Homocysteine-targeting compounds as a new treatment strategy for diabetic wounds via inhibition of the histone methyltransferase SET7/9

Guodong Li, Dan Li, Chun Wu, Shengnan Li, Feng Chen, Peng Li, Chung Nga Ko, Wanhe Wang, Simon Ming Yuen Lee, Ligen Lin*, Dik Lung Ma*, Chung Hang Leung*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articlepeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)


In hypoxia and hyperglycemia, SET7/9 plays an important role in controlling HIF-1α methylation and regulating the transcription of HIF-1α target genes, which are responsible for angiogenesis and wound healing. Here, we report the Ir(III) complex Set7_1a bearing acetonitrile (ACN) ligands as a SET7/9 methyltransferase inhibitor and HIF-1α stabilizer. Interestingly, Set7_1a could engage SET7/9 and strongly inhibit SET7/9 activity, especially after preincubation with homocysteine (Hcy), which is elevated in diabetes. We hypothesize that Set7_1a exchanges ACN subunits for Hcy to disrupt the interaction between SET7/9 and SAM/SAH, which are structurally related to Hcy. Inhibition of SET7/9 methyltransferase activity by Set7_1a led to reduced HIF-1α methylation at the lysine 32 residue, causing increased HIF-1α level and recruitment of HIF-1α target genes that promote angiogenesis, such as VEGF, GLUT1, and EPO, in hypoxia and hyperglycemia. Significantly, Set7_1a improved wound healing in a type 2 diabetic mouse model by activating HIF-1α signaling and downstream proangiogenic factors. To our knowledge, this is the first Hcy-targeting iridium compound shown to be a SET7/9 antagonist that can accelerate diabetic wound healing. More importantly, this study opens a therapeutic avenue for the treatment of diabetic wounds by the inhibition of SET7/9 lysine methyltransferase activity.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)988-998
Number of pages11
JournalExperimental and Molecular Medicine
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2022

Scopus Subject Areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Medicine
  • Molecular Biology
  • Clinical Biochemistry


Dive into the research topics of 'Homocysteine-targeting compounds as a new treatment strategy for diabetic wounds via inhibition of the histone methyltransferase SET7/9'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this