Oligomeric remodelling by molecular glues revealed using native mass spectrometry and mass photometry


Molecular glues stabilize interactions between E3 ligases and novel substrates to promote substrate degradation, thereby facilitating the inhibition of traditionally undruggable protein targets. However, most known molecular glues have been discovered fortuitously or are based on well-established chemical scaffolds. Efficient approaches for discovering and characterising the effects of molecular glues on protein interactions are required to accelerate the discovery of novel agents. Here, we demonstrate that native mass spectrometry and mass photometry can provide unique insights into the physical mechanism of molecular glues, revealing previously unknown effects of such small molecules on the oligomeric organization of E3 ligases. When compared to well-established solution phase assays, native mass spectrometry provides accurate quantitative descriptions of molecular glue potency and efficacy while also enabling the binding specificity of E3 ligases to be determined in a single, rapid measurement. Such mechanistic insights should accelerate the rational development of molecular glues to afford powerful therapeutic agents.


Supplementary material

Supporting Information
Additional native mass spectrometry and mass photometry specta and data, and methods for protein expression and purification.