Document Type


Publication Date



DOI: 10.3390/cancers14174187; PMCID: PMC9454493


Accumulation of missense mutant p53 (mutp53) in cancers promotes malignant progression. DNAJA1, a member of HSP40 (also known as J-domain proteins: JDPs), is shown to prevent misfolded or conformational mutp53 from proteasomal degradation. Given frequent addiction of cancers to oncogenic mutp53, depleting mutp53 by DNAJA1 inhibition is a promising approach for cancer therapy. However, there is no clinically available inhibitor for DNAJA1. Our in silico molecular docking study with a natural compound-derived small molecule library identified a plumbagin derivative, PLIHZ (plumbagin-isoniazid analog), as a potential compound binding to the J domain of DNAJA1. PLIHZ efficiently reduced the levels of DNAJA1 and several conformational mutp53 with minimal impact on DNA contact mutp53 and wild-type p53 (wtp53). An analog, called PLTFBH, which showed a similar activity to PLIHZ in reducing DNAJA1 and mutp53 levels, inhibited migration of cancer cells specifically carrying conformational mutp53, but not DNA contact mutp53, p53 null, and wtp53, which was attenuated by depletion of DNAJA1 or mutp53. Moreover, PLTFBH reduced levels of multiple other HSP40/JDPs with tyrosine 7 (Y7) and/or tyrosine 8 (Y8) but failed to deplete DNAJA1 mutants with alanine substitution of these amino acids. Our study suggests PLTFBH as a potential inhibitor for multiple HSP40/JDPs.

Journal Title

Cancers (Basel)






DNAJA1; HSP40; inhibitor; mutant p53; natural compound


Grant support

This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Publisher's Link: