Targeting YAP/TAZ-TEAD protein-protein interactions using fragment-based and computational modeling approaches

The Hippo signaling pathway, which is implicated in the regulation of organ size, has emerged as a potential target for the development of cancer therapeutics. YAP, TAZ (transcription co-activators) and TEAD (transcription factor) are the downstream transcriptional machinery and effectors of the pathway. Formation of the YAP/TAZ-TEAD complex leads to transcription of growth-promoting genes. Conversely, disrupting the interactions of the complex decreases cell proliferation. Herein, we screened a 1000-member fragment library using Thermal Shift Assay and identified a hit fragment. We confirmed its binding at the YAP/TAZ-TEAD interface by X-ray crystallography, and showed that it occupies the same hydrophobic pocket as a conserved phenylalanine of YAP/TAZ. This hit fragment serves as a scaffold for the development of compounds that have the potential to disrupt YAP/TAZ-TEAD interactions. Structure-activity relationship studies and computational modeling were also carried out to identify more potent compounds that may bind at this validated druggable binding site.

Journal Paper
PLoS One, 2017 Jun 1, doi: org/10.1371/journal.pone.0178381
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