Small molecule and peptide inhibitors of the pro-survival protein Mcl-1

Lesley Howell, Andrew Beekman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

32 Citations (Scopus)
25 Downloads (Pure)


The ability of protein–protein interactions to regulate cellular processes in both beneficial and detrimental ways has made them obvious drug targets. The Bcl-2 family of proteins undergo a series of protein–protein interactions which regulate the intrinsic cell-death pathway. The pro-survival members of the Bcl-2 family, including Bcl-2, Bcl-xL, and Mcl-1, are commonly overexpressed in a number of human cancers. Effective modulators of members of the Bcl-2 family have been developed and are undergoing clinical trials, but the efficient modulation of Mcl-1 is still not represented in the clinic. In addition, Mcl-1 is a major cause of resistance to radio- and chemotherapies, including inhibitors that target other Bcl-2 family members. Subsequently, the inhibition of Mcl-1 has become of significant interest to the scientific community. This review covers the progress made to date in modulating the activity of Mcl-1, by both stapled peptides and small molecules. The development of peptides as drug candidates, and the advancement of experimental and computational techniques used to discover small molecules are also highlighted.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)802–813
Number of pages12
Issue number8
Early online date23 Dec 2015
Publication statusPublished - 19 Apr 2016


  • Bcl-2
  • Mcl-1
  • protein–protein interactions
  • small-molecule inhibitors
  • stapled peptides

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