Tisi et al., “Structure of the Epigenetic Oncogene MMSET and Inhibition by N-Alkyl Sinefungin Derivatives.” ACS Chem. Biol., 2016, 11 (11), pp 3093–3105, DOI: 10.1021/acschembio.6b00308

Abstract

The members of the NSD subfamily of lysine methyl transferases are compelling oncology targets due to the recent characterization of gain-of-function mutations and translocations in several hematological cancers. To date, these proteins have proven intractable to small molecule inhibition. Here, we present initial efforts to identify inhibitors of MMSET (aka NSD2 or WHSC1) using solution phase and crystal structural methods. On the basis of 2D NMR experiments comparing NSD1 and MMSET structural mobility, we designed an MMSET construct with five point mutations in the N-terminal helix of its SET domain for crystallization experiments and elucidated the structure of the mutant MMSET SET domain at 2.1 Å resolution. Both NSD1 and MMSET crystal systems proved resistant to soaking or cocrystallography with inhibitors. However, use of the close homologue SETD2 as a structural surrogate supported the design and characterization of N-alkyl sinefungin derivatives, which showed low micromolar inhibition against both SETD2 and MMSET.

View further details below

Tisi et al. “Structure of the Epigenetic Oncogene MMSET and Inhibition by N-Alkyl Sinefungin Derivatives.” ACS Chem. Biol., 2016, 11 (11), pp 3093–3105, DOI: 10.1021/acschembio.6b00308

Woolford et al., “Fragment-Based Approach to the Development of an Orally Bioavailable Lactam Inhibitor of Lipoprotein-Associated Phospholipase A2 (Lp-PLA2).” J. Med. Chem., 2016, 59 (23), pp 10738–10749, DOI: 10.1021/acs.jmedchem.6b01427

Abstract

Lp-PLA2 has been explored as a target for a number of inflammation associated diseases, including cardiovascular disease and dementia. This article describes the discovery of a new fragment derived chemotype that interacts with the active site of Lp-PLA2. The starting fragment hit was discovered through an X-ray fragment screen and showed no activity in the bioassay (IC50 > 1 mM). The fragment hit was optimized using a variety of structure-based drug design techniques, including virtual screening, fragment merging, and improvement of shape complementarity. A novel series of Lp-PLA2 inhibitors was generated with low lipophilicity and a promising pharmacokinetic profile.

View further details below

Woolford et al. “Fragment-Based Approach to the Development of an Orally Bioavailable Lactam Inhibitor of Lipoprotein-Associated Phospholipase A2 (Lp-PLA2)J. Med. Chem., 2016, 59 (23), pp 10738–10749, DOI: 10.1021/acs.jmedchem.6b01427

Lebraud et al. “Protein Degradation by In-Cell Self-Assembly of Proteolysis Targeting Chimeras.” ACS Cent. Sci.,2016, 2 (12), pp 927–934 DOI:10.1021/acscentsci.6b00280

Summary

Selective degradation of proteins by proteolysis targeting chimeras (PROTACs) offers a promising potential alternative to protein inhibition for therapeutic intervention. Current PROTAC molecules incorporate a ligand for the target protein, a linker, and an E3 ubiquitin ligase recruiting group, which bring together target protein and ubiquitinating machinery. Such hetero-bifunctional molecules require significant linker optimization and possess high molecular weight, which can limit cellular permeation, solubility, and other drug-like properties. We show here that the hetero-bifunctional molecule can be formed intracellularly by bio-orthogonal click combination of two smaller precursors. We designed a tetrazine tagged thalidomide derivative which reacts rapidly with a trans-cyclo-octene tagged ligand of the target protein in cells to form a cereblon E3 ligase recruiting PROTAC molecule. The in-cell click-formed proteolysis targeting chimeras (CLIPTACs) were successfully used to degrade two key oncology targets, BRD4 and ERK1/2. ERK1/2 degradation was achieved using a CLIPTAC based on a covalent inhibitor. We expect this approach to be readily extendable to other inhibitor-protein systems because the tagged E3 ligase recruiter is capable of undergoing the click reaction with a suitably tagged ligand of any protein of interest to elicit its degradation.

View further details below

Lebraud et al. “Protein Degradation by In-Cell Self-Assembly of Proteolysis Targeting Chimeras.” ACS Cent. Sci.,2016, 2 (12), pp 927–934 DOI:10.1021/acscentsci.6b00280

Erlanson et al.. “Twenty years on: the impact of fragments on drug discovery.” Nature Reviews Drug Discovery (2016) doi:10.1038/nrd.2016.109.

