Selective modification of CaaX peptides with ortho-substituted anilinogeranyl lipids by protein farnesyl transferase: competitive substrates and potent inhibitors from a library of farnesyl diphosphate analogues

Biochemistry. 2007 Oct 9;46(40):11310-21. doi: 10.1021/bi700516m. Epub 2007 Sep 14.


Protein farnesyl transferase (FTase) catalyzes transfer of a 15-carbon farnesyl group from farnesyl diphosphate (FPP) to a conserved cysteine in the C-terminal Ca1a2X motif of a range of proteins ("C" refers to the cysteine, "a" to any aliphatic amino acid, and "X" to any amino acid), and the lipid chain interacts with, and forms part of, the Ca1a2X peptide binding site. Here, we employed a library of anilinogeranyl diphosphate (AGPP) derivatives to examine whether altering the interacting surface between the two substrates could be exploited to generate Ca1a2X peptide selective FPP analogues. Analysis of transfer kinetics to dansyl-GCVLS peptide revealed that AGPP analogues with substituents smaller than or equal in size to a thiomethyl group supported FTase function, while analogues with larger substituents did not. Analogues with small meta-substitutions on the aniline ring such as iodo and cyano increased reactivity with dansyl-GCVLS and provided analogues that were effective FPP competitors. Other analogues with ortho-substitutions on the aniline were potent dansyl-GCVLS modification FTase inhibitors (Ki in the 2.4-18 nM range). Both meta- and para-trifluoromethoxy-AGPP are transferred to dansyl-GCVLS while the ortho-substituted isomer was a potent farnesyl transferase inhibitor (FTI) with an inhibition constant Ki = 3.0 nM. In contrast, ortho-trifluoromethoxy-AGPP was efficiently transferred to dansyl-GCVIM. Competition for dansyl-GCVLS and dansyl-GCVIM peptides by FPP and ortho-trifluoromethoxy-AGPP gave both analogue and farnesyl modified dansyl-GCVIM but only farnesylated dansyl-GCVLS. We provide evidence that competitive modification of dansyl-GCVIM by ortho-trifluoromethoxy-AGPP stems from a prechemical step discrimination between the competing peptides by the FTase-analogue complex. These results show that subtle changes engineered into the isoprenoid structure can alter the reactivity and FPP competitiveness of the analogues, which may be important for the development of prenylated protein function inhibitors.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Alkyl and Aryl Transferases / chemistry
  • Alkyl and Aryl Transferases / metabolism*
  • Binding Sites
  • Chromatography, High Pressure Liquid
  • Kinetics
  • Models, Biological
  • Oligopeptides / chemistry
  • Oligopeptides / metabolism*
  • Peptides / chemistry
  • Peptides / metabolism
  • Polyisoprenyl Phosphates / chemistry
  • Polyisoprenyl Phosphates / metabolism*
  • Sesquiterpenes / chemistry
  • Sesquiterpenes / metabolism*
  • Substrate Specificity
  • Terpenes / chemistry
  • Terpenes / metabolism


  • (1-N-biotinyl-(13-N-succinimidyl-((E,E-farnesyl)-cysteinyl)-valinyl-isoleucinyl-alanine))-4,7,10-trioxatridecanediamine
  • Oligopeptides
  • Peptides
  • Polyisoprenyl Phosphates
  • Sesquiterpenes
  • Terpenes
  • farnesyl pyrophosphate
  • Alkyl and Aryl Transferases
  • p21(ras) farnesyl-protein transferase