MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are a family of small noncoding RNAs that regulate gene expression. Due to their important activity in the fine-tuning of protein translation, abnormal expression of miRNAs has been linked to many human diseases, making the targeting of miRNAs attractive as a novel therapeutic strategy. Accordingly, researchers have been heavily engaged in the discovery of small molecule modulators of miRNAs. With an interest in the identification of new chemical space for targeting miRNAs, we developed a high-throughput screening (HTS) technology, catalytic enzyme-linked click chemistry assay (cat-ELCCA), aimed at the discovery of small molecule ligands for pre-miR-21, a miRNA that is frequently overexpressed in human cancers. From our HTS campaign, we found that natural products, a source of many impactful human medicines, may be a promising source of potential pre-miR-21-selective maturation inhibitors. Herein we describe our first efforts in natural product inhibitor discovery leading to the identification of a depsipeptide class of natural products as RNA-binding inhibitors of Dicer-mediated miRNA processing.
Robertson, A. W., Sandoval, J., Mohamed, O. G., Zhuang, Y., Gallagher, E. E., Schmidt, J., … Tripathi, A. (2021). Discovery of Surfactins as Inhibitors of MicroRNA Processing Using Cat-ELCCA. ACS Medicinal Chemistry Letters, 12(6), 878–886. https://doi.org/10.1021/acsmedchemlett.1c00046