Industry-academia partners to exploit USP30 as a therapy target

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Ubiquigent is supporting a Master’s student at the University of Glasgow (UoG) to undertake a research project on USP30, a (de)ubiquitylation (DUB) implicated in neurodegenerative, renal, and cardiovascular diseases.  

Overseen by Professor Helen Walden, UoG, and Dr Mehmet Gundogdu, Principal Scientist at Ubiquigent, the project aims to combine biochemistry, in vitro complex protein assembly and protein crystallography to interrogate the mechanism underlying USP30 inhibition by selected proprietary compounds.   

USP30 regulates the clearance of damaged mitochondria in a process called mitophagy. Dysregulation of mitophagy is closely linked to the development of several diseases, with USP30 modulation offering a potential treatment; USP30 inhibition, for example, has been proposed as a therapeutic strategy for Parkinson’s disease (PD).  

Although numerous USP30-targeting compounds are reported in scientific literature, only one has been approved to enter clinical evaluation so far, and the design and discovery of new compounds is hampered by a lack of a suitable USP30 crystal structure in the public domain.  

The project aims to overcome this barrier, bringing together the expertise of both groups to deliver a bespoke USP30 structural biology platform to identify novel inhibitors for treatment of a range of diseases including PD. 

Professor Helen Walden, Professor of Structural Biology, Head of School (Molecular Biosciences), University of Glasgow, said: “There is huge potential to exploit USP30 as a therapeutic target across many indications, including cardiovascular, renal, and neurodegenerative diseases. My team has worked extensively on resolving the structures of both DUBs and E3 ligases, and I look forward to combining this experience with Ubiquigent’s drug discovery expertise to support the Master’s student and resolve the crystal structure of USP30 for the design of novel therapeutics.” 

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