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The acknowledged potential of small-molecule therapeutics targeting disease-related protein-protein interactions (PPIs) has promoted active research in this field. The strategy of using small molecule inhibitors (SMIs) to fight strong (tight-binding) PPIs tends to fall short due to the flat and wide interfaces of PPIs. Here we propose a biligand approach for disruption of strong PPIs. The potential of this approach was realized for disruption of the tight-binding (KD = 100 pM) tetrameric holoenzyme of cAMP-dependent protein kinase (PKA). Supported by X-ray analysis of cocrystals, bifunctional inhibitors (ARC-inhibitors) were constructed that simultaneously associated with both the ATP-pocket and the PPI interface area of the catalytic subunit of PKA (PKAc). Bifunctional inhibitor ARC-1411, possessing a KD value of 3 pM toward PKAc, induced the dissociation of the PKA holoenzyme with a low-nanomolar IC50, whereas the ATP-competitive inhibitor H89 bound to the PKA holoenzyme without disruption of the protein tetramer.

Original publication




Journal article


Bioconjug Chem

Publication Date





1900 - 1910