Discovery of Modulators of Adipocyte Physiology Using Fully Functionalized Fragments
Defects in adipocyte function associated with obesity drive the development of systemic insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes. Agents that correct obesity-linked adipocyte dysfunction serve as useful insulin sensitizers in humans, as is exemplified by the thiazolidinediones (TZDs). We have developed a new platform that integrates advanced chemoproteomics with phenotypic screening to identify small molecules that promote differentiation and lipid storage in adipocytes, and, in tandem, their molecular target(s). These molecules mimic the activity of TZDs in culture and thus may also serve as insulin sensitizers in vivo. Central to this platform is the use of fully functionalized fragment (FFF) probes that consist of a variable, fragment-like recognition element linked to an alkyne-diazirine group that enables the photoactivated capture of probe-bound proteins directly in living cells and subsequent copper-catalyzed azide-alkyne cycloaddition to reporter tags for enrichment and identification of these probe-bound proteins by mass spectrometry. This platform, which can be adapted to diverse screens and cell types beyond adipocytes, has the potential to uncover new biological pathways amenable to pharmacological modulation that may impact human disease.
Key wordsPhenotypic screening Adipose tissue Adipogenesis Photoreactive small molecules Chemical proteomics Target identification
This work was supported by NIH DK099810, DK114785, CA132630, and 1S10OD16357.