Ternary Complex-Templated Dynamic Combinatorial Chemistry for the Selection and Identification of Homo-PROTACs

09 April 2024, Version 2
This content is a preprint and has not undergone peer review at the time of posting.


Dynamic combinatorial chemistry (DCC) leverages a reversible reaction to generate compound libraries from constituting building blocks under thermodynamic control. The position of this equilibrium can be biased by addition of a target macromolecule towards enrichment of bound ligands. While DCC has been applied to select ligands for a single target protein, its application to identifying chimeric molecules inducing proximity between two proteins is unprecedented. In this proof-of-concept study, we develop a DCC approach to select bifunctional proteolysis targeting chimeras (PROTACs) based on their ability to stabilize the ternary complex. We focus on VHL-targeting Homo-PROTACs as model system, and show that the formation of a VHL2:Homo-PROTAC ternary complex reversibly assembled using thiol-disulfide exchange chemistry leads to amplification of potent VHL Homo-PROTACs with degradation activities which correlated well with their biophysical ability to dimerize VHL. Ternary complex templated dynamic combinatorial libraries allowed identification of novel Homo-PROTAC degraders. We anticipate future applications of ternary-complex directed DCC to early PROTAC screenings and expansion to other proximity-inducing modalities beyond PROTACs.


dynamic combinatorial chemistry
targeted protein degradation
assay development
thiol-disulfide exchange

Supplementary materials

Supporting Information
Supporting information including additional figures and schemes, general experimental details and synthetic protocols and characterization data are provided in a separate file.


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