Diptoindonesin G is a middle domain HSP90 modulator for cancer treatment

Kristine Donahue, Haibo Xie, Miyang Li, Ang Gao, Min Ma, Yidan Wang, Rose Tipton, Nicole Semanik, Tina Primeau, Shunqiang Li, Lingjun Li, Weiping Tang, Wei Xu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


HSP90 inhibitors can target many oncoproteins simultaneously, but none have made it through clinical trials due to dose-limiting toxicity and induction of heat shock response, leading to clinical resistance. We identified diptoindonesin G (dip G) as an HSP90 modulator that can promote degradation of HSP90 clients by binding to the middle domain of HSP90 (Kd = 0.13 ± 0.02 μM) without inducing heat shock response. This is likely because dip G does not interfere with the HSP90–HSF1 interaction like N-terminal inhibitors, maintaining HSF1 in a transcriptionally silent state. We found that binding of dip G to HSP90 promotes degradation of HSP90 client protein estrogen receptor α (ER), a major oncogenic driver protein in most breast cancers. Mutations in the ER ligand-binding domain (LBD) are an established mechanism of endocrine resistance and decrease the binding affinity of mainstay endocrine therapies targeting ER, reducing their ability to promote ER degradation or transcriptionally silence ER. Because dip G binds to HSP90 and does not bind to the LBD of ER, unlike endocrine therapies, it is insensitive to ER LBD mutations that drive endocrine resistance. Additionally, we determined that dip G promoted degradation of WT and mutant ER with similar efficacy, downregulated ER- and mutant ER-regulated gene expression, and inhibited WT and mutant cell proliferation. Our data suggest that dip G is not only a molecular probe to study HSP90 biology and the HSP90 conformation cycle, but also a new therapeutic avenue for various cancers, particularly endocrine-resistant breast cancer harboring ER LBD mutations.

Original languageEnglish
Article number102700
JournalJournal of Biological Chemistry
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 2022


  • ESR1
  • LBD mutations
  • breast cancer
  • estrogen receptor
  • heat shock factor protein 1
  • heat shock protein 90
  • inhibitor


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