Abdullah Akbar, Nicole M. R. McNeil, Marie R. Albert, Viviane Ta, Gautam Adhikary, Karine Bourgeois, Richard L. Eckert, and Jeffrey W. Keillor
J. Med. Chem., Article ASAP
Human tissue transglutaminase (hTG2) is a multifunctional enzyme. It is primarily known for its calcium-dependent transamidation activity that leads to formation of an isopeptide bond between glutamine and lysine residues found on the surface of proteins, but it is also a GTP binding protein. Overexpression and unregulated hTG2 activity have been associated with numerous human diseases, including cancer stem cell survival and metastatic phenotype. Herein, we present a series of targeted covalent inhibitors (TCIs) based on our previously reported Cbz-Lys scaffold. From this structure–activity relationship (SAR) study, novel irreversible inhibitors were identified that block the transamidation activity of hTG2 and allosterically abolish its GTP binding ability with a high degree of selectivity and efficiency (kinact/KI > 105 M–1 min–1). One optimized inhibitor (VA4) was also shown to inhibit epidermal cancer stem cell invasion with an EC50 of 3.9 μM, representing a significant improvement over our previously reported “hit” NC9.