Hirotake Furihata, Satoshi Yamanaka, Toshiaki Honda, Yumiko Miyauchi, Atsuko Asano, Norio Shibata, Masaru Tanokura, Tatsuya Sawasaki, Takuya Miyakawa


Thalidomide and its derivatives exert not only therapeutic effects as immunomodulatory drugs (IMiDs) but also adverse effects such as teratogenicity, which are due in part to different C2H2 zinc-finger (ZF) transcription factors, IKZF1 (or IKZF3) and SALL4, respectively. Here, we report the structural bases for the SALL4-specific proteasomal degradation induced by 5-hydroxythalidomide, a primary thalidomide metabolite generated by the enzymatic activity of cytochrome P450 isozymes, through the interaction with cereblon (CRBN). The crystal structure of the metabolite-mediated human SALL4-CRBN complex and mutagenesis studies elucidate the complex formation enhanced by the interaction between CRBN and an additional hydroxy group of (S)-5-hydroxythalidomide and the variation in the second residue of β-hairpin structure that underlies the C2H2 ZF-type neo-morphic substrate (neosubstrate) selectivity of 5-hydroxythalidomide. These findings deepen our understanding of the pharmaceutical action of IMiDs and provide structural evidence that the glue-type E3 ligase modulators cause altered neosubstrate specificities through their metabolism.

Paper Information

: Nature Communications
: 10.1038/s41467-020-18488-4