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Covalent Enzyme Inhibition through Fluorosulfate Modification of a Noncatalytic Serine Residue.


Irreversible enzyme inhibitors and covalent chemical biology probes often utilize the reaction of a protein cysteine residue with an appropriately positioned electrophile (e.g., acrylamide) on the ligand template. However, cysteine residues are not always available for site-specific protein labeling, and therefore new approaches are needed to expand the toolkit of appropriate electrophiles ("warheads") that target alternative amino acids. We previously described the rational targeting of tyrosine residues in the active site of a protein (the mRNA decapping scavenger enzyme, DcpS) using inhibitors armed with a sulfonyl fluoride electrophile. These inhibitors subsequently enabled the development of clickable probe technology to measure drug-target occupancy in live cells. Here we describe a fluorosulfate-containing inhibitor (aryl fluorosulfate probe (FS-p1)) with excellent chemical and metabolic stability that reacts selectively with a noncatalytic serine residue in the same active site of DcpS as confirmed by peptide mapping experiments. Our results suggest that noncatalytic serine targeting using fluorosulfate electrophilic warheads could be a suitable strategy for the development of covalent inhibitor drugs and chemical probes.