The Wnt family of proteins are secreted signaling proteins that play key roles in regulating cellular functions. Recently, carboxylesterase Notum was shown to act as a negative regulator of Wnt signaling by mediating the removal of an essential palmitoleate. Here we disclose two new chemical scaffolds that inhibit Notum enzymatic activity. Our approach was to create a fragment library of 250 acids for screening against Notum in a biochemical assay followed by structure determination by X-ray crystallography. Twenty fragments were identified as hits for Notum inhibition, and 14 of these fragments were shown to bind in the palmitoleate pocket of Notum. Optimization of 1-phenylpyrrole 20, guided by structure-based drug design, identified 20z as the most potent compound from this series. Similarly, the optimization of 1-phenylpyrrolidine 8 gave acid 26. This work demonstrates that inhibition of Notum activity can be achieved by small, drug-like molecules possessing favorable in vitro ADME profiles.
Journal of medicinal chemistry
Alzheimer's Research UK UCL Drug Discovery Institute, University College London, Cruciform Building, Gower Street, London WC1E 6BT, United Kingdom.