Structural Insights into the Induced-fit Inhibition of Fascin by a Small-Molecule Inhibitor

Jianyun Huang, Raja Dey, Yufeng Wang, Jean Jakoncic, Igor Kurinov, Xin Yun Huang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Tumor metastasis is responsible for ~ 90% of all cancer deaths. One of the key steps of tumor metastasis is tumor cell migration and invasion. Filopodia are cell surface extensions that are critical for tumor cell migration. Fascin protein is the main actin-bundling protein in filopodia. Small-molecule fascin inhibitors block tumor cell migration, invasion, and metastasis. Here we present the structural basis for the mechanism of action of these small-molecule fascin inhibitors. X-ray crystal structural analysis of a complex of fascin and a fascin inhibitor shows that binding of the fascin inhibitor to the hydrophobic cleft between the domains 1 and 2 of fascin induces a ~ 35o rotation of domain 1, leading to the distortion of both the actin-binding sites 1 and 2 on fascin. Furthermore, the crystal structures of an inhibitor alone indicate that the conformations of the small-molecule inhibitors are dynamic. Mutations of the inhibitor-interacting residues decrease the sensitivity of fascin to the inhibitors. Our studies provide structural insights into the molecular mechanism of fascin protein function as well as the action of small-molecule fascin inhibitors.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1324-1335
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Molecular Biology
Issue number9
StatePublished - Apr 27 2018
Externally publishedYes


  • actin cytoskeleton
  • crystal structure
  • fascin
  • small-molecule inhibitor

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