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Staurosporine-Derived Inhibitors Broaden the Scope of Analog-Sensitive Kinase Technology

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journal contribution
posted on 04.12.2013, 00:00 by Michael S. Lopez, Jonathan W. Choy, Ulf Peters, Martin L. Sos, David O. Morgan, Kevan M. Shokat
Analog-sensitive (AS) kinase technology is a powerful approach for studying phospho-signaling pathways in diverse organisms and physiological processes. The key feature of this technique is that a kinase-of-interest can be mutated to sensitize it to inhibitor analogs that do not target wild-type (WT) kinases. In theory, this enables specific inhibition of any kinase in cells and in mouse models of human disease. Typically, these inhibitors are identified from a small library of molecules based on the pyrazolopyrimidine (PP) scaffold. However, we recently identified a subset of native human kinases, including the Ephrin A kinase family, that are sensitive to commonly used PP inhibitors. In an effort to develop a bioorthogonal AS-kinase inhibitor and to extend this technique to PP-sensitive kinases, we sought an alternative inhibitor scaffold. Here we report the structure-based design of synthetically tractable, potent, and extremely selective AS-kinase inhibitors based on the natural product staurosporine. We demonstrate that these molecules, termed staralogs, potently target AS kinases in cells, and we employ X-ray crystallography to elucidate their mechanism of efficacy. Finally, we demonstrate that staralogs target AS mutants of PP-sensitive kinases at concentrations where there is little to no inhibition of native human kinases. Thus, staralogs represent a new class of AS-kinase inhibitors and a core component of the chemical genetic tool kit for probing kinase-signaling pathways.

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