Selective inhibition of STAT3 signaling using monobodies targeting the coiled-coil and N-terminal domains

The transcription factor STAT3 is frequently activated in human solid and hematological malignancies and remains a challenging therapeutic target with no approved drugs to date. Here, we develop synthetic antibody mimetics, termed monobodies, to interfere with STAT3 signaling. These monobodies are highly selective for STAT3 and bind with nanomolar affinity to the N-terminal and coiled-coil domains. Interactome analysis detects no significant binding to other STATs or additional off-target proteins, confirming their exquisite specificity. Intracellular expression of monobodies fused to VHL, an E3 ubiquitin ligase substrate receptor, results in degradation of endogenous STAT3. The crystal structure of STAT3 in complex with monobody MS3-6 reveals bending of the coiled-coil domain, resulting in diminished DNA binding and nuclear translocation. MS3-6 expression strongly inhibits STAT3-dependent transcriptional activation and disrupts STAT3 interaction with the IL-22 receptor. Therefore, our study establishes innovative tools to interfere with STAT3 signaling by different molecular mechanisms. STAT3 is an attractive therapeutic target but its homology with other STAT proteins complicates the development of selective inhibitors. Here, the authors develop monobodies with high affinity and selectivity for STAT3 and show that they can interfere with cellular STAT3 activity.

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Nature Communications, 11, 1, 4115
Aug 17 2020
This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

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 Record created 2020-09-12, last modified 2020-09-28

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