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Re-Evaluating the Mechanism of Action of α,β-Unsaturated Carbonyl DUB Inhibitors b‑AP15 and VLX1570: A Paradigmatic Example of Unspecific Protein Cross-linking with Michael Acceptor Motif-Containing Drugs

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journal contribution
posted on 19.03.2020, 14:43 by Jennifer A. Ward, Adan Pinto-Fernandez, Loïc Cornelissen, Sarah Bonham, Laura Díaz-Sáez, Olivier Riant, Kilian V. M. Huber, Benedikt M. Kessler, Olivier Feron, Edward W. Tate
Deubiquitinating enzymes (DUBs) are a growing target class across multiple disease states, with several inhibitors now reported. b-AP15 and VLX1570 are two structurally related USP14/UCH-37 inhibitors. Through a proteomic approach, we demonstrate that these compounds target a diverse range of proteins, resulting in the formation of higher molecular weight (MW) complexes. Activity-based proteome profiling identified CIAPIN1 as a submicromolar covalent target of VLX1570, and further analysis demonstrated that high MW complex formation leads to aggregation of CIAPIN1 in intact cells. Our results suggest that in addition to DUB inhibition, these compounds induce nonspecific protein aggregation, providing molecular explanation for general cellular toxicity.