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Papers of the Week

Papers: 11 Feb 2023 - 17 Feb 2023

Basic Science

Pharmacology/Drug Development

2023 Feb 03



Phenelzine-based probes reveal Secernin-3 is involved in thermal nociception.


Bustin KA, Shishikura K, Chen I, Lin Z, McKnight N, Chang Y, Wang X, Li JJ, Arellano E, Pei L, Morton PD, Gregus AM, Buczynski MW, Matthews ML


Chemical platforms that facilitate both the identification and elucidation of new areas for therapeutic development are necessary but lacking. Activity-based protein profiling (ABPP) leverages active site-directed chemical probes as target discovery tools that resolve activity from expression and immediately marry the targets identified with lead compounds for drug design. However, this approach has traditionally focused on predictable and intrinsic enzyme functionality. Here, we applied our activity-based proteomics discovery platform to map non-encoded and post-translationally acquired enzyme functionalities (e.g. cofactors) using chemical probes that exploit the nucleophilic hydrazine pharmacophores found in a classic antidepressant drug (e.g. phenelzine, Nardil ). We show the probes are active and can map proteome-wide tissue-specific target engagement of the drug. In addition to engaging targets (flavoenzymes monoamine oxidase A/B) that are associated with the known therapeutic mechanism as well as several other members of the flavoenzyme family, the probes captured the previously discovered -terminal glyoxylyl (Glox) group of Secernin-3 (SCRN3) through a divergent mechanism, indicating this functional feature has biochemical activity in the brain. SCRN3 protein is ubiquitously expressed in the brain, yet gene expression is regulated by inflammatory stimuli. In an inflammatory pain mouse model, behavioral assessment of nociception showed male knockout mice selectively exhibited impaired thermal nociceptive sensitivity. Our study provides a guided workflow to entangle molecular (off)targets and pharmacological mechanisms for therapeutic development.