Discovery of a New Drug-like Series of OGT Inhibitors by Virtual Screening

Elena M Loi, Tihomir Tomašič, Cyril Balsollier, Kevin van Eekelen, Matjaž Weiss, Martina Gobec, Matthew G Alteen, David J Vocadlo, Roland J Pieters, Marko Anderluh

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


O-GlcNAcylation is an essential post-translational modification installed by the enzyme O-β- N-acetyl-d-glucosaminyl transferase (OGT). Modulating this enzyme would be extremely valuable to better understand its role in the development of serious human pathologies, such as diabetes and cancer. However, the limited availability of potent and selective inhibitors hinders the validation of this potential therapeutic target. To explore new chemotypes that target the active site of OGT, we performed virtual screening of a large library of commercially available compounds with drug-like properties. We purchased samples of the most promising virtual hits and used enzyme assays to identify authentic leads. Structure-activity relationships of the best identified OGT inhibitor were explored by generating a small library of derivatives. Our best hit displays a novel uridine mimetic scaffold and inhibited the recombinant enzyme with an IC 50 value of 7 µM. The current hit represents an excellent starting point for designing and developing a new set of OGT inhibitors that may prove useful for exploring the biology of OGT.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1996
Pages (from-to)1-21
JournalMolecules (Basel, Switzerland)
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 2 Mar 2022


  • O-GlcNAc transferase
  • OGT inhibitors
  • virtual screening


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