Hi-JAK-ing the ubiquitin system: the design and physicochemical optimisation of JAK PROTACs

Rishi R. Shah, Joanna M. Redmond, Andrei Mihut, Malini Menon, John P. Evans, John A. Murphy, Michelle A. Bartholomew, Diane M. Coe

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PROTACs have recently emerged as a novel paradigm in drug discovery.They can hijack existing biological machinery to selectively degrade proteins o finterest, in a catalytic fashion. Here we describe the design, optimisation and biological activity of a set of novel PROTACs targeting the Janus kinase family (JAK1, JAK2, JAK3 and TYK2) of proximal membrane-bound proteins.The JAK family proteins display membrane localisation by virtue of their association with cytoplasmic tails of cytokine receptors, and there are no reports of a successful PROTAC strategy being deployed against this class of proteins. JAK PROTACs from two distinct JAK chemotypes were designed, optimising the physicochemical properties for each template to enhance cell permeation. These PROTACs are capable of inducing JAK1 and JAK2 degradation, demonstrating an extension of the PROTAC methodology to
an unprecedented class of protein targets. A number of known ligase binders were explored, and it was found that PROTACs bearing an inhibitor of apoptosis protein (IAP) ligand induced significantly more JAK degradation over VonHippel–Lindau (VHL) and Cereblon (CRBN. In addition, the mechanism of action of the JAK PROTACs was elucidated, and it was confirmed that JAKdegradation was both IAP-and proteasome-dependent.
Original languageEnglish
Article number115326
JournalBioorganic and Medicinal Chemistry
Issue number5
Early online date23 Jan 2020
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2020


  • drug discovery
  • e Janus kinase/signal transducers and activators of transcription
  • proteolysis targeting chimera


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