Chemoproteomic Profiling by Cysteine Fluoroalkylation Reveals Myrocin G as an Inhibitor of the Nonhomologous End Joining DNA Repair Pathway

Daniel Abegg, Martin Tomanik, Nan Qiu, Dany Pechalrieu, Anton Shuster, Bruno Commare, Antonio Togni, Seth B. Herzon, Alexander Adibekian

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Chemoproteomic profiling of cysteines has emerged as a powerful method for screening the proteome-wide targets of cysteine-reactive fragments, drugs, and natural products. Herein, we report the development and an in-depth evaluation of a tetrafluoroalkyl benziodoxole (TFBX) as a cysteine-selective chemoproteomic probe. We show that this probe features numerous key improvements compared to the traditionally used cysteine-reactive probes, including a superior target occupancy, faster labeling kinetics, and broader proteomic coverage, thus enabling profiling of cysteines directly in live cells. In addition, the fluorine "signature"of probe 7 constitutes an additional advantage resulting in a more confident adduct-amino acid site assignment in mass-spectrometry-based identification workflows. We demonstrate the utility of our new probe for proteome-wide target profiling by identifying the cellular targets of (-)-myrocin G, an antiproliferative fungal natural product with a to-date unknown mechanism of action. We show that this natural product and a simplified analogue target the X-ray repair cross-complementing protein 5 (XRCC5), an ATP-dependent DNA helicase that primes DNA repair machinery for nonhomologous end joining (NHEJ) upon DNA double-strand breaks, making them the first reported inhibitors of this biomedically highly important protein. We further demonstrate that myrocins disrupt the interaction of XRCC5 with DNA leading to sensitization of cancer cells to the chemotherapeutic agent etoposide as well as UV-light-induced DNA damage. Altogether, our next-generation cysteine-reactive probe enables broader and deeper profiling of the cysteinome, rendering it a highly attractive tool for elucidation of targets of electrophilic small molecules.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)20332-20342
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of the American Chemical Society
Issue number48
StatePublished - Dec 8 2021

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Catalysis
  • General Chemistry
  • Biochemistry
  • Colloid and Surface Chemistry


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