Linking bioactive compounds to their cellular targets is a central challenge in chemical biology. Herein we report the mode of action of perthamide C, a natural cyclopeptide isolated from the marine sponge Theonella swinhoei. Through an emerging mass spectrometry-based chemical proteomics approach, Heat Shock Protein 90 and Glucose Regulated Protein 94 were identified as key targets of perthamide C and this evidence has been validated using surface plasmon resonance. The ability of perthamide C to influence heat shock protein-mediated cell apoptosis revealed that this marine metabolite could be a good candidate for the development of a lead compound with therapeutic applications based on apoptosis modulation.
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