Evaluation of acyllysine isostere interactions with the aromatic pocket of the AF9 YEATS domain
Amide−π interactions, in which an amide interacts with an aromatic group, are ubiquitous in biology, yet remain understudied relative to other noncovalent interactions. Recently, we demonstrated that an electrostatically tunable amide−π interaction is key to recognition of histone acyllysine by the AF9 YEATS domain, a reader protein which has emerged as a therapeutic target due to its dysregulation in cancer. Amide isosteres are commonly employed in drug discovery, often to prevent degradation by proteases, and have proven valuable in achieving selectivity when targeting epigenetic proteins. However, like amide−π interactions, interactions of amide isosteres with aromatic rings have not been thoroughly studied despite widespread use. Herein, we evaluate the recognition of a series of amide isosteres by the AF9 YEATS domain using genetic code expansion to evaluate the amide isostere−π interaction. We show that compared to the amide−π interaction with the native ligand, each isostere exhibits similar electrostatic tunability with an aromatic residue in the binding pocket, demonstrating that the isosteres maintain similar interactions with the aromatic residue. We identify a urea-containing ligand that binds with enhanced affinity for the AF9 YEATS domain, offering a promising starting point for inhibitor development. Furthermore, we demonstrate that carbamate and urea isosteres of crotonyllysine are resistant to enzymatic removal by SIRT1, a protein that cleaves acyl post-translational modifications, further indicating the potential of amide isosteres in YEATS domain inhibitor development. These results also provide experimental precedent for interactions of these common drug discovery moieties with aromatic rings that can inform computational methods.
Travis, C. R., Francis, D. Y., Williams, D. C., & Waters, M. L. (2022). Evaluation of acyllysine isostere interactions with the aromatic pocket of the af9 yeats domain. Protein Science, 32(1). https://doi.org/10.1002/pro.4533