Saturday, April 4, 2020

A Nimbolide-Based Kinase Degrader Preferentially Degrades Oncogenic BCR-ABL [@DanNomura]

Bingqi Tong, Jessica N. Spradlin, Luiz F.T. Novaes, Erika Zhang, Xirui Hu Malte Moeller,
Scott M. Brittain, Lynn M. McGregor, Jeffrey M. McKenna, John A. Tallarico, Markus Schirle,
Thomas J. Maimone, and Daniel K. Nomura

BioRXiv, 2020

Targeted protein degradation (TPD) and proteolysis-targeting chimeras (PROTACs) have arisen as powerful therapeutic modalities for degrading specific protein targets in a proteasome-dependent manner. However, a major limitation to broader TPD applications is the lack of E3 ligase recruiters. Recently, we discovered the natural product nimbolide as a covalent ligand for the E3 ligase RNF114. When linked to the BET family inhibitor JQ1, the resulting heterobifunctional PROTAC molecule was capable of selectively degrading BRD4 in cancer cells. Here, we show the broader utility of nimbolide as an E3 ligase recruiter for TPD applications. We demonstrate that a PROTAC linking nimbolide to the kinase and BCR-ABL fusion oncogene inhibitor dasatinib, BT1, selectively degrades BCR-ABL over c-ABL in leukemia cancer cells, compared to previously reported cereblon or VHL-recruiting BCR-ABL degraders that show opposite selectivity or in some cases inactivity. Further contrasting from cereblon or VHL-recruiting degradation, we show that BT1 treatment not only leads to BCR-ABL degradation, but also stabilizes the endogenous RNF114 substrate and tumor suppressor substrate p21. This leads to additional anti-proliferative effects in leukemia cancer cells beyond those observed with cereblon or VHL-recruiting BCR-ABL PROTACs. Thus, we further establish nimbolide as an additional general E3 ligase recruiter for PROTACs with unique additional benefits for oncology applications. We also further demonstrate the importance of expanding upon the arsenal of E3 ligase recruiters, as such molecules confer differing and unpredictable selectivity for the degradation of neo-substrate proteins.

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