Carboxyl-terminal binding proteins (CtBPs) are transcription regulators that control gene expression in multiple cellular processes. Our recent findings indicated that overexpression of CtBP2 caused the repression of multiple bone development and differentiation genes, resulting in atrophic nonunion. Therefore, disrupting the CtBP2-associated transcriptional complex with small molecules may be an effective strategy to prevent nonunion. In the present study, we developed an in vitro screening system in yeast cells to identify small molecules capable of disrupting the CtBP2-p300 interaction. Herein, we focus our studies on revealing the in vitro and in vivo effects of a small molecule NSM00158, which showed the strongest inhibition of the CtBP2-p300 interaction in vitro. Our results indicated that NSM00158 could specifically disrupt CtBP2 function and cause the disassociation of the CtBP2-p300-Runx2 complex. The impairment of this complex led to failed binding of Runx2 to its downstream targets, causing their upregulation. Using a mouse fracture model, we evaluated the in vivo effect of NSM00158 on preventing nonunion. Consistent with the in vitro results, the NSM00158 treatment resulted in the upregulation of Runx2 downstream targets. Importantly, we found that the administration of NSM00158 could prevent the occurrence of nonunion. Our results suggest that NSM00158 represents a new potential compound to prevent the occurrence of nonunion by disrupting CtBP2 function and impairing the assembly of the CtBP2-p300-Runx2 transcriptional complex.
Keywords: CtBP2; NSM00158; Runx2; atrophic nonunion; p300.
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