Publication — IRIC
Discovery of Benzodiazepine-Based Inhibitors of the E2 Enzyme UBCH10 from a Cell-Based p21 Degradation Screen.
p21Cip1 (p21) is a universal cyclin-dependent kinase (CDK) inhibitor that halts cell proliferation and tumor growth by multiple mechanisms. The expression of p21 is often downregulated in cancer cells as a result of the loss of function of transcriptional activators, such as p53, or the increased degradation rate of the protein. To identify small molecules that block the ubiquitin-mediated degradation of p21 as a future avenue for cancer drug discovery, we have screened a compound library using a cell-based reporter assay of p21 degradation. This led to the identification of a benzodiazepine series of molecules that induce the accumulation of p21 in cells. Using a chemical proteomic strategy, we identified the ubiquitin-conjugating enzyme UBCH10 as a cellular target of this benzodiazepine series. We show that an optimized benzodiazepine analogue inhibits UBCH10 ubiquitin-conjugating activity and substrate proteolysis by the anaphase-promoting complex.