Mai Luo, Jessica N Spradlin, Scott M Brittain, Jeffery M McKenna, John A Tallarico, Markus Schirle, Thomas J Maimone, Daniel K Nomura
The translation of natural product function to fully synthetic small molecules has remained an important process in medicinal chemistry for decades resulting in numerous FDA-approved medicines. We recently discovered that the terpene natural product nimbolide can be utilized as a covalent recruiter of the E3 ubiquitin ligase RNF114 for use in targeted protein degradation (TPD) -- a powerful therapeutic modality within modern day drug discovery. Using activity-based protein profiling-enabled covalent ligand screening approaches, we herein report the discovery of fully synthetic RNF114-based recruiter molecules that can also be exploited for PROTAC applications, and demonstrate their utility in degrading therapeutically relevant targets such as BRD4 and BCR-ABL in cells. The identification of simple and easily manipulated drug-like scaffolds that can mimic the function of a complex natural product is beneficial in further expanding the toolbox of E3 ligase recruiters, an area of great importance in drug discovery and chemical biology.