Summary

After 20 years of sometimes quiet growth, fragment-based drug discovery (FBDD) has become mainstream. More than 30 drug candidates derived from fragments have entered the clinic, with two approved and several more in advanced trials. FBDD has been widely applied in both academia and industry, as evidenced by the large number of papers from universities, non-profit research institutions, biotechnology companies and pharmaceutical companies. Moreover, FBDD draws on a diverse range of disciplines, from biochemistry and biophysics to computational and medicinal chemistry. As the promise of FBDD strategies becomes increasingly realized, now is an opportune time to draw lessons and point the way to the future. This Review briefly discusses how to design fragment libraries, how to select screening techniques and how to make the most of information gleaned from them. It also shows how concepts from FBDD have permeated and enhanced drug discovery efforts.

View further details below

Erlanson et al.. “Twenty years on: the impact of fragments on drug discovery.” Nature Reviews Drug Discovery (2016) doi:10.1038/nrd.2016.109.

Lebraud et al.. “In-gel activity-based protein profiling of a clickable covalent ERK1/2 inhibitor .” Mol. BioSyst., 2016,12, 2867-2874 DOI: 10.1039/C6MB00367B .

Summary

In-gel activity-based protein profiling (ABPP) offers rapid assessment of the proteome-wide selectivity and target engagement of a chemical tool. Here we demonstrate the use of the inverse electron demand Diels Alder (IEDDA) click reaction for in-gel ABPP by evaluating the selectivity profile and target engagement of a covalent ERK1/2 probe tagged with a trans-cyclooctene group. The chemical probe was shown to bind covalently to Cys166 of ERK2 using protein MS and X-ray crystallography, and displayed submicromolar GI50s in A375 and HCT116 cells. In both cell lines, the probe demonstrated target engagement and a good selectivity profile at low concentrations, which was lost at higher concentrations. The IEDDA cycloaddition enabled fast and quantitative fluorescent tagging for readout with a high background-to-noise ratio and thereby provides a promising alternative to the commonly used copper catalysed alkyne–azide cycloaddition.

View further details below

Lebraud et al.. “In-gel activity-based protein profiling of a clickable covalent ERK1/2 inhibitor .” Mol. BioSyst., 2016,12, 2867-2874 DOI: 10.1039/C6MB00367B .

Verdonk et al. . “Protein–Ligand Informatics Force Field (PLIff): Toward a Fully Knowledge Driven “Force Field” for Biomolecular Interactions.” J. Med. Chem., 2016, 59 (14), pp 6891–6902 DOI: 10.1021/acs.jmedchem.6b00716 .

Summary

The Protein Data Bank (PDB) contains a wealth of data on nonbonded biomolecular interactions. If this information could be distilled down to nonbonded interaction potentials, these would have some key advantages over standard force fields. However, there are some important outstanding issues to address in order to do this successfully. This paper introduces the protein–ligand informatics “force field”, PLIff, which begins to address these key challenges (https://bitbucket.org/AstexUK/pli). As a result of their knowledge-based nature, the next-generation nonbonded potentials that make up PLIff automatically capture a wide range of interaction types, including special interactions that are often poorly described by standard force fields. We illustrate how PLIff may be used in structure-based design applications, including interaction fields, fragment mapping, and protein–ligand docking. PLIff performs at least as well as state-of-the art scoring functions in terms of pose predictions and ranking compounds in a virtual screening context.

View further details below

Verdonk et al. . “Protein–Ligand Informatics Force Field (PLIff): Toward a Fully Knowledge Driven “Force Field” for Biomolecular Interactions.” J. Med. Chem., 2016, 59 (14), pp 6891–6902 DOI: 10.1021/acs.jmedchem.6b00716 .

Amin et al.. “NMR backbone resonance assignment and solution secondary structure determination of human NSD1 and NSD2.” Biomol NMR Assign, 29 June 2016. doi:10.1007/s12104-016-9691-x .

Summary

Proteins of the NSD family are histone-methyl transferases with critical functions in the regulation of chromatin structure and function. NSD1 and NSD2 are homologous proteins that function as epigenetic regulators of transcription through their abilities to catalyse histone methylation. Misregulation of NSD1 and NSD2 expression or mutations in their genes are linked to a number of human diseases such as Sotos syndrome, and cancers including acute myeloid leukemia, multiple myeloma, and lung cancer. The catalytic domain of both proteins contains a conserved SET domain which is involved in histone methylation. Here we report the backbone resonance assignments and secondary structure information of the catalytic domains of human NSD1 and NSD2.

