UBC Faculty Research and Publications

Computer-Aided Discovery of Small Molecule Inhibitors of Transcriptional Activity of TLX (NR2E1) Nuclear Receptor Dueva, Evgenia; Singh, Kriti; Kalyta, Anastasia; LeBlanc, Eric; Rennie, Paul S.; Cherkasov, Artem

Abstract

Orphan nuclear receptor TLX (NR2E1) plays a critical role in the regulation of neural stem cells (NSC) as well as in the development of NSC-derived brain tumors. In the last years, new data have emerged implicating TLX in prostate and breast cancer. Therefore, inhibitors of TLX transcriptional activity may have a significant impact on the treatment of several critical malignancies. However, the TLX protein possesses a non-canonical ligand-binding domain (LBD), which lacks a ligand-binding pocket (conventionally targeted in case of nuclear receptors) that complicates the development of small molecule inhibitors of TLX. Herein, we utilized a rational structure-based design approach to identify small molecules targeting the Atro-box binding site of human TLX LBD. As a result of virtual screening of ~7 million molecular structures, 97 compounds were identified and evaluated in the TLX-responsive luciferase reporter assay. Among those, three chemicals demonstrated 40–50% inhibition of luciferase-detected transcriptional activity of the TLX orphan nuclear receptor at a dose of 35 µM. The identified compounds represent the first class of small molecule inhibitors of TLX transcriptional activity identified via methods of computer-aided drug discovery.

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