Perturbation of the c-Myc-Max Protein-Protein Interaction via Synthetic α-Helix Mimetics
Journal article, Peer reviewed
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Original versionJournal of Medicinal Chemistry. 2015, 58 (7), 3002-3024. 10.1021/jm501440q
The rational design of inhibitors of the bHLH-ZIP oncoprotein c-Myc is hampered by a lack of structure in its monomeric state. We describe herein the design of novel, low-molecular-weight, synthetic α-helix mimetics that recognize helical c-Myc in its transcriptionally active coiled-coil structure in association with its obligate bHLH-ZIP partner Max. These compounds perturb the heterodimer’s binding to its canonical E-box DNA sequence without causing protein–protein dissociation, heralding a new mechanistic class of “direct” c-Myc inhibitors. In addition to electrophoretic mobility shift assays, this model was corroborated by further biophysical methods, including NMR spectroscopy and surface plasmon resonance. Several compounds demonstrated a 2-fold or greater selectivity for c-Myc–Max heterodimers over Max–Max homodimers with IC50 values as low as 5.6 μM. Finally, these compounds inhibited the proliferation of c-Myc-expressing cell lines in a concentration-dependent manner that correlated with the loss of expression of a c-Myc-dependent reporter plasmid despite the fact that c-Myc–Max heterodimers remained intact.