Small-molecule hydrophobic tagging-induced degradation of HaloTag fusion proteins

Taavi K. Neklesa, Hyun Seop Tae, Ashley R. Schneekloth, Michael J. Stulberg, Timothy W. Corson, Thomas B. Sundberg, Kanak Raina, Scott A. Holley, Craig M. Crews

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

153 Scopus citations


The ability to regulate any protein of interest in living systems with small molecules remains a challenge. We hypothesized that appending a hydrophobic moiety to the surface of a protein would mimic the partially denatured state of the protein, thus engaging the cellular quality control machinery to induce its proteasomal degradation. We designed and synthesized bifunctional small molecules to bind a bacterial dehalogenase (the HaloTag protein) and present a hydrophobic group on its surface. Hydrophobic tagging of the HaloTag protein with an adamantyl moiety induced the degradation of cytosolic, isoprenylated and transmembrane HaloTag fusion proteins in cell culture. We demonstrated the in vivo utility of hydrophobic tagging by degrading proteins expressed in zebrafish embryos and by inhibiting Hras1 G12V -driven tumor progression in mice. Therefore, hydrophobic tagging of HaloTag fusion proteins affords small-molecule control over any protein of interest, making it an ideal system for validating potential drug targets in disease models.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)538-543
Number of pages6
JournalNature chemical biology
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 2011

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'Small-molecule hydrophobic tagging-induced degradation of HaloTag fusion proteins'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

  • Cite this

    Neklesa, T. K., Tae, H. S., Schneekloth, A. R., Stulberg, M. J., Corson, T. W., Sundberg, T. B., Raina, K., Holley, S. A., & Crews, C. M. (2011). Small-molecule hydrophobic tagging-induced degradation of HaloTag fusion proteins. Nature chemical biology, 7(8), 538-543.