Covalent Modulators of the Vacuolar ATPase

J Am Chem Soc. 2017 Jan 18;139(2):639-642. doi: 10.1021/jacs.6b12511. Epub 2016 Dec 30.


The vacuolar H+ ATPase (V-ATPase) is a complex multisubunit machine that regulates important cellular processes through controlling acidity of intracellular compartments in eukaryotes. Existing small-molecule modulators of V-ATPase either are restricted to targeting one membranous subunit of V-ATPase or have poorly understood mechanisms of action. Small molecules with novel and defined mechanisms of inhibition are thus needed to functionally characterize V-ATPase and to fully evaluate the therapeutic relevance of V-ATPase in human diseases. We have discovered electrophilic quinazolines that covalently modify a soluble catalytic subunit of V-ATPase with high potency and exquisite proteomic selectivity as revealed by fluorescence imaging and chemical proteomic activity-based profiling. The site of covalent modification was mapped to a cysteine residue located in a region of V-ATPase subunit A that is thought to regulate the dissociation of V-ATPase. We further demonstrate that a previously reported V-ATPase inhibitor, 3-bromopyruvate, also targets the same cysteine residue and that our electrophilic quinazolines modulate the function of V-ATPase in cells. With their well-defined mechanism of action and high proteomic specificity, the described quinazolines offer a powerful set of chemical probes to investigate the physiological and pathological roles of V-ATPase.

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

  • Models, Biological*
  • Molecular Structure
  • Small Molecule Libraries / chemistry*
  • Vacuolar Proton-Translocating ATPases / chemistry*
  • Vacuolar Proton-Translocating ATPases / metabolism


  • Small Molecule Libraries
  • Vacuolar Proton-Translocating ATPases