HHAT bound to substrate analog palmityl-coenzyme A and a SHH-mimetic megabody, revealing a heme group bound to HHAT that is essential for HHAT function. A structure of HHAT bound to potent small-molecule inhibitor IMP-1575 revealed conformational changes in the active site that occlude substrate binding. Our multidisciplinary analysis provides a detailed view of the mechanism by which HHAT adapts the membrane environment to transfer an acyl chain across the endoplasmic reticulum membrane. This structure of a membrane-bound O-acyltransferase (MBOAT) superfamily member provides a blueprint for other protein-substrate MBOATs and a template for future drug discovery.
Journal articleKallemeijn W, Lanyon-Hogg T, Panyain N, et al., 2021,
Proteome-wide analysis of protein lipidation using chemical probes: in-gel fluorescence visualisation, identification and quantification of N-myristoylation, N- and S-acylation, Ocholesterylation, S-farnesylation and S-geranylgeranylation, Nature Protocols, Vol: 16, Pages: 5083-5122, ISSN: 1750-2799
Protein lipidation is one of the most widespread post-translational modifications (PTMs) found in nature, regulating protein function, structure and subcellular localization. Lipid transferases and their substrate proteins are also attracting increasing interest as drug targets because of their dysregulation in many disease states. However, the inherent hydrophobicity and potential dynamic nature of lipid modifications makes them notoriously challenging to detect by many analytical methods. Chemical proteomics provides a powerful approach to identify and quantify these diverse protein modifications by combining bespoke chemical tools for lipidated protein enrichment with quantitative mass spectrometry–based proteomics. Here, we report a robust and proteome-wide approach for the exploration of five major classes of protein lipidation in living cells, through the use of specific chemical probes for each lipid PTM. In-cell labeling of lipidated proteins is achieved by the metabolic incorporation of a lipid probe that mimics the specific natural lipid, concomitantly wielding an alkyne as a bio-orthogonal labeling tag. After incorporation, the chemically tagged proteins can be coupled to multifunctional ‘capture reagents’ by using click chemistry, allowing in-gel fluorescence visualization or enrichment via affinity handles for quantitative chemical proteomics based on label-free quantification (LFQ) or tandem mass-tag (TMT) approaches. In this protocol, we describe the application of lipid probes for N-myristoylation, N- and S-acylation, O-cholesterylation, S-farnesylation and S-geranylgeranylation in multiple cell lines to illustrate both the workflow and data obtained in these experiments. We provide detailed workflows for method optimization, sample preparation for chemical proteomics and data processing. A properly trained researcher (e.g., technician, graduate student or postdoc) can complete all steps from optimizing metabolic labeling to data pr
Journal articleSchlott AC, Knuepfer E, Green JL, et al., 2021,
Inhibition of protein N-myristoylation blocks Plasmodium falciparum intraerythrocytic development, egress and invasion, PLoS Biology, Vol: 19, ISSN: 1544-9173
We have combined chemical biology and genetic modification approaches to investigate the importance of protein myristoylation in the human malaria parasite, Plasmodium falciparum. Parasite treatment during schizogony in the last 10 to 15 hours of the erythrocytic cycle with IMP-1002, an inhibitor of N-myristoyl transferase (NMT), led to a significant blockade in parasite egress from the infected erythrocyte. Two rhoptry proteins were mislocalized in the cell, suggesting that rhoptry function is disrupted. We identified 16 NMT substrates for which myristoylation was significantly reduced by NMT inhibitor (NMTi) treatment, and, of these, 6 proteins were substantially reduced in abundance. In a viability screen, we showed that for 4 of these proteins replacement of the N-terminal glycine with alanine to prevent myristoylation had a substantial effect on parasite fitness. In detailed studies of one NMT substrate, glideosome-associated protein 45 (GAP45), loss of myristoylation had no impact on protein location or glideosome assembly, in contrast to the disruption caused by GAP45 gene deletion, but GAP45 myristoylation was essential for erythrocyte invasion. Therefore, there are at least 3 mechanisms by which inhibition of NMT can disrupt parasite development and growth: early in parasite development, leading to the inhibition of schizogony and formation of "pseudoschizonts," which has been described previously; at the end of schizogony, with disruption of rhoptry formation, merozoite development and egress from the infected erythrocyte; and at invasion, when impairment of motor complex function prevents invasion of new erythrocytes. These results underline the importance of P. falciparum NMT as a drug target because of the pleiotropic effect of its inhibition.
Journal articleGoya Grocin A, Kallemeijn W, Tate E, 2021,
For over three decades, methionine aminopeptidase 2 (MetAP2) has been a tentative drug target for the treatment of cancer, obesity, and autoimmune diseases. Currently, no MetAP2 inhibitors (MetAP2i) have reached the clinic yet, despite considerable investment by major pharmaceutical companies. Here, we summarize the key series of MetAP2i developed to date and discuss their clinical development, progress, and issues. We coalesce the currently disparate knowledge regarding MetAP2i mechanism of action and discuss discrepancies across varied studies. Finally, we highlight the current knowledge gaps that need to be addressed to enable successful development of MetAP2 inhibitors in clinical settings.
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