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J Biol Chem. 2007 May 4;282(18):13395-401. Epub 2007 Mar 9.

The rapamycin-binding domain of the protein kinase mammalian target of rapamycin is a destabilizing domain.

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Department of Chemistry, Stanford University, Stanford, California 94305, USA.


Rapamycin is an immunosuppressive drug that binds simultaneously to the 12-kDa FK506- and rapamycin-binding protein (FKBP12, or FKBP) and the FKBP-rapamycin binding (FRB) domain of the mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR) kinase. The resulting ternary complex has been used to conditionally perturb protein function, and one such method involves perturbation of a protein of interest through its mislocalization. We synthesized two rapamycin derivatives that possess large substituents at the C-16 position within the FRB-binding interface, and these derivatives were screened against a library of FRB mutants using a three-hybrid assay in Saccharomyces cerevisiae. Several FRB mutants responded to one of the rapamycin derivatives, and twenty of these mutants were further characterized in mammalian cells. The mutants most responsive to the ligand were fused to yellow fluorescent protein, and fluorescence levels in the presence and absence of the ligand were measured to determine stability of the fusion proteins. Wild-type and mutant FRB domains were expressed at low levels in the absence of the rapamycin derivative, and expression levels rose up to 10-fold upon treatment with ligand. The synthetic rapamycin derivatives were further analyzed using quantitative mass spectrometry, and one of the compounds was found to contain contaminating rapamycin. Furthermore, uncontaminated analogs retained the ability to inhibit mTOR, although with diminished potency relative to rapamycin. The ligand-dependent stability displayed by wild-type FRB and FRB mutants as well as the inhibitory potential and purity of the rapamycin derivatives should be considered as potentially confounding experimental variables when using these systems.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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