Human spermine oxidase (hSMOX) plays a central role in polyamine catabolism. Due to its association with several pathological processes, including inflammation and cancer, hSMOX has garnered interest as a possible therapeutic target. Therefore, determination of the structure of hSMOX is an important step to enable drug discovery and validate hSMOX as a drug target. Using insights from hydrogen/deuterium exchange mass spectrometry (HDX-MS), we engineered a hSMOX construct to obtain the first crystal structure of hSMOX bound to the known polyamine oxidase inhibitor MDL72527 at 2.4 Å resolution. While the overall fold of hSMOX is similar to its homolog, murine N1-acetylpolyamine oxidase (mPAOX), the two structures contain significant differences, notably in their substrate-binding domains and active site pockets. Subsequently, we employed a sensitive biochemical assay to conduct a high-throughput screen that identified a potent and selective hSMOX inhibitor, JNJ-1289. The co-crystal structure of hSMOX with JNJ-1289 was determined at 2.1 Å resolution, revealing that JNJ-1289 binds to an allosteric site, providing JNJ-1289 with a high degree of selectivity towards hSMOX. These results provide crucial insights into understanding the substrate specificity and enzymatic mechanism of hSMOX, and for the design of highly selective inhibitors.
© 2022. The Author(s).