A Duplex Structure of SARM1 Octamers Induced by a New Inhibitor

Tami Khazma, Yarden Golan-Vaishenker, Julia Guez-Haddad, Atira Grossman, Radhika Sain, Alexander Plotnikov, Ran Zalk, Avraham Yaron, Michael Hons, Yarden Opatowsky

Research output: Working paper / PreprintPreprint


In recent years, there has been growing interest in SARM1 as a potential breakthrough drug target for treating various pathologies of axon degeneration. SARM1-mediated axon degeneration relies on its TIR domain NADase activity, but recent structural data suggest that the non-catalytic ARM domain could also serve as a pharmacological site as it has an allosteric inhibitory function. Here, we screened for synthetic small molecules that inhibit SARM1 by stabilizing the ARM-dependent inactive, compact octamer ring conformation, and tested a selected set of these compounds in a DRG axon degeneration assay. Using cryo-EM, we found that one of the newly discovered inhibitors, a Calmidazolium designated TK106, not only stabilizes the previously reported inhibited conformation of the octamer, but also promotes the formation of a meta-stable structure: a duplex of octamers (16 protomers), which we have now determined to 4.0 Å resolution. In the duplex, each ARM domain protomer is not only engaged in lateral interactions with neighboring protomers but is further stabilized by contralateral contacts with the opposing octamer ring. Mutagenesis of the duplex contact sites leads to SARM1 activation in cultured cells. Based on our data we propose that the duplex assembly constitutes an additional auto-inhibition mechanism that tightly prevents pre-mature activation and axon degeneration.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages46
StatePublished - 2 Mar 2022

Publication series

PublisherCold Spring Harbor Laboratory


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