Alessandra Capuano, Gilda D’Urso, Michela Aliberti, Dafne Ruggiero, Stefania Terracciano, Carmen Festa, Alessandra Tosco, Maria Giovanna Chini, Gianluigi Lauro, Giuseppe Bifulco, Agostino Casapullo

Chemoproteomics Reveals USP5 (Ubiquitin Carboxyl-Terminal Hydrolase 5) as Promising Target of the Marine Polyketide Gracilioether A

  • Drug Discovery
  • Pharmacology, Toxicology and Pharmaceutics (miscellaneous)
  • Pharmaceutical Science

Mass spectrometry-based chemical proteomic approaches using limited proteolysis have become a powerful tool for the identification and analysis of the interactions between a small molecule (SM) and its protein target(s). Gracilioether A (GeA) is a polyketide isolated from a marine sponge, for which we aimed to trace the interactome using this strategy. DARTS (Drug Affinity Responsive Target Stability) and t-LiP-MS (targeted-Limited Proteolysis-Mass Spectrometry) represented the main techniques used in this study. DARTS was applied on HeLa cell lysate for the identification of the GeA target proteins, and t-LiP-MS was employed to investigate the protein’s regions involved in the binding with GeA. The results were complemented through the use of binding studies using Surface Plasmon Resonance (SPR) and in silico molecular docking experiments. Ubiquitin carboxyl-terminal hydrolase 5 (USP5) was identified as a promising target of GeA, and the interaction profile of the USP5-GeA complex was explained. USP5 is an enzyme involved in the pathway of protein metabolism through the disassembly of the polyubiquitin chains on degraded proteins into ubiquitin monomers. This activity is connected to different cellular functions concerning the maintenance of chromatin structure and receptors and the degradation of abnormal proteins and cancerogenic progression. On this basis, this structural information opens the way to following studies focused on the definition of the biological potential of Gracilioether A and the rational development of novel USP5 inhibitors based on a new structural skeleton.

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