Discovery of hit compounds for methyl-lysine reader proteins from a target class DNA-encoded library

SLAS Discov. 2022 Dec;27(8):428-439. doi: 10.1016/j.slasd.2022.10.003. Epub 2022 Oct 19.


Methyl-lysine (Kme) reader domains are prevalent in chromatin regulatory proteins which bind post-translational modification sites to recruit repressive and activating factors; therefore, these proteins play crucial roles in cellular signaling and epigenetic regulation. Proteins that contain Kme domains are implicated in various diseases, including cancer, making them attractive therapeutic targets for drug and chemical probe discovery. Herein, we report on expanding the utility of a previously reported, Kme-focused DNA-encoded library (DEL), UNCDEL003, as a screening tool for hit discovery through the specific targeting of Kme reader proteins. As an efficient method for library generation, focused DELs are designed based on structural and functional features of a specific class of proteins with the intent of novel hit discovery. To broadly assess the applicability of our library, UNCDEL003 was screened against five diverse Kme reader protein domains (53BP1 TTD, KDM7B JmjC-PHD, CDYL2 CD, CBX2 CD, and LEDGF PWWP) with varying structures and functions. From these screening efforts, we identified hit compounds which contain unique chemical scaffolds distinct from previously reported ligands. The selected hit compounds were synthesized off-DNA and confirmed using primary and secondary assays and assessed for binding selectivity. Hit compounds from these efforts can serve as starting points for additional development and optimization into chemical probes to aid in further understanding the functionality of these therapeutically relevant proteins.

Keywords: Chromatin; DNA-encoded library; Hit discovery; Methyl-lysine; Reader protein; Target class.