Indexed on: 27 Jul '12Published on: 27 Jul '12Published in: RNA (New York, N.Y.)
The removal of intervening sequences (introns) from a primary RNA transcript is catalyzed by the spliceosome, a large ribonucleoprotein complex. At the start of each splicing cycle, the spliceosome assembles anew in a sequentially ordered manner on the pre-mRNA intron to be removed. We describe here the identification of a series of naphthalen-2-yl hydroxamate compounds that inhibit pre-mRNA splicing in vitro with mid- to high-micromolar values of IC(50). These hydroxamates stall spliceosome assembly at the A complex stage. A structure-activity analysis of lead compounds revealed three pharmacophores that are essential for splicing inhibition. Specifically, a hydroxamate as a zinc-binding group and a 6-methoxynaphthalene cap group are both critical, and a linker chain comprising eight to nine methylene groups is also important, for the specific binding to the docking site of a target protein molecule and precise positioning of the zinc binding group. As we found no correlation between the inhibition patterns of known histone deacetylases on the one hand and pre-mRNA splicing on the other, we conclude that these compounds may function through the inhibition of the activities of other, at present, unknown spliceosome-associated zinc metalloprotein(s).