Scott received his B.S. in Chemistry from the University of Sheffield in the summer of 2013. As part of his bachelor’s degree he worked for AstraZeneca from Sept 2011 – Aug 2012 as an organic synthetic chemist. In 2019 he earned his Ph.D. in Chemical Biology from Imperial College London where he worked with Prof. Edward Tate. His thesis focused on developing covalent inhibitors for KLK proteases to decipher their role in prostate cancer progression. Having joined the Bogyo lab in October 2019, Scott now works on developing selective inhibitors and substrates for serine hydrolases in cancer and pathogenic bacteria by using diverse chemical libraries and phage-display approaches.
Matthew Bogyo, Postdoctoral Faculty Sponsor
Challenges for Targeting SARS-CoV-2 Proteases as a Therapeutic Strategy for COVID-19.
ACS infectious diseases
Two proteases produced by the SARS-CoV-2 virus, the main protease and papain-like protease, are essential for viral replication and have become the focus of drug development programs for treatment of COVID-19. We screened a highly focused library of compounds containing covalent warheads designed to target cysteine proteases to identify new lead scaffolds for both Mpro and PLpro proteases. These efforts identified a small number of hits for the Mpro protease and no viable hits for the PLpro protease. Of the Mpro hits identified as inhibitors of the purified recombinant protease, only two compounds inhibited viral infectivity in cellular infection assays. However, we observed a substantial drop in antiviral potency upon expression of TMPRSS2, a transmembrane serine protease that acts in an alternative viral entry pathway to the lysosomal cathepsins. This loss of potency is explained by the fact that our lead Mpro inhibitors are also potent inhibitors of host cell cysteine cathepsins. To determine if this is a general property of Mpro inhibitors, we evaluated several recently reported compounds and found that they are also effective inhibitors of purified human cathepsins L and B and showed similar loss in activity in cells expressing TMPRSS2. Our results highlight the challenges of targeting Mpro and PLpro proteases and demonstrate the need to carefully assess selectivity of SARS-CoV-2 protease inhibitors to prevent clinical advancement of compounds that function through inhibition of a redundant viral entry pathway.
View details for DOI 10.1021/acsinfecdis.0c00815
View details for PubMedID 33570381
Identification of highly selective covalent inhibitors by phage display.
Molecules that covalently bind macromolecular targets have found widespread applications as activity-based probes and as irreversibly binding drugs. However, the general reactivity of the electrophiles needed for covalent bond formation makes control of selectivity difficult. There is currently no rapid, unbiased screening method to identify new classes of covalent inhibitors from highly diverse pools of candidate molecules. Here we describe a phage display method to directly screen for ligands that bind to protein targets through covalent bond formation. This approach makes use of a reactive linker to form cyclic peptides on the phage surface while simultaneously introducing an electrophilic 'warhead' to covalently react with a nucleophile on the target. Using this approach, we identified cyclic peptides that irreversibly inhibited a cysteine protease and a serine hydrolase with nanomolar potency and exceptional specificity. This approach should enable rapid, unbiased screening to identify new classes of highly selective covalent inhibitors for diverse molecular targets.
View details for DOI 10.1038/s41587-020-0733-7
View details for PubMedID 33199876
Strategies for Tuning the Selectivity of Chemical Probes that Target Serine Hydrolases.
Cell chemical biology
Serine hydrolases comprise a large family of enzymes that have diverse roles in key cellular processes, such as lipid metabolism, cell signaling, and regulation of post-translation modifications of proteins. They are also therapeutic targets for multiple human pathologies, including viral infection, diabetes, hypertension, and Alzheimer disease; however, few have well-defined substrates and biological functions. Activity-based probes (ABPs) have been used as effective tools to both profile activity and screen for selective inhibitors of serine hydrolases. One broad-spectrum ABP containing a fluorophosphonate electrophile has been used extensively to advance our understanding of diverse serine hydrolases. Due to the success of this single reagent, several robust chemistries have been developed to further diversify and tune the selectivity of ABPs used to target serine hydrolases. In this review, we highlight approaches to identify selective serine hydrolase ABPs and suggest new synthetic methodologies that could be applied to further advance probe development.
