Published: Oct. 29, 2019

The identification of activating mutations in NOTCH1 in 50% of T cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia has generated interest in elucidating how these mutations contribute to oncogenic transformation and in targeting the pathway. A phenotypic screen identified compounds that interfere with trafficking of Notch and induce apoptosis via an endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress mechanism. Target identification approaches revealed a role for SLC39A7 (ZIP7), a zinc transport family member, in governing Notch trafficking and signaling. Generation and sequencing of a compound-resistant cell line identified a V430E mutation in ZIP7 that confers transferable resistance to the compound NVS-ZP7-4. NVS-ZP7-4 altered zinc in the ER, and an analog of the compound photoaffinity labeled ZIP7 in cells, suggesting a direct interaction between the compound and ZIP7. NVS-ZP7-4 is the first reported chemical tool to probe the impact of modulating ER zinc levels and investigate ZIP7 as a novel druggable node in the Notch pathway.