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J Am Chem Soc. 2018 Mar 28;140(12):4259-4268. doi: 10.1021/jacs.7b11639. Epub 2018 Mar 15.

Small Molecule Interactome Mapping by Photoaffinity Labeling Reveals Binding Site Hotspots for the NSAIDs.

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Department of Chemistry and Chemical Biology , Harvard University , 12 Oxford St. , Cambridge , Massachusetts 02138 , United States.


Many therapeutics elicit cell-type specific polypharmacology that is executed by a network of molecular recognition events between a small molecule and the whole proteome. However, measurement of the structures that underpin the molecular associations between the proteome and even common therapeutics, such as the nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), is limited by the inability to map the small molecule interactome. To address this gap, we developed a platform termed small molecule interactome mapping by photoaffinity labeling (SIM-PAL) and applied it to the in cellulo direct characterization of specific NSAID binding sites. SIM-PAL uses (1) photochemical conjugation of NSAID derivatives in the whole proteome and (2) enrichment and isotope-recoding of the conjugated peptides for (3) targeted mass spectrometry-based assignment. Using SIM-PAL, we identified the NSAID interactome consisting of over 1000 significantly enriched proteins and directly characterized nearly 200 conjugated peptides representing direct binding sites of the photo-NSAIDs with proteins from Jurkat and K562 cells. The enriched proteins were often identified as parts of complexes, including known targets of NSAID activity (e.g., NF-κB) and novel interactions (e.g., AP-2, proteasome). The conjugated peptides revealed direct NSAID binding sites from the cell surface to the nucleus and a specific binding site hotspot for the three photo-NSAIDs on histones H2A and H2B. NSAID binding stabilized COX-2 and histone H2A by cellular thermal shift assay. Since small molecule stabilization of protein complexes is a gain of function regulatory mechanism, it is conceivable that NSAIDs affect biological processes through these broader proteomic interactions. SIM-PAL enabled characterization of NSAID binding site hotspots and is amenable to map global binding sites for virtually any molecule of interest.

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