Journal article Open Access
ABSTRACT: VCP/p97 belongs to the AAA+ ATPase family and has an essential role in several cellular processes ranging from cell division to protein homeostasis. Compounds targeting p97 inhibit the main ATPase domain and cause cell death. Here, using PNA-encoded chemical libraries, we have identified two small molecules that target the regulatory domain of p97, comprising the N-terminal and the D1 ATPase domains, and do not cause cell death. One molecule, NW1028, inhibits the degradation of a p97-dependent reporter, whereas the other, NW1030, increases it. ATPase assays show that NW1028 and NW1030 do not affect the main catalytic domain of p97. Mapping of the binding site using a photo-affinity conjugate points to a cleft at the interface of the N-terminal and the D1 ATPase domains. We have therefore discovered two new compounds that bind to the regulatory domain of p97 and modulate specific p97 cellular functions. Using these compounds, we have revealed a role for p97 in the regulation of mitotic spindle orientation in HeLa cells.