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ACS Chem Biol. 2014 Feb 21;9(2):517-25. doi: 10.1021/cb4007776. Epub 2013 Dec 9.

Ligands for glaucoma-associated myocilin discovered by a generic binding assay.

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School of Chemistry & Biochemistry, Georgia Institute of Technology , 901 Atlantic Drive NW, Atlanta, Georgia 30332-0400, United States.


Mutations in the olfactomedin domain of myocilin (myoc-OLF) are the strongest link to inherited primary open angle glaucoma. In this recently identified protein misfolding disorder, aggregation-prone disease variants of myocilin hasten glaucoma-associated elevation of intraocular pressure, leading to vision loss. Despite its well-documented pathogenic role, myocilin remains a domain of unknown structure or function. Here we report the first small-molecule ligands that bind to the native state of myoc-OLF. To discover these molecules, we designed a general label-free, mix-and-measure, high throughput chemical assay for restabilization (CARS), which is likely readily adaptable to discover ligands for other proteins. Of the 14 hit molecules identified from screening myoc-OLF against the Sigma-Aldrich Library of Pharmacologically Active Compounds using CARS, surface plasmon resonance binding studies reveal three are stoichiometric ligand scaffolds with low micromolar affinity. Two compounds, GW5074 and apigenin, inhibit myoc-OLF amyloid formation in vitro. Structure-activity relationship-based soluble derivatives reduce aggregation in vitro as well as enhance secretion of full-length mutant myocilin in a cell culture model. Our compounds set the stage for a new chemical probe approach to clarify the biological function of wild-type myocilin and represent lead therapeutic compounds for diminishing intracellular sequestration of toxic mutant myocilin.

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