The development of small molecules that inhibit protein-protein interactions continues to be a challenge in chemical biology and drug discovery. Herein we report the development of indole-based fragments that bind in a shallow surface pocket of a humanised surrogate of RAD51. RAD51 is an ATP-dependent recombinase that plays a key role in the repair of double-strand DNA breaks. It both self-associates, forming filament structures with DNA, and interacts with the BRCA2 protein through a common "FxxA" tetrapeptide motif. We elaborated previously identified fragment hits that target the FxxA motif site and developed small-molecule inhibitors that are approximately 500-fold more potent than the initial fragments. The lead compounds were shown to compete with the BRCA2-derived Ac-FHTA-NH2 peptide and the self-association peptide of RAD51, but they had no effect on ATP binding. This study is the first reported elaboration of small-molecular-weight fragments against this challenging target.
Keywords: BRCA2; RAD51; biophysics; homologous recombination; inhibitors; protein-protein interactions.
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