Kumar N. Alagramam 1 , 2 , 3 , Suhasini R. Gopal 1 , Ruishuang Geng 1 , Daniel H.-C. Chen 1 , Ina Nemet 4 , Richard Lee 4 , Guilian Tian 4 , Masaru Miyagi 5 , Karine F. Malagu 7 , Christopher J. Lock 7 , William R. K. Esmieu 7 , Andrew P. Owens 7 , Nicola A. Lindsay 7 , Krista Ouwehand 8 , Faywell Albertus 8 , David F. Fischer 8 , Roland W. Bürli 7 , Angus M. MacLeod 7 , William E. Harte 6 , Krzysztof Palczewski 4 , Yoshikazu Imanishi 4
25 April 2016
Usher syndrome type III (USH3) characterized by progressive deafness, variable balance disorder, and blindness is caused by destabilizing mutations in the gene encoding the clarin-1 protein (CLRN1). Here we report a novel strategy to mitigate hearing loss associated with a common USH3 mutation CLRN1 N48K that involved a cell-based high-throughput screening of small molecules capable of stabilizing CLRN1 N48K, a secondary screening to eliminate general proteasome inhibitors, and finally an iterative process to optimize structure activity relationships. This resulted in the identification of BF844. To test the efficacy of BF844, a mouse model was developed that mimicked the progressive hearing loss of USH3. BF844 effectively attenuated progressive hearing loss and prevented deafness in this model. Because the human CLRN1 N48K mutation causes both hearing and vision loss, BF844 could in principle prevent both sensory deficiencies in USH3. Moreover, the strategy described here could help identify drugs for other protein-destabilizing monogenic disorders.