Binding Modes of Small-Molecule Inhibitors to the EED Pocket of PRC2

Dading Huang, Shuaizhen Tian, Yifei Qi, John Z.H. Zhang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Polycomb Polycomb repressive complex 2 (PRC2) plays a key role in silencing epigenetic gene through trimethylation of lysine 27 on histone 3 (H3K27). Dysregulations of PRC2 caused by overexpression and mutations of the core subunits of PRC2 have been implicated in many cancers. The core subunits EZH1/2 are histone-lysine N-methyltransferases that function as the enzymatic component of PRC2. While the core subunit EED is a scaffolding protein to support EZH1/2 and binds JARID2K116me3/H3K27me3 to enhance the enzymatic activity of PRC2 through allosteric activation. Recently, several small molecules that compete with JARI2K116me3 and H3K27me3 have been reported. These molecules selectively bind to the JARID2K116me3/H3K27me3-binding pocket of EED, thereby preventing the allosteric regulation of PRC2. These first-in-class PRC2 inhibitors show robust suppression in DLBCL cell lines, demonstrating anticancer drugs that target the EED subunit of PRC2 are viable. In this study, we used the recently developed MM/GBSA_IE and the alanine scanning method to analyze the hot spots in EED/inhibitor interactions. The analysis of these hot and warm spots helps us to understand the fundamental differences between inhibitors. Our results give a quantitative explanation on why the binding affinities of EED/A-395 interactions are stronger than that of EED/EED226 while their binding modes are similar and provide valuable insights for rational design of novel EED inhibitors.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)263-271
Number of pages9
Issue number3
StatePublished - Feb 4 2020


  • EED
  • computational alanine scanning
  • hot spots
  • interaction entropy
  • protein-ligand interactions

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Atomic and Molecular Physics, and Optics
  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry


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