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Monoacidic Inhibitors of the Kelch-like ECH-Associated Protein 1: Nuclear Factor Erythroid 2-Related Factor 2 (KEAP1:NRF2) Protein-Protein Interaction with High Cell Potency Identified by Fragment-Based Discovery



Monoacidic Inhibitors of the Kelch-like ECH-Associated Protein 1: Nuclear Factor Erythroid 2-Related Factor 2 (KEAP1:NRF2) Protein-Protein Interaction with High Cell Potency Identified by Fragment-Based Discovery



Journal of Medicinal Chemistry 59(8): 3991-4006



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.

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Accession: 058344797

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PMID: 27031670

DOI: 10.1021/acs.jmedchem.6b00228


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