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Inhibiting Ferroptosis through Disrupting the NCOA4–FTH1 Interaction: A New Mechanism of Action

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journal contribution
posted on 06.05.2021, 20:47 by Yuying Fang, Xiucai Chen, Qingyun Tan, Huihao Zhou, Jun Xu, Qiong Gu
Ferroptosis is an iron-dependent form of oxidative cell death, and the inhibition of ferroptosis is a promising strategy with which to prevent and treat neurological diseases. Herein we report a new ferroptosis inhibitor 9a with a novel mechanism of action. It is demonstrated that nuclear receptor coactivator 4 (NCOA4), a cargo receptor for ferritinophagy, is the target of 9a. Compound 9a blocks ferroptosis by reducing the amount of bioavailable intracellular ferrous iron through disrupting the NCOA4–FTH1 protein–protein interaction. Further studies indicate that 9a directly binds to recombinant protein NCOA4383–522 and effectively blocks the NCOA4383–522–FTH1 interaction. In a rat model of ischemic stroke, 9a significantly ameliorates the ischemic-refusion injury. With the first ligand 9a, this work reveals that NCOA4 is a promising drug target. Additionally, 9a is the first NCOA4–FTH1 interaction inhibitor. This work paves a new road to the development of ferroptosis inhibitors against neurological diseases.