The taccalonolide microtubule stabilizers covalently bind β-tubulin and overcome clinically relevant taxane resistance mechanisms. Evaluations of the target specificity and detailed drug–target interactions of taccalonolides, however, have been limited in part by their irreversible target engagement. In this study, we report the synthesis of fluorogenic taccalonolide probes that maintain the native biological properties of the potent taccalonolide, AJ. These carefully optimized, cell-permeable probes outperform commercial taxane-based probes and enable direct visualization of taccalonolides in both live and fixed cells with dramatic microtubule colocalization. The specificity of taccalonolide binding to β-tubulin is demonstrated by immunoblotting, which allows for determination of the relative contribution of key tubulin residues and taccalonolide moieties for drug–target interactions by activity-based protein profiling utilizing site-directed mutagenesis and computational modeling. This combinatorial approach provides a generally applicable strategy for investigating the binding specificity and molecular interactions of covalent binding drugs in a cellular environment.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
- Physics and Astronomy(all)