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The three human SNM1 metallo-β-lactamase fold nucleases (SNM1A-C) play key roles in DNA damage repair and in maintaining telomere integrity. Genetic studies indicate that they are attractive targets for cancer treatment and to potentiate chemo- and radiation-therapy. A high-throughput screen for SNM1A inhibitors identified diverse pharmacophores, some of which were shown by crystallography to coordinate to the di-metal ion centre at the SNM1A active site. Structure and turnover assay-guided optimization enabled the identification of potent quinazoline-hydroxamic acid containing inhibitors, which bind in a manner where the hydroxamic acid displaces the hydrolytic water and the quinazoline ring occupies a substrate nucleobase binding site. Cellular assays reveal that SNM1A inhibitors cause sensitisation to, and defects in the resolution of, cisplatin-induced DNA damage, validating the tractability of MBL fold nucleases as cancer drug targets.

Original publication




Journal article


Chemical Science

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