Reversible Covalent Imine-Tethering for Selective Stabilization of 14-3-3 Hub Protein Interactions

Peter J Cossar, Madita Wolter, Lars van Dijck, Dario Valenti, Laura M. Levy, Christian Ottmann (Corresponding author), Luc Brunsveld (Corresponding author)

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

22 Citations (Scopus)


The stabilization of protein complexes has emerged as a promising modality, expanding the number of entry points for novel therapeutic intervention. Targeting proteins that mediate protein-protein interactions (PPIs), such as hub proteins, is equally challenging and rewarding as they offer an intervention platform for a variety of diseases, due to their large interactome. 14-3-3 hub proteins bind phosphorylated motifs of their interaction partners in a conserved binding channel. The 14-3-3 PPI interface is consequently only diversified by its different interaction partners. Therefore, it is essential to consider, additionally to the potency, also the selectivity of stabilizer molecules. Targeting a lysine residue at the interface of the composite 14-3-3 complex, which can be targeted explicitly via aldimine-forming fragments, we studied the de novo design of PPI stabilizers under consideration of potential selectivity. By applying cooperativity analysis of ternary complex formation, we developed a reversible covalent molecular glue for the 14-3-3/Pin1 interaction. This small fragment led to a more than 250-fold stabilization of the 14-3-3/Pin1 interaction by selective interfacing with a unique tryptophan in Pin1. This study illustrates how cooperative complex formation drives selective PPI stabilization. Further, it highlights how specific interactions within a hub proteins interactome can be stabilized over other interactions with a common binding motif.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)8454-8464
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of the American Chemical Society
Issue number22
Early online date28 May 2021
Publication statusPublished - 9 Jun 2021


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