Development of a small molecule that corrects misfolding and increases secretion of Z α1-antitrypsin
David A. Lomas,
James A. Irving,
Duncan S. Holmes,
Jonathan P. Hutchinson,
Stefan J. Marciniak,
Kathrine J. Smith,
Andrew C Pearce
Posted 28 Jul 2020
bioRxiv DOI: 10.1101/2020.07.26.217661
Posted 28 Jul 2020
Severe α1-antitrypsin deficiency results from the Z allele (Glu342Lys) that causes the accumulation of homopolymers of mutant α1-antitrypsin within the endoplasmic reticulum of hepatocytes in association with liver disease. We have used a DNA-encoded chemical library to undertake a high throughput screen to identify small molecules that bind to, and stabilise Z α1-antitrypsin. The lead compound blocks Z α1-antitrypsin polymerisation in vitro, reduces intracellular polymerisation and increases the secretion of Z α1-antitrypsin three-fold in mammalian cells including an iPSC model of disease. Crystallographic and biophysical analyses demonstrate that GSK716 and related molecules bind to a cryptic binding pocket, negate the local effects of the Z mutation and stabilise the bound state against progression along the polymerization pathway. Oral dosing of transgenic mice at 100 mg/kg three times a day for 20 days increased the secretion of Z α1-antitrypsin into the plasma by 7-fold. There was no observable clearance of hepatic inclusions with respect to controls. This study provides proof-of-principle that 'mutation ameliorating' small molecules are a viable approach to treat protein conformational diseases. ### Competing Interest Statement Kate Smith, Alexis Denis, Nerina Dodic, John Liddle and David Lomas are inventors on patent PCT/GB2019/051761. All the intellectual property has been transferred from GlaxoSmithKline to UCL Business who have licenced it to a third party.
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