View further details below

Amin et al.. “NMR backbone resonance assignment and solution secondary structure determination of human NSD1 and NSD2.” Biomol NMR Assign, 29 June 2016. doi:10.1007/s12104-016-9691-x .

Keserü et al. “Design Principles for Fragment Libraries: Maximizing the Value of Learnings from Pharma Fragment-Based Drug Discovery (FBDD) Programs for Use in Academia.” J. Med. Chem. April 2016 DOI: 10.1021/acs.jmedchem.6b00197 .

Summary

Fragment-based drug discovery (FBDD) is well suited for discovering both drug leads and chemical probes of protein function; it can cover broad swaths of chemical space and allows the use of creative chemistry. FBDD is widely implemented for lead discovery in industry but is sometimes used less systematically in academia. Design principles and implementation approaches for fragment libraries are continually evolving, and the lack of up-to-date guidance may prevent more effective application of FBDD in academia. This Perspective explores many of the theoretical, practical, and strategic considerations that occur within FBDD programs, including the optimal size, complexity, physicochemical profile, and shape profile of fragments in FBDD libraries, as well as compound storage, evaluation, and screening technologies. This compilation of industry experience in FBDD will hopefully be useful for those pursuing FBDD in academia.

View further details below

Keserü et al. “Design Principles for Fragment Libraries: Maximizing the Value of Learnings from Pharma Fragment-Based Drug Discovery (FBDD) Programs for Use in Academia.” J. Med. Chem. April 2016 DOI: 10.1021/acs.jmedchem.6b00197 .

Woolford et al. “Exploitation of a Novel Binding Pocket in Human Lipoprotein-Associated Phospholipase A2 (Lp-PLA2) Discovered through X-ray Fragment Screening.” J Med Chem, 27 May 2016 . DOI: 10.1021/acs.jmedchem.6b00212.

Summary

Elevated levels of human lipoprotein-associated phospholipase A2 (Lp-PLA2) are associated with cardiovascular disease and dementia. A fragment screen was conducted against Lp-PLA2 in order to identify novel inhibitors. Multiple fragment hits were observed in different regions of the active site, including some hits that bound in a pocket created by movement of a protein side chain (approximately 13 Å from the catalytic residue Ser273). Using structure guided design, we optimized a fragment that bound in this pocket to generate a novel low nanomolar chemotype, which did not interact with the catalytic residues.

View further details below

Woolford et al. “Exploitation of a Novel Binding Pocket in Human Lipoprotein-Associated Phospholipase A2 (Lp-PLA2) Discovered through X-ray Fragment Screening.” J Med Chem, 27 May 2016 . DOI: 10.1021/acs.jmedchem.6b00212.

Davies et al. “Mono-acidic inhibitors of the KEAP1 Kelch-NRF2 protein-protein interaction with high cell potency identified by Fragment-based Discovery.” J Med Chem, 31 March 2016. DOI: 10.1021

Summary

KEAP1 is the key regulator of the NRF2-mediated cytoprotective response, and increasingly recognized as a target for diseases involving oxidative stress. Pharmacological intervention has focused on molecules that decrease NRF2-ubiquitination through covalent modification of KEAP1 cysteine residues, but such electrophilic compounds lack selectivity and may be associated with off-target toxicity. We report here the first use of a fragment-based approach to directly target the KEAP1 Kelch–NRF2 interaction. X-ray crystallographic screening identified three distinct “hot-spots” for fragment binding within the NRF2 binding pocket of KEAP1, allowing progression of a weak fragment hit to molecules with nanomolar affinity for KEAP1 while maintaining drug-like properties. This work resulted in a promising lead compound which exhibits tight and selective binding to KEAP1, and activates the NRF2 antioxidant response in cellular and in vivo models, thereby providing a high quality chemical probe to explore the therapeutic potential of disrupting the KEAP1–NRF2 interaction.

View further details below

Davies et al. “Mono-acidic inhibitors of the KEAP1 Kelch-NRF2 protein-protein interaction with high cell potency identified by Fragment-based Discovery.” J Med Chem, 31 March 2016. DOI: 10.1021