Small molecules that alter protein function provide a means to modulate biological networks with temporal resolution. Here we demonstrate a potentially general and scalable method of identifying such molecules by application to a particular protein, Ure2p, which represses the transcription factors Gln3p and Nil1p. By probing a high-density microarray of small molecules generated by diversity-oriented synthesis with fluorescently labelled Ure2p, we performed 3, 780 protein-binding assays in parallel and identified several compounds that bind Ure2p. One compound, which we call uretupamine, specifically activates a glucose-sensitive transcriptional pathway downstream of Ure2p. Whole-genome transcription profiling and chemical epistasis demonstrate the remarkable Ure2p specificity of uretupamine and its ability to modulate the glucose-sensitive subset of genes downstream of Ure2p. These results demonstrate that diversity-oriented synthesis and small-molecule microarrays can be used to identify small molecules that bind to a protein of interest, and that these small molecules can regulate specific functions of the protein.
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