Biophysical and biological evaluation of optimized stapled peptide inhibitors of the linear ubiquitin chain assembly complex (LUBAC).
Linear ubiquitylation, in which ubiquitin units are covalently linked through N- and C-terminal amino acids, is a unique cellular signaling mechanism. This process is controlled by a single E3 ubiquitin ligase, the linear ubiquitin chain assembly complex (LUBAC), which is composed of three proteins – HOIL-1L, HOIP and SHARPIN. LUBAC is involved in the activation of the canonical NF-κB pathway and has been linked to NF-κB dependent malignancies. In this work, we present HOIP-based stapled alpha-helical peptides designed to inhibit LUBAC through the disruption of the HOIL-1L-HOIP interaction and loss of the functional complex. We find our HOIP peptides to be active LUBAC ubiquitylation inhibitors in vitro, though through interaction with HOIP rather than HOIL. Active peptides were shown to have inhibitory effects on cell viability, reduced NF-κB activity and decreased production of NF-κB related gene products. This work further demonstrates the potential of LUBAC as a therapeutic target and of the use of stapled peptides as inhibitors of protein-protein interactions.