Direct interaction of DNMT inhibitors to PrPC suppresses pathogenic process of prion

Dae Hwan Kim, Chunyan Ren, Chongsuk Ryou, Jiaojie Li

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


The conversion of the normal cellular prion protein (PrPC) to the misfolded pathogenic scrapie prion protein (PrPSc) is the biochemical hallmark of prion replication. So far, various chemical compounds that inhibit this conformational conversion have been identified. Here, we report the novel anti-prion activity of SGI-1027 and its meta/meta analogue (M/M), previously known only as potent inhibitors of DNA methyltransferases (DNMTs). These compounds effectively decreased the level of PrPSc in cultured cells with permanent prion infection, without affecting PrPC at the transcriptional or translational levels. Furthermore, SGI-1027 prevented effective prion infection of the cells. In a PrP aggregation assay, both SGI-1027 and M/M blocked the formation of misfolded PrP aggregates, implying that binding of these compounds hinders the PrP conversion process. A series of binding and docking analyses demonstrated that both SGI-1027 and M/M directly interacted with the C-terminal globular domain of PrPC, but only SGI-1027 bound to a specific region of PrPC with high affinity, which correlates with its potent anti-prion efficacy. Therefore, we report SGI-1027 and related compounds as a novel class of potential anti-prion agents that preferentially function through direct interaction with PrPC.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)952-959
Number of pages8
JournalActa Pharmaceutica Sinica B
Issue number5
StatePublished - Sep 2019
Externally publishedYes


  • DNMT
  • Epigenetic regulation
  • PrP
  • Prion
  • Therapeutic compounds


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