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Targeted Degradation of Proteins by Small Molecules: A Novel Tool for Functional Proteomics†

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A novel strategy that targets protein for degradation has recently been developed by exploiting a protein-targeting chimeric molecule (‘Protac’). Typically, the chimeric Protac is composed of a small-molecule ligand (‘bait’) on one end and a synthetic octapeptide on the other. This octapeptide is recognized by E3 ubiquitin ligase pVHL (von Hippel Lindau tumor suppressor protein), thereby recruiting a small moleculebound protein (‘prey’) to pVHL for ubiquitination and degradation. Since selective degradation of a cellular protein generates a “loss of function” mutation, this protein knock-out strategy may be useful to study the function of a given protein or to evaluate whether a cellular protein is a potential target for drug intervention, in a manner reminiscent of gene knock-out or siRNA approaches. Herein, we show that a synthetic pentapeptide is sufficient to interact with pVHL E3 ligase, and that the pentapeptide-based Protac efficiently induces ubiquitination and degradation of target protein. Our results also demonstrate that the pentapeptide-based Protac can enter cells efficiently to exerts its biological activity effectively. These results suggest that the synthetic pentapeptide can be used either directly in the preparation of cell-permeable Protacs or as a template to develop peptidomimetic or non-peptide Protacs.

Keywords: e3 ubiquitin ligase; estradiol (e2); estrogen receptor (er); hypoxia-inducing factor; post-genomic era; proteasome; protein-targeting chimeric molecule (protac); ubiquitin; von hippel lindau tumor suppressor protein (pvhl)

Document Type: Review Article


Affiliations: College of Pharmacy, 907 Rose Street, University of Kentucky, Lexington, KY 40536-0082, UK.

Publication date: 2004-11-01

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  • Combinatorial Chemistry & High Throughput Screening publishes full length original research articles and reviews describing various topics in combinatorial chemistry (e.g. small molecules, peptide, nucleic acid or phage display libraries) and/or high throughput screening (e.g. developmental, practical or theoretical). Ancillary subjects of key importance, such as robotics and informatics, will also be covered by the journal. In these respective subject areas, Combinatorial Chemistry & High Throughput Screening is intended to function as the most comprehensive and up-to-date medium available. The journal should be of value to individuals engaged in the process of drug discoveryand development, in the settings of industry, academia or government.
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