Structure-Based Design of a New Scaffold for Cell-Penetrating Peptidic Inhibitors of the Histone Demethylase PHF8

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Jerzy Dorosz, Lars Olsen, Signe Teuber Seger, Cornelia Steinhauer, Giorgos Bouras, Charlotte Helgstrand, Anders Wiuf, Michael Gajhede

The histone demethylase PHF8 catalyzes demethylation of mono- and di-methylated Lys9 on histone H3 (H3K9me1/2), and is a transcriptional activator involved in the development and cancer. Affinity and specificity of PHF8 towards H3K9me2 is affected by interaction with both the catalytic domain and a PHD reader domain. The latter specifically recognizes tri-methylated Ly4 on histone H3. A fragment of the histone H3 tail with tri-methylated Lys4 was used as a template for the structure-based design of a cyclic, cell-penetrating peptide that exhibits micromolar binding affinity to PHF8 in biochemical assays. The inhibitor has significantly lower affinity towards KDM2 enzymes (the phylogenetically closest subfamily), and to KDM3 and KDM6 subfamilies. Selectivity is only marginal towards an enzyme from the KDM4 family, which shares histone tail specificity with PHF8. It is a substrate of KDM5B, thus implying that the free N terminus is not part of the KDM5 enzyme substrate recognition machinery. The cyclic peptide's ability to penetrate cells is achieved by incorporation of a sequence derived from HIV Tat. The derived cyclic peptide can be used as a starting compound in the search for potent and selective PHF8 inhibitors.

Original languageEnglish
JournalChemBioChem
Volume18
Issue number14
Pages (from-to)1369-1375
Number of pages7
ISSN1439-4227
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 18 Jul 2017

    Research areas

  • cyclic peptide, epigenetics, histone demethylase, inhibitors, peptides, PHF8

ID: 185503838