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Publication Detail
Design, synthesis and evaluation of novel small molecule inhibitors of the histone methyltransferase DOT1L and ubiquitination facilitator Keap1
  • Publication Type:
  • Authors:
    Spurr SS
  • Date awarded:
  • Supervisors:
    Wells G,Fish P,Healy J
  • Status:
  • Awarding institution:
    UCL (University College London)
  • Language:
    English (UK)
  • Keywords:
    Epigenetics, DOT1L, Keap1, Kinetic target guided synthesis, Nrf2, CNSAH
This thesis details the design, synthesis and evaluation of novel small molecule inhibitors of the histone methyltransferase DOT1L and the ubiquitination facilitator Keap1. The thesis is in two parts as outlined below. Part 1: The first part of this thesis details efforts towards identification of novel small molecule inhibitors of DOT1L, a histone methyltransferase which has been implicated in the development and proliferation of mixed lineage leukaemias (MLL). This work aims to optimise the drug-like properties of published DOT1L inhibitors while retaining potency, through further exploration of the nucleobase template. Structure-activity relationships (SARs) identified polar substituents and small heterocycles as favourable replacements for the halogen in 5-ITC, a small molecule inhibitor of DOT1L. Alternative nucleobase templates also demonstrated comparable DOT1L inhibition. To demonstrate proof of concept, a polar nitrile substituent was translated into the inhibitor Br-SAH as a direct replacement of the bromide. Activity was retained and a crystal structure obtained which demonstrated the nitrile occupied the same hydrophobic pocket. This work also demonstrated the use of a nitrile as a non-traditional replacement for heavy halogen atoms. Part 2: The second part of this thesis details identification of novel inhibitors of the Keap1-Nrf2 protein-protein interactions (PPI) using an approach based on kinetic target-guided synthesis (kTGS). Keap1 is a dimeric cytoplasmic protein that mediates the ubiquitination of Nrf2, a transcription factor that acts as a regulator of cellular antioxidant responses. Disruption of the PPI between Keap1 and Nrf2 has been shown to have a therapeutic benefit in diseases associated with oxidative stress and inflammation as well as providing a potential route to chemopreventative agents for cancer. Biased kTGS was applied as proof of concept. A biased ligand was designed and screened against a focused library of azides. The 1,3-dipolar cycloaddition products formed in the presence of the Keap1 Kelch domain were evaluated and validated through chemical synthesis and screening. A novel triazole structure was identified with improved activity over the initial biased fragment thus demonstrating kTGS as a valid approach for identifying novel inhibitors of the Keap1-Nrf2 PPI interaction.
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