Small-molecule allosteric inhibitors of BAX

Thomas P. Garner, Dulguun Amgalan, Denis E. Reyna, Sheng Li, Richard N. Kitsis, Evripidis Gavathiotis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Scopus citations

Abstract

BAX is a critical effector of the mitochondrial cell death pathway in response to a diverse range of stimuli in physiological and disease contexts. Upon binding by BH3-only proteins, cytosolic BAX undergoes conformational activation and translocation, resulting in mitochondrial outer-membrane permeabilization. Efforts to rationally target BAX and develop inhibitors have been elusive, despite the clear therapeutic potential of inhibiting BAX-mediated cell death in a host of diseases. Here, we describe a class of small-molecule BAX inhibitors, termed BAIs, that bind directly to a previously unrecognized pocket and allosterically inhibit BAX activation. BAI binding around the hydrophobic helix α5 using hydrophobic and hydrogen bonding interactions stabilizes key areas of the hydrophobic core. BAIs inhibit conformational events in BAX activation that prevent BAX mitochondrial translocation and oligomerization. Our data highlight a novel paradigm for effective and selective pharmacological targeting of BAX to enable rational development of inhibitors of BAX-mediated cell death.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)322-330
Number of pages9
JournalNature Chemical Biology
Volume15
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Apr 1 2019

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'Small-molecule allosteric inhibitors of BAX'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this