Development of a potent Bcl-xL antagonist based on α-helix mimicry

Olaf Kutzki, Hyung Soon Park, Justin T. Ernst, Brendan P. Orner, Hang Yin, Andrew D. Hamilton

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The rational design of low-molecular weight ligands that disrupt protein-protein interactions is still a challenging goal in medicinal chemistry. Our approach to this problem involves the design of molecular scaffolds that mimic the surface functionality projected along one face of an α-helix. Using a terphenyl scaffold, which in a staggered conformation closely reproduces the projection of functionality on the surface of an α-helix, we designed mimics of the pro-apoptotic α-helical Bak-peptide as inhibitors of the Bak/Bcl-xL interaction. This led to the development of a potent Bcl-xL antagonist (KD = 114 nM), whose binding affinity for Bcl-xL was assessed by a fluorescence polarization assay. To determine the binding site of the developed inhibitor we used docking studies and an HSQC-NMR experiment with 15N-labeled Bcl-xL protein. These studies suggest that the inhibitor is binding in the same hydrophobic cleft as the Bak- and Bad-peptides.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)11838-11839
Number of pages2
JournalJournal of the American Chemical Society
Issue number40
StatePublished - Oct 9 2002

ASJC Scopus subject areas

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


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