Mitochondrial Protease Targeting Chimeras for Mitochondrial Matrix Protein Degradation

J Am Chem Soc. 2023 Jun 14;145(23):12861-12869. doi: 10.1021/jacs.3c03756. Epub 2023 Jun 5.


Targeted protein degradation (TPD) is an emerging technique for protein regulation. Currently, all TPD developed in eukaryotic cells relies on either ubiquitin-proteasome or lysosomal systems, thus are powerless against target proteins in membrane organelles lacking proteasomes and lysosomes, such as mitochondria. Here, we developed a mitochondrial protease targeting chimera (MtPTAC) to address this issue. MtPTAC is a bifunctional small molecule that can bind to mitochondrial caseinolytic protease P (ClpP) at one end and target protein at the other. Mechanistically, MtPTAC activates the hydrolase activity of ClpP while simultaneously bringing target proteins into proximity with ClpP. Taking mitochondrial RNA polymerase (POLRMT) as a model protein, we have demonstrated the powerful proteolytic ability and antitumor application prospects of MtPTAC, both in vivo and in vitro. This is the first modularly designed TPD that can specifically hydrolyze target proteins inside mitochondria.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Endopeptidases / metabolism
  • Mitochondria* / metabolism
  • Proteasome Endopeptidase Complex / metabolism
  • Proteins* / metabolism
  • Proteolysis
  • Ubiquitin / metabolism


  • Proteins
  • Proteasome Endopeptidase Complex
  • Ubiquitin
  • Endopeptidases