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Discovery of an Irreversible and Cell-Active BCL6 Inhibitor Selectively Targeting Cys53 Located at the Protein-Protein Interaction Interface

Discovery of an Irreversible and Cell-Active BCL6 Inhibitor Selectively Targeting Cys53 Located at the Protein-Protein Interaction Interface

Biochemistry 57(8): 1369-1379

ISSN/ISBN: 0006-2960

PMID: 29293322

DOI: 10.1021/acs.biochem.7b00732

B-cell lymphoma 6 (BCL6) is the most frequently involved oncogene in diffuse large B-cell lymphomas (DLBCLs). BCL6 shows potent transcriptional repressor activity through interactions with its corepressors, such as BCL6 corepressor (BCOR). The inhibition of the protein-protein interaction (PPI) between BCL6 and its corepressors suppresses the growth of BCL6-dependent DLBCLs, thus making BCL6 an attractive drug target for lymphoma treatment. However, potent small-molecule PPI inhibitor identification remains challenging because of the lack of deep cavities at PPI interfaces. This article reports the discovery of a potent, cell-active small-molecule BCL6 inhibitor, BCL6-i (8), that operates through irreversible inhibition. First, we synthesized irreversible lead compound 4, which targets Cys53 in a cavity on the BCL6-BTB domain dimer by introducing an irreversible warhead to high-throughput screening hit compound 1. Further chemical optimization of 4 based on kinact/KI evaluation produced BCL6-i with a kinact/KI value of 1.9 × 104 M-1 s-1, corresponding to a 670-fold improvement in potency compared to that of 4. By exploiting the property of irreversible inhibition, engagement of BCL6-i to intracellular BCL6 was confirmed. BCL6-i showed intracellular PPI inhibitory activity between BCL6 and its corepressors, thus resulting in BCL6-dependent DLBCL cell growth inhibition. BCL6-i is a cell-active chemical probe with the most potent BCL6 inhibitory activity reported to date. The discovery process of BCL6-i illustrates the utility of irreversible inhibition for identifying potent chemical probes for intractable target proteins.

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Accession: 058426237

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