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J Biol Chem. 2011 Aug 5;286(31):27751-60. doi: 10.1074/jbc.M111.264903. Epub 2011 Jun 9.

Disruption of Bcr-Abl coiled coil oligomerization by design.

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Department of Pharmaceutics and Pharmaceutical Chemistry, College of Pharmacy, University of Utah, Salt Lake City, Utah 84108, USA.


Oligomerization is an important regulatory mechanism for many proteins, including oncoproteins and other pathogenic proteins. The oncoprotein Bcr-Abl relies on oligomerization via its coiled coil domain for its kinase activity, suggesting that a designed coiled coil domain with enhanced binding to Bcr-Abl and reduced self-oligomerization would be therapeutically useful. Key mutations in the coiled coil domain of Bcr-Abl were identified that reduce homo-oligomerization through intermolecular charge-charge repulsion yet increase interaction with the Bcr-Abl coiled coil through additional salt bridges, resulting in an enhanced ability to disrupt the oligomeric state of Bcr-Abl. The mutations were modeled computationally to optimize the design. Assays performed in vitro confirmed the validity and functionality of the optimal mutations, which were found to exhibit reduced homo-oligomerization and increased binding to the Bcr-Abl coiled coil domain. Introduction of the mutant coiled coil into K562 cells resulted in decreased phosphorylation of Bcr-Abl, reduced cell proliferation, and increased caspase-3/7 activity and DNA segmentation. Importantly, the mutant coiled coil domain was more efficacious than the wild type in all experiments performed. The improved inhibition of Bcr-Abl through oligomeric disruption resulting from this modified coiled coil domain represents a viable alternative to small molecule inhibitors for therapeutic intervention.

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