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The advent of multi-specific targeted protein degradation (TPD) therapies has made it possible to drug targets that have long been considered to be inaccessible. For this reason, the foremost TPD modalities - molecular glues and proteolysis targeting chimeras (PROTACs) -have been widely adopted and developed in therapeutic programs across the pharmaceutical and biotechnology industries. While there are many clear advantages to these two approaches, there are also blind spots. Specifically, PROTACs and molecular glues are inherently mechanistically analogous in that targets of both are degraded via the 26s proteasome; however, not all disease-relevant targets are suitable for ubiquitin proteasome system (UPS)-mediated degradation. The alternative mammalian protein degradation pathway, the autophagy-lysosome system (or ALS), is capable of degrading targets that elude the UPS such as long-lived proteins, insoluble protein aggregates, and even abnormal organelles. Emerging TPD strategies- such as ATTEC, AUTAC, and LYTAC- take advantage of the substrate diversity of the ALS to greatly expand the clinical utility of TPD. In this Perspective, we will discuss the array of current TPD modalities, with a focus on critical evaluation of these novel ALS-mediated degradation techniques.


Katelyn Cassidy, Heng Zhao. Redefining the Scope of Targeted Protein Degradation: Translational Opportunities in Hijacking the Autophagy-Lysosome Pathway. Biochemistry. 2023 Feb 07;62(3):580-587

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PMID: 34569233

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