A miniaturized mode-of-action profiling platform enables high throughput characterization of the molecular and cellular dynamics of EZH2 inhibition

Sci Rep. 2024 Jan 19;14(1):1739. doi: 10.1038/s41598-023-50964-x.


The market approval of Tazemetostat (TAZVERIK) for the treatment of follicular lymphoma and epithelioid sarcoma has established "enhancer of zeste homolog 2" (EZH2) as therapeutic target in oncology. Despite their structural similarities and common mode of inhibition, Tazemetostat and other EZH2 inhibitors display differentiated pharmacological profiles based on their target residence time. Here we established high throughput screening methods based on time-resolved fluorescence energy transfer, scintillation proximity and high content analysis microscopy to quantify the biochemical and cellular binding of a chemically diverse collection of EZH2 inhibitors. These assays allowed to further characterize the interplay between EZH2 allosteric modulation by methylated histone tails (H3K27me3) and inhibitor binding, and to evaluate the impact of EZH2's clinically relevant mutant Y641N on drug target residence times. While all compounds in this study exhibited slower off-rates, those with clinical candidate status display significantly slower target residence times in wild type EZH2 and disease-related mutants. These inhibitors interact in a more entropy-driven fashion and show the most persistent effects in cellular washout and antiproliferative efficacy experiments. Our work provides mechanistic insights for the largest cohort of EZH2 inhibitors reported to date, demonstrating that-among several other binding parameters-target residence time is the best predictor of cellular efficacy.

MeSH terms

  • Benzamides
  • Biphenyl Compounds
  • Enhancer of Zeste Homolog 2 Protein* / antagonists & inhibitors
  • Enhancer of Zeste Homolog 2 Protein* / metabolism
  • Enzyme Inhibitors / pharmacology
  • Enzyme Inhibitors / therapeutic use
  • Humans
  • Morpholines
  • Pyridones* / therapeutic use


  • Benzamides
  • Biphenyl Compounds
  • Enhancer of Zeste Homolog 2 Protein
  • Enzyme Inhibitors
  • EZH2 protein, human
  • Morpholines
  • Pyridones
  • tazemetostat