Inhibition of Ral GTPases using a stapled peptide approach

Jemima C. Thomas, Jonathan M. Cooper, Natasha S. Clayton, Chensu Wang, Michael A. White, Chris Abell, Darerca Owen, Helen R. Mott

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations


Aberrant Ras signaling drives numerous cancers, and drugs to inhibit this are urgently required. This compelling clinical need combined with recent innovations in drug discovery including the advent of biologic therapeutic agents, has propelled Ras back to the forefront of targeting efforts. Activated Ras has proved extremely difficult to target directly, and the focus has moved to the main downstream Ras-signaling pathways. In particular, the Ras-Raf and Ras-PI3K pathways have provided conspicuous enzyme therapeutic targets that were more accessible to conventional drug-discovery strategies. The Ras-RalGEF-Ral pathway is a more difficult challenge for traditional medicinal development, and there have, therefore, been few inhibitors reported that disrupt this axis. We have used our structure of a Ral-effector complex as a basis for the design and characterization of α-helical-stapled peptides that bind selectively to active, GTP-bound Ral proteins and that compete with downstream effector proteins. The peptides have been thoroughly characterized biophysically. Crucially, the lead peptide enters cells and is biologically active, inhibiting isoform-specific RalB-driven cellular processes. This, therefore, provides a starting point for therapeutic inhibition of the Ras-RalGEF-Ral pathway.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)18310-18325
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of Biological Chemistry
Issue number35
StatePublished - Aug 26 2016

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology


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