Myotonic dystrophy type 2 (DM2) is an incurable neuromuscular disease caused by expanded CCUG repeats that may exhibit toxicity by sequestering the splicing regulator MBNL1. A series of triaminotriazine- and triaminopyrimidine- based small molecules (ligands 1-3) were designed, synthesized and tested as inhibitors of the MBNL1-CCUG interaction. Despite the structural similarities of the triaminotriazine and triaminopyrimidine units, the triaminopyrimidine-based ligands bind with low micromolar affinity to CCUG repeats (Kd∼0.1-3.6M) whereas the triaminotriazine ligands do not bind CCUG repeats. Importantly, these simple and small triaminopyrimidine ligands exhibit both strong inhibition (Ki∼2M) of the MBNL1-CCUG interaction and high selectivity for CCUG repeats over other RNA targets. These experiments suggest these compounds are potential lead agents for the treatment of DM2.
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