Lomofungin and dilomofungin: inhibitors of MBNL1-CUG RNA binding with distinct cellular effects.

Paradigms and Technologies
Methods Development


Myotonic dystrophy type 1 (DM1) is a dominantly inherited neuromuscular disorder resulting from expression of RNA containing an expanded CUG repeat (CUG(exp)). The pathogenic RNA is retained in nuclear foci. Poly-(CUG) binding proteins in the Muscleblind-like (MBNL) family are sequestered in foci, causing misregulated alternative splicing of specific pre-mRNAs. Inhibitors of MBNL1-CUG(exp) binding have been shown to restore splicing regulation and correct phenotypes in DM1 models. We therefore conducted a high-throughput screen to identify novel inhibitors of MBNL1-(CUG)12 binding. The most active compound was lomofungin, a natural antimicrobial agent. We found that lomofungin undergoes spontaneous dimerization in DMSO, producing dilomofungin, whose inhibition of MBNL1-(CUG)12 binding was 17-fold more potent than lomofungin itself. However, while dilomofungin displayed the desired binding characteristics in vitro, when applied to cells it produced a large increase of CUG(exp) RNA in nuclear foci, owing to reduced turnover of the CUG(exp) transcript. By comparison, the monomer did not induce CUG(exp) accumulation in cells and was more effective at rescuing a CUG(exp)-induced splicing defect. These results support the feasibility of high-throughput screens to identify compounds targeting toxic RNA, but also demonstrate that ligands for repetitive sequences may have unexpected effects on RNA decay.


Hoskins, Jason W; Ofori, Leslie O; Chen, Catherine; Kumar, Amit; Sobczak, Krzysztof; Nakamori, Masayuki; Southall, Noel; Patnaik, Samarjit; Marugan, Juan; Zheng, Wei; Austin, Christopher; Disney, Matthew D; Miller, Benjamin L; Thornton, Charles A;


  • 3' Untranslated Regions
  • Alternative Splicing/ drug effects
  • Dimerization
  • Humans
  • Phenazines/ chemistry
  • Phenazines/ metabolism
  • Phenazines/ pharmacology
  • RNA/ chemistry
  • RNA/ metabolism
  • RNA Stability/ drug effects
  • RNA-Binding Proteins/ metabolism
  • Repetitive Sequences, Nucleic Acid

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