GAS41 is an emerging oncogene overexpressed and implicated in multiple cancers, including non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC). GAS41 is a dimeric protein that contains the YEATS domain, which is involved in the recognition of lysine-acylated histones. Here, we report the development of GAS41 YEATS inhibitors by employing a fragment-based screening approach. These inhibitors bind to GAS41 YEATS domain in a channel constituting a recognition site for acylated lysine on histone proteins. To enhance inhibitory activity, we developed a dimeric analog with nanomolar activity that blocks interactions of GAS41 with acetylated histone H3. Our lead compound engages GAS41 in cells, blocks proliferation of NSCLC cells, and modulates expression of GAS41-dependent genes, validating on-target mechanism of action. This study demonstrates that disruption of GAS41 protein-protein interactions may represent an attractive approach to target lung cancer cells. This work exemplifies the use of bivalent inhibitors as a general strategy to block challenging protein-protein interactions.
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