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Epigenetic proteins containing YEATS domains (YD) are an emerging target class in drug discovery. Described herein are the discovery and characterization efforts associated with PFI-6, a new chemical probe for the YD of MLLT1 (ENL/YEATS1) and MLLT3 (AF9/YEATS3). For hit identification, fragment-like mimetics of endogenous YD ligands (crotonylated histone-containing proteins), were synthesized via parallel medicinal chemistry (PMC) and screened for MLLT1 binding. Subsequent SAR studies led to iterative MLLT1/3 binding and selectivity improvements, culminating in the discovery of PFI-6. PFI-6 demonstrates good affinity and selectivity for MLLT1/3 vs. other human YD proteins (YEATS2/4) and engages MLLT3 in cells. Small-molecule X-ray co-crystal structures of two molecules, including PFI-6, bound to the YD of MLLT1/3 are also described. PFI-6 may be a useful tool molecule to better understand the biological effects associated with modulation of MLLT1/3.

Original publication




Journal article


Bioorganic & medicinal chemistry letters

Publication Date





Centre for Medicines Discovery, Nuffield Department of Medicine, University of Oxford, Oxford OX3 7FZ, UK; Target Discovery Institute, Nuffield Department of Medicine, University of Oxford, Oxford OX3 7FZ, UK.


Humans, Neoplasm Proteins, Nuclear Proteins, Histones, Transcription Factors, Drug Discovery, Protein Domains