View details for DOI 10.1016/j.chembiol.2020.07.008
View details for PubMedID 32726586
Targeting STAT3 signaling using stabilised sulforaphane (SFX-01) inhibits endocrine resistant stem-like cells in ER-positive breast cancer
2020; 39 (25): 4896–4908
Estrogen receptor (ER) positive breast cancer is frequently sensitive to endocrine therapy. Multiple mechanisms of endocrine therapy resistance have been identified, including cancer stem-like cell (CSC) activity. Here we investigate SFX-01, a stabilised formulation of sulforaphane (SFN), for its effects on breast CSC activity in ER+ preclinical models. SFX-01 reduced mammosphere formation efficiency (MFE) of ER+ primary and metastatic patient samples. Both tamoxifen and fulvestrant increased MFE and aldehyde dehydrogenase (ALDH) activity of patient-derived xenograft (PDX) tumors, which was reversed by combination with SFX-01. SFX-01 significantly reduced tumor-initiating cell frequency in secondary transplants and reduced the formation of spontaneous lung micrometastases by PDX tumors in mice. Mechanistically, we establish that both tamoxifen and fulvestrant induce STAT3 phosphorylation. SFX-01 suppressed phospho-STAT3 and SFN directly bound STAT3 in patient and PDX samples. Analysis of ALDH+ cells from endocrine-resistant patient samples revealed activation of STAT3 target genes MUC1 and OSMR, which were inhibited by SFX-01 in patient samples. Increased expression of these genes after 3 months' endocrine treatment of ER+ patients (n = 68) predicted poor prognosis. Our data establish the importance of STAT3 signaling in CSC-mediated resistance to endocrine therapy and the potential of SFX-01 for improving clinical outcomes in ER+ breast cancer.
View details for DOI 10.1038/s41388-020-1335-z
View details for Web of Science ID 000541119400009
View details for PubMedID 32472077
View details for PubMedCentralID PMC7299846
Faecal neutrophil elastase-antiprotease balance reflects colitis severity
2020; 13 (2): 322–33
Given the global burden of diarrheal diseases on healthcare it is surprising how little is known about the drivers of disease severity. Colitis caused by infection and inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) is characterised by neutrophil infiltration into the intestinal mucosa and yet our understanding of neutrophil responses during colitis is incomplete. Using infectious (Citrobacter rodentium) and chemical (dextran sulphate sodium; DSS) murine colitis models, as well as human IBD samples, we find that faecal neutrophil elastase (NE) activity reflects disease severity. During C. rodentium infection intestinal epithelial cells secrete the serine protease inhibitor SerpinA3N to inhibit and mitigate tissue damage caused by extracellular NE. Mice suffering from severe infection produce insufficient SerpinA3N to control excessive NE activity. This activity contributes to colitis severity as infection of these mice with a recombinant C. rodentium strain producing and secreting SerpinA3N reduces tissue damage. Thus, uncontrolled luminal NE activity is involved in severe colitis. Taken together, our findings suggest that NE activity could be a useful faecal biomarker for assessing disease severity as well as therapeutic target for both infectious and chronic inflammatory colitis.
