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Small Molecule Inhibitors of the Human Histone Lysine Methyltransferase NSD2 / WHSC1 / MMSET Identified from a Quantitative High-Throughput Screen with Nucleosome Substrate

By Nathan P. Coussens, Stephen C. Kales, Mark J. Henderson, Olivia W Lee, Kurumi Y. Horiuchi, Yuren Wang, Qing Chen, Ekaterina Kuznetsova, Jianghong Wu, Dorian M Cheff, Ken Chih-Chien Cheng, Paul Shinn, Kyle R Brimacombe, Min Shen, Anton Simeonov, Haiching Ma, Ajit Jadhav, Matthew D. Hall

Posted 24 Oct 2017
bioRxiv DOI: 10.1101/208439

The activity of the histone lysine methyltransferase NSD2 is thought to play a driving role in oncogenesis. Both overexpression of NSD2 and point mutations that increase its catalytic activity are associated with a variety of human cancers. While NSD2 is an attractive therapeutic target, no potent, selective and cell-active inhibitors have been reported to date, possibly due to the challenging nature of developing high-throughput assays for NSD2. To establish a platform for the discovery and development of selective NSD2 inhibitors, multiple assays were optimized and implemented. Quantitative high-throughput screening was performed with full-length wild-type NSD2 and a nucleosome substrate against a diverse collection of known bioactives comprising 16,251 compounds. Actives from the primary screen were further interrogated with orthogonal and counter assays, as well as activity assays with the clinically relevant NSD2 mutants E1099K and T1150A. Five confirmed inhibitors were selected for follow-up, which included a radiolabeled validation assay, surface plasmon resonance studies, methyltransferase profiling, and histone methylation in cells. The identification of NSD2 inhibitors that bind the catalytic SET domain and demonstrate activity in cells validates the workflow, providing a template for identifying selective NSD2 inhibitors.

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