Design and Characterization of a Novel eEF2K Degrader with Potent Therapeutic Efficacy Against Triple-Negative Breast Cancer

Changxin Zhong, Rongfeng Zhu, Ting Jiang, Sheng Tian, Xiaobao Zhao, Xiaoya Wan, Shilong Jiang, Zonglin Chen, Rong Gong, Linhao He, Jin Ming Yang, Na Ye, Yan Cheng

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Dysregulated eEF2K expression is implicated in the pathogenesis of many human cancers, including triple-negative breast cancer (TNBC), making it a plausible therapeutic target. However, specific eEF2K inhibitors with potent anti-cancer activity have not been available so far. Targeted protein degradation has emerged as a new strategy for drug discovery. In this study, a novel small molecule chemical is designed and synthesized, named as compound C1, which shows potent activity in degrading eEF2K. C1 selectively binds to F8, L10, R144, C146, E229, and Y236 of the eEF2K protein and promotes its proteasomal degradation by increasing the interaction between eEF2K and the ubiquitin E3 ligase βTRCP in the form of molecular glue. C1 significantly inhibits the proliferation and metastasis of TNBC cells both in vitro and in vivo and in TNBC patient-derived organoids, and these antitumor effects are attributed to the degradation of eEF2K by C1. Additionally, combination treatment of C1 with paclitaxel, a commonly used chemotherapeutic drug, exhibits synergistic anti-tumor effects against TNBC. This study not only generates a powerful research tool to investigate the therapeutic potential of targeting eEF2K, but also provides a promising lead compound for developing novel drugs for the treatment of TNBC and other cancers.

Original languageEnglish
Article number2305035
JournalAdvanced Science
Issue number5
StatePublished - Feb 2 2024

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2023 The Authors. Advanced Science published by Wiley-VCH GmbH.


  • degrader
  • eEF2K
  • molecular glue
  • triple-negative breast cancer

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • General Chemical Engineering
  • General Materials Science
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology (miscellaneous)
  • General Engineering
  • General Physics and Astronomy


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