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We recently developed a heterobifunctional approach [phosphorylation targeting chimeras (PhosTACs)] to achieve the targeted protein dephosphorylation (TPDephos). Here, we envisioned combining the inhibitory effects of receptor tyrosine kinase inhibitors (RTKIs) and the active dephosphorylation by phosphatases to achieve dual inhibition of kinases. We report an example of tyrosine phosphatase-based TPDephos and the effective epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) tyrosine dephosphorylation. We also used phosphoproteomic approaches to study the signaling transductions affected by PhosTAC-related molecules at the proteome-wide level. This work demonstrated the differential signaling pathways inhibited by PhosTAC compared with the TKI, gefitinib. Moreover, a covalent PhosTAC selective for mutated EGFR was developed and showed its inhibitory potential for dysregulated EGFR. Last, EGFR PhosTACs, consistent with EGFR dephosphorylation profiles, induced apoptosis and inhibited cancer cell viability during prolonged PhosTAC treatment. PhosTACs showcased their potential of modulating RTKs activity, expanding the scope of bifunctional molecule utility.


Zhenyi Hu, Po-Han Chen, Wenxue Li, Mackenzie Krone, Sijin Zheng, Jacques Saarbach, Ines Urquizo Velasco, John Hines, Yansheng Liu, Craig M Crews. EGFR targeting PhosTACs as a dual inhibitory approach reveals differential downstream signaling. Science advances. 2024 Mar 29;10(13):eadj7251

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PMID: 38536914

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