American Chemical Society
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Potent and Selective Mitogen-Activated Protein Kinase Kinase 1/2 (MEK1/2) Heterobifunctional Small-molecule Degraders

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posted on 2020-12-07, 20:40 authored by Jianping Hu, Jieli Wei, Hyerin Yim, Li Wang, Ling Xie, Margaret S. Jin, Md Kabir, Lihuai Qin, Xian Chen, Jing Liu, Jian Jin
Previously, we reported a first-in-class von Hippel–Lindau (VHL)-recruiting mitogen-activated protein kinase kinases 1 and 2 (MEK1/2) degrader, MS432. To date, only two MEK1/2 degrader papers have been published and very limited structure–activity relationships (SAR) have been reported. Here, we describe our extensive SAR studies exploring both von Hippel–Lindau (VHL) and cereblon (CRBN) E3 ligase ligands and a variety of linkers, which resulted in two novel, improved VHL-recruiting MEK1/2 degraders, 24 (MS928) and 27 (MS934), and the first CRBN-recruiting MEK1/2 degrader 50 (MS910). These compounds potently and selectively degraded MEK1/2 by hijacking the ubiquitin-proteasome system, inhibited downstream signaling, and suppressed cancer cell proliferation. Furthermore, concurrent inhibition of BRAF or PI3K significantly potentiated the antitumor activity of degrader 27, suggesting that the combination of MEK1/2 degradation with BRAF or PI3K inhibition may provide potential therapeutic benefits. Finally, besides being more potent, degrader 27 displayed improved plasma exposure levels in mice, representing the best MEK1/2 degrader to date for in vivo studies.