Small molecule inhibitors of site-specific O-glycosylation by the polypeptide N-acetylgalactosaminyltransferase (ppGalNAc-T) family are currently unavailable but hold promise as therapeutics, especially if selective against individual ppGalNAc-T isozymes. To identify a compound targeting the ppGalNAc-T3 isozyme, we screened libraries to find compounds that act on a cell-based fluorescence sensor of ppGalNAc-T3 but not on a sensor of ppGalNAc-T2. This identified a hit that subsequent in vitro analysis showed directly binds and inhibits purified ppGalNAc-T3 with no detectable activity against either ppGalNAc-T2 or ppGalNAc-T6. Remarkably, the inhibitor was active in two medically relevant contexts. In cell culture, it opposed increased cancer cell invasiveness driven by upregulated ppGalNAc-T3 suggesting the inhibitor might be anti-metastatic. In cells and mice, it blocked ppGalNAc-T3-mediated glycan-masking of FGF23 thereby increasing its cleavage, a possible treatment of chronic kidney disease. These findings establish a pharmacological approach for the ppGalNAc-transferase family and suggest that targeting specific ppGalNAc-transferases will yield new therapeutics.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
- Immunology and Microbiology(all)