Bicyclic imidazolium inhibitors of Gli transcription factor activity.
Gli transcription factors within the Hedgehog (Hh) signaling pathway direct key events in mammalian development and promote a number of human cancers. Current therapies for Gli-driven tumors target Smoothened (SMO), a G protein-coupled receptor-like protein that functions upstream in the Hh pathway. Although these drugs can have remarkable clinical efficacy, mutations in SMO and downstream Hh pathway components frequently lead to chemoresistance. In principle, therapies that act at the level of Gli proteins, through direct or indirect mechanisms, would be more efficacious. We therefore conducted a screen of 325,120 compounds for their ability to block the constitutive Gli activity induced by loss of Suppressor of Fused (SUFU), a scaffolding protein that directly inhibits Gli function. Our studies reveal a family of bicyclic imidazolium derivatives that can inhibit Gli-dependent transcription without affecting the ciliary trafficking or proteolytic processing of these transcription factors. We anticipate that these chemical antagonists will be valuable tools for investigating the mechanisms of Gli regulation and developing new strategies for targeting Gli-driven cancers.
View details for DOI 10.1002/cmdc.202000169
View details for PubMedID 32268014