Small-molecule allosteric inhibitors of GPX4

Cell Chem Biol. 2022 Dec 15;29(12):1680-1693.e9. doi: 10.1016/j.chembiol.2022.11.003. Epub 2022 Nov 23.


Encouraged by the dependence of drug-resistant, metastatic cancers on GPX4, we examined biophysical mechanisms of GPX4 inhibition, which revealed an unexpected allosteric site. We found that this site was involved in native regeneration of GPX4 under low glutathione conditions. Covalent binding of inhibitors to this allosteric site caused a conformational change, inhibition of activity, and subsequent cellular GPX4 protein degradation. To verify this site in an unbiased manner, we screened a library of compounds and identified and validated that an additional compound can covalently bind in this allosteric site, inhibiting and degrading GPX4. We determined co-crystal structures of six different inhibitors bound in this site. We have thus identified an allosteric mechanism for small molecules targeting aggressive cancers dependent on GPX4.

Keywords: GPX4; allosteric; cancer; cysteine; drug discovery; enzyme; glutathione; inhibitor; peroxidase; small molecule.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Allosteric Site
  • Humans
  • Neoplasms*