Destruction of DNA-Binding Proteins by Programmable Oligonucleotide PROTAC (O'PROTAC): Effective Targeting of LEF1 and ERG

Jingwei Shao, Yuqian Yan, Donglin Ding, Dejie Wang, Yundong He, Yunqian Pan, Wei Yan, Anupreet Kharbanda, Hong yu Li, Haojie Huang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

64 Scopus citations


DNA-binding proteins, including transcription factors (TFs), play essential roles in various cellular processes and pathogenesis of diseases, deeming to be potential therapeutic targets. However, these proteins are generally considered undruggable as they lack an enzymatic catalytic site or a ligand-binding pocket. Proteolysis-targeting chimera (PROTAC) technology has been developed by engineering a bifunctional molecule chimera to bring a protein of interest (POI) to the proximity of an E3 ubiquitin ligase, thus inducing the ubiquitination of POI and further degradation through the proteasome pathway. Here, the development of oligonucleotide-based PROTAC (O'PROTACs), a class of noncanonical PROTACs in which a TF-recognizing double-stranded oligonucleotide is incorporated as a binding moiety of POI is reported. It is demonstrated that O'PROTACs of lymphoid enhancer-binding factor 1 (LEF1) and ETS-related gene (ERG), two highly cancer-related transcription factors, successfully promote degradation of these proteins, impede their transcriptional activity, and inhibit cancer cell growth in vitro and in vivo. The programmable nature of O'PROTACs indicates that this approach is also applicable to destruct other TFs. O'PROTACs not only can serve as a research tool but also can be harnessed as a therapeutic arsenal to target DNA binding proteins for effective treatment of diseases such as cancer.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number2102555
JournalAdvanced Science
Issue number20
StatePublished - Oct 20 2021
Externally publishedYes


  • cancer
  • oligonucleotide-based proteolysis-targeting chimera
  • protein degradation
  • transcription factor

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • General Chemical Engineering
  • General Materials Science
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology (miscellaneous)
  • General Engineering
  • General Physics and Astronomy


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