Targeting the ubiquitin system by fragment-based drug discovery

More about Open Access at the Crick


The ubiquitin system contains a wealth of potential drug targets for many diseases and conditions, including neurodegenerative, immune, metabolic and developmental diseases, as well as multiple cancers. Despite years of research, relatively few clinical inhibitors or specific chemical probes for proteins within the ubiquitin system exist, with many interesting target proteins yet to be explored. Fragment-based drug discovery (FBDD) offers efficient and broad coverage of chemical space with small libraries, using covalent and non-covalent approaches. Coupled with advances in structural biology and proteomics, FBDD now provides a thorough screening platform for inhibitor discovery within the ubiquitin system. In this mini review, we summarise the current scope of FBDD and how it has been applied to ubiquitin-activating (E1), ubiquitin-conjugating (E2), ubiquitin ligase (E3) and deubiquitinating (DUB) enzymes. We also discuss the newest frontiers of FBDD and how they could be applied to enable inhibitor and novel chemical probe discovery and provide functional insight into the ubiquitin system.

Journal details

Volume 9
Pages 1019636
Available online
Publication date