Phenotype-based screening can identify small molecules that elicit a desired cellular response, but additional approaches are required to characterize their targets and mechanisms of action. Here, we show that a compound termed LCS3, which selectively impairs the growth of human lung adenocarcinoma (LUAD) cells, induces oxidative stress. To identify the target that mediates this effect, we use thermal proteome profiling (TPP) and uncover the disulfide reductases GSR and TXNRD1 as targets. We confirm through enzymatic assays that LCS3 inhibits disulfide reductase activity through a reversible, uncompetitive mechanism. Further, we demonstrate that LCS3-sensitive LUAD cells are sensitive to the synergistic inhibition of glutathione and thioredoxin pathways. Lastly, a genome-wide CRISPR knockout screen identifies NQO1 loss as a mechanism of LCS3 resistance. This work highlights the ability of TPP to uncover targets of small molecules identified by high-throughput screens and demonstrates the potential therapeutic utility of inhibiting disulfide reductases in LUAD.
Keywords: glutathione; lung cancer; reactive oxygen species; redox homeostasis; small molecule screen; thermal proteome profiling; thioredoxin.
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