View details for DOI 10.1038/s41385-019-0235-4
View details for Web of Science ID 000518456900013
View details for PubMedID 31772324
View details for PubMedCentralID PMC7039808
The molecular function of kallikrein-related peptidase 14 demonstrates a key modulatory role in advanced prostate cancer
2020; 14 (1): 105–28
Kallikrein-related peptidase 14 (KLK14) is one of the several secreted KLK serine proteases involved in prostate cancer (PCa) pathogenesis. While relatively understudied, recent reports have identified KLK14 as overexpressed during PCa development. However, the modulation of KLK14 expression during PCa progression and the molecular and biological functions of this protease in the prostate tumor microenvironment remain unknown. To determine the modulation of KLK14 expression during PCa progression, we analyzed the expression levels of KLK14 in patient samples using publicly available databases and immunohistochemistry. In order to delineate the molecular mechanisms involving KLK14 in PCa progression, we integrated proteomic, transcriptomic, and in vitro assays with the goal to identify substrates, related-signaling pathways, and functional roles of this protease. We showed that KLK14 expression is elevated in advanced PCa, and particularly in metastasis. Additionally, KLK14 levels were found to be decreased in PCa tissues from patients responsive to neoadjuvant therapy compared to untreated patients. Furthermore, we also identified that KLK14 expression reoccurred in patients who developed castrate-resistant PCa. The combination of proteomic and transcriptomic analysis as well as functional assays revealed several new KLK14 substrates (agrin, desmoglein 2, vitronectin, laminins) and KLK14-regulated genes (Interleukin 32, midkine, SRY-Box 9), particularly an involvement of the mitogen-activated protein kinase 1 and interleukin 1 receptor pathways, and an involvement of KLK14 in the regulation of cellular migration, supporting its involvement in aggressive features of PCa progression. In conclusion, our work showed that KLK14 expression is associated with the development of aggressive PCa suggesting that targeting this protease could offer a novel route to limit the progression of prostate tumors. Additional work is necessary to determine the benefits and implications of targeting/cotargeting KLK14 in PCa as well as to determine the potential use of KLK14 expression as a predictor of PCa aggressiveness or response to treatment.
View details for DOI 10.1002/1878-0261.12587
View details for Web of Science ID 000499018900001
View details for PubMedID 31630475
View details for PubMedCentralID PMC6944120
Chemical Probes for Proteins and Networks
MASS SPECTROMETRY-BASED CHEMICAL PROTEOMICS
View details for Web of Science ID 000522814900006
Depsipeptides Featuring a Neutral P1 Are Potent Inhibitors of Kallikrein-Related Peptidase 6 with On-Target Cellular Activity
JOURNAL OF MEDICINAL CHEMISTRY
2018; 61 (19): 8859–74
Kallikrein-related peptidase 6 (KLK6) is a secreted serine protease that belongs to the family of tissue kallikreins (KLKs). Many KLKs are investigated as potential biomarkers for cancer as well as therapeutic drug targets for a number of pathologies. KLK6, in particular, has been implicated in neurodegenerative diseases and cancer, but target validation has been hampered by a lack of selective inhibitors. This work introduces a class of depsipeptidic KLK6 inhibitors, discovered via high-throughput screening, which were found to function as substrate mimics that transiently acylate the catalytic serine of KLK6. Detailed structure-activity relationship studies, aided by in silico modeling, uncovered strict structural requirements for potency, stability, and acyl-enzyme complex half-life. An optimized scaffold, DKFZ-251, demonstrated good selectivity for KLK6 compared to other KLKs, and on-target activity in a cellular assay. Moreover, DKFZ-633, an inhibitor-derived activity-based probe, could be used to pull down active endogenous KLK6.
View details for DOI 10.1021/acs.jmedchem.8b01106
View details for Web of Science ID 000447470700024
View details for PubMedID 30212625
Novel and Versatile Synthesis of Disubstituted 1,2-Dihydro-1,2,4-triazol-3-ones
2013; 15 (23): 6078–81
A novel method for the synthesis of a wide range of 1,5-disubstituted 1,2-dihydro-1,2,4-triazol-3-ones is described. The key step involves a reaction between a dilithiated BOC-hydrazine and a N-alkoxycarbonylcarboximidothioate. A broad range of aryl and alkyl functional groups are tolerated, providing a versatile route for the synthesis of triazolones.
View details for DOI 10.1021/ol402920z
View details for Web of Science ID 000328231500044
View details for PubMedID 24246051