A working hypothesis for the pathogenesis of myotonic dystrophy type 1 (DM1) involves the aberrant sequestration of an alternative splicing regulator, MBNL1, by expanded CUG repeats, r(CUG)exp. It has been suggested that a reversal of the myotonia and potentially other symptoms of the DM1 disease can be achieved by inhibiting the toxic MBNL1-r(CUG)exp interaction. Using rational design, we discovered an RNA-groove binding inhibitor (ligand 3) that contains two triaminotriazine units connected by a bisamidinium linker. Ligand 3 binds r(CUG)12 with a low micromolar affinity (Kd = 8 ± 2 μM) and disrupts the MBNL1-r(CUG)12 interaction in vitro (Ki = 8 ± 2 μM). In addition, ligand 3 is cell and nucleus permeable, exhibits negligible toxicity to mammalian cells, dissolves MBNL1-r(CUG)exp ribonuclear foci, and restores misregulated splicing of IR and cTNT in a DM1 cell culture model. Importantly, suppression of r(CUG)exp RNA-induced toxicity in a DM1 Drosophila model was observed after treatment with ligand 3. These results suggest ligand 3 as a lead for the treatment of DM1.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Colloid and Surface Chemistry