Nat Chem Biol 2019 03 28;15(3):304-313. Epub 2019 Jan 28.
Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.
MALT1 paracaspase is central for lymphocyte antigen-dependent responses including NF-κB activation. We discovered nanomolar, selective allosteric inhibitors of MALT1 that bind by displacing the side chain of Trp580, locking the protease in an inactive conformation. Interestingly, we had previously identified a patient homozygous for a MALT1 Trp580-to-serine mutation who suffered from combined immunodeficiency. We show that the loss of tryptophan weakened interactions between the paracaspase and C-terminal immunoglobulin MALT1 domains resulting in protein instability, reduced protein levels and functions. Upon binding of allosteric inhibitors of increasing potency, we found proportionate increased stabilization of MALT1-W580S to reach that of wild-type MALT1. With restored levels of stable MALT1 protein, the most potent of the allosteric inhibitors rescued NF-κB and JNK signaling in patient lymphocytes. Following compound washout, MALT1 substrate cleavage was partly recovered. Thus, a molecular corrector rescues an enzyme deficiency by substituting for the mutated residue, inspiring new potential precision therapies to increase mutant enzyme activity in other deficiencies.