Link to Pubmed [PMID] – 31953259
Link to DOI – 10.1073/pnas.1915531117
Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 2020 02; 117(5): 2683-2686
Transcription factors (TFs) are fundamental in the regulation of gene expression in the development and differentiation of cells. They may act as oncogenes and when overexpressed in tumors become plausible targets for the design of antitumor agents. Homodimerization or heterodimerization of TFs are required for DNA binding and the association interface between subunits, for the design of allosteric modulators, appears as a privileged structure for the pharmacophore-based computational strategy. Based on this strategy, a set of compounds were earlier identified as potential suppressors of OLIG2 dimerization and found to inhibit tumor growth in a mouse glioblastoma cell line and in a whole-animal study. To investigate whether the antitumor activity is due to the predicted mechanism of action, we undertook a study of OLIG2 dimerization using fluorescence cross-correlation spectroscopy (FCCS) of live HEK cells transfected with 2 spectrally different OLIG2 clones. The selected compounds showed an effect with potency, which correlated with the earlier observed antitumor activity. The OLIG2 proteins showed change in diffusion time under compound treatment in line with dissociation from DNA. The data suggest a general approach of drug discovery based on the design of allosteric modulators of protein-protein interaction.