Targeting Phosphopeptide Recognition by the Human BRCA1 Tandem BRCT Domain to Interrupt BRCA1-Dependent Signaling
Periasamy J, Kurdekar V, Jasti S, Nijaguna MB, Boggaram S, Hurakadli MA, Raina D, Kurup LM, Chintha C,Manjunath K, Goyal A, Sadasivam G, Bharatham K, Padigaru M, Potluri V, Venkitaraman AR

Cell Chemical Biology 25, 1–14, June 21, 2018 


Intracellular signals triggered by DNA breakage flow through proteins containing BRCT (BRCA1 C-terminal) domains. This family, comprising 23 conserved phosphopeptide-binding modules in man, is inaccessible to small-molecule chemical inhibitors. Here, we develop Bractoppin, a drug-like inhibitor of phosphopeptide recognition by the human BRCA1 tandem (t)BRCT domain, which selectively inhibits substrate binding with nanomolar potency in vitro. Structure-activity exploration suggests that Bractoppin engages BRCA1 tBRCT residues recognizing pSer in the consensus motif, pSer-Pro-Thr-Phe, plus an abutting hydrophobic pocket that is distinct in structurally related BRCT domains, conferring selectivity. In cells, Bractoppin inhibits substrate recognition detected by Förster resonance energy transfer, and diminishes BRCA1 recruitment to DNA breaks, in turn suppressing damage-induced G2 arrest and assembly of the recombinase, RAD51. But damage-induced MDC1 recruitment, single-stranded DNA (ssDNA) generation, and TOPBP1 recruitment remain unaffected. Thus, an inhibitor of phosphopeptide recognition selectively interrupts BRCA1 tBRCT-dependent signals evoked by DNA damage.


  • Bractoppin selectively blocks phosphopeptide recognition by the BRCA1 tBRCT domain
  • Bractoppin engages tBRCT residues recognizing pSer, plus an adjacent pocket
  • Bractoppin interrupts BRCA1 tBRCT-dependent cellular signals evoked by DNA damage
  • This work opens avenues to inhibit intracellular signaling by the tBRCT domain famil


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Structure-Guided Synthesis and Evaluation of Small-Molecule Inhibitors Targeting Protein-Protein Interactions of BRCA1 tBRCT Domain

Kurdekar V, Giridharan S, Subbarao J, Nijaguna MB, Periasamy J, Boggaram S, Shivange AV, Sadasivam G, Padigaru M, Potluri V, Venkitaraman AR, Bharatham K

ChemMedChem. 2019 Jul 23. doi: 10.1002/cmdc.201900300. [Epub ahead of print]


The tandem BRCT domains (tBRCT) of BRCA1 engage phosphoserine-containing motifs in target proteins to propagate intracellular signals initiated by DNA damage, thereby controlling cell cycle arrest and DNA repair. Recently, we identified Bractoppin, the first small-molecule inhibitor of the BRCA1 tBRCT domain, which selectively interrupts BRCA1-mediated cellular responses evoked by DNA damage. Here, we combine structure-guided chemical elaboration, protein mutagenesis and cellular assays to define the structural features responsible for Bractoppin's activity. Bractoppin fails to bind mutant forms of BRCA1 tBRCT bearing K1702A, a key residue mediating phosphopeptide recognition, or F1662R or L1701K that adjoin the pSer-recognition site. However, the M1775R mutation, which engages the Phe residue in the consensus phosphopeptide motif pSer-X-X-Phe, does not affect Bractoppin binding, confirming a binding mode distinct from the substrate phosphopeptide binding. We explored these structural features through structure-guidedchemical elaboration and characterized structure-activity relationships (SARs) in biochemical assays. Two analogues, CCBT2088 and CCBT2103 were effective in abrogating BRCA1 foci formation and inhibiting G2 arrest induced by irradiation of cells. Collectively, our findings reveal structural features underlying the activity of a novel inhibitor of phosphopeptide recognition by the BRCA1 tBRCT domain, providing fresh insights to guide the development of inhibitors that target protein-protein interactions.

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