Bifunctional chemical probes inducing protein-protein interactions

Chiara Maniaci, Alessio Ciulli (Lead / Corresponding author)

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

73 Citations (Scopus)
564 Downloads (Pure)


Inducing biomolecular interactions with synthetic molecules to impact biological function is a concept of enormous appeal. Recent years have seen a resurgence of interest in designing bispecific molecules that serve as bridging agents to bring proteins together. Pioneering structural and biophysical investigation of ternary complexes formed by mono-functional and bifunctional ligands highlights that proximity-induced stabilization or de novo formation of protein–protein interactions is a common feature of their molecular recognition. In this review, we illustrate these concepts and advances with representative case studies, and highlight progress over the past three years, with particular focus on recruitment to E3 ubiquitin ligases by ‘molecular glues’ and chimeric dimerizers (PROTACs) for targeted protein degradation. This approach promises to significantly expand the range of tractable targets for chemical biology and therapeutic intervention.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)145-156
Number of pages12
JournalCurrent Opinion in Chemical Biology
Early online date13 Aug 2019
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2019


  • Protein-protein interactions
  • molecular glues
  • chemical inducers of dimerization
  • chimeric molecules
  • ternary complexes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Analytical Chemistry
  • Biochemistry


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