Discovery of XL01126: A Potent, Fast, Cooperative, Selective, Orally Bioavailable, and Blood-Brain Barrier Penetrant PROTAC Degrader of Leucine-Rich Repeat Kinase 2

Xingui Liu, Alexia F. Kalogeropulou, Sofia Domingos, Nikolai Makukhin, Raja Nirujogi, Francois Singh, Natalia Shpiro, Anton Saalfrank, Esther Sammler, Ian G. Ganley, Rui Moreira, Dario R. Alessi (Lead / Corresponding author), Alessio Ciulli (Lead / Corresponding author)

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Abstract

Leucine-rich repeat kinase 2 (LRRK2) is one of the most promising targets for Parkinson’s disease. LRRK2-targeting strategies have primarily focused on type 1 kinase inhibitors, which, however, have limitations as the inhibited protein can interfere with natural mechanisms, which could lead to undesirable side effects. Herein, we report the development of LRRK2 proteolysis targeting chimeras (PROTACs), culminating in the discovery of degrader XL01126, as an alternative LRRK2-targeting strategy. Initial designs and screens of PROTACs based on ligands for E3 ligases von Hippel–Lindau (VHL), Cereblon (CRBN), and cellular inhibitor of apoptosis (cIAP) identified the best degraders containing thioether-conjugated VHL ligand VH101. A second round of medicinal chemistry exploration led to qualifying XL01126 as a fast and potent degrader of LRRK2 in multiple cell lines, with DC50 values within 15–72 nM, Dmax values ranging from 82 to 90%, and degradation half-lives spanning from 0.6 to 2.4 h. XL01126 exhibits high cell permeability and forms a positively cooperative ternary complex with VHL and LRRK2 (α = 5.7), which compensates for a substantial loss of binary binding affinities to VHL and LRRK2, underscoring its strong degradation performance in cells. Remarkably, XL01126 is orally bioavailable (F = 15%) and can penetrate the blood–brain barrier after either oral or parenteral dosing in mice. Taken together, these experiments qualify XL01126 as a suitable degrader probe to study the noncatalytic and scaffolding functions of LRRK2 in vitro and in vivo and offer an attractive starting point for future drug development.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)16930-16952
Number of pages23
JournalJournal of the American Chemical Society
Volume144
Issue number37
Early online date25 Aug 2022
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 21 Sept 2022

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