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J Mol Biol. 2009 Mar 20;387(1):219-32. doi: 10.1016/j.jmb.2009.01.041. Epub 2009 Jan 29.

Dissecting specificity in the Janus kinases: the structures of JAK-specific inhibitors complexed to the JAK1 and JAK2 protein tyrosine kinase domains.

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  • 1Protein Crystallography Unit, Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, School of Biomedical Sciences, Monash University, Clayton, Victoria, Australia.


The Janus kinases (JAKs) are a pivotal family of protein tyrosine kinases (PTKs) that play prominent roles in numerous cytokine signaling pathways, with aberrant JAK activity associated with a variety of hematopoietic malignancies, cardiovascular diseases and immune-related disorders. Whereas the structures of the JAK2 and JAK3 PTK domains have been determined, the structure of the JAK1 PTK domain is unknown. Here, we report the high-resolution crystal structures of the "active form" of the JAK1 PTK domain in complex with two JAK inhibitors, a tetracyclic pyridone 2-t-butyl-9-fluoro-3,6-dihydro-7H-benz[h]-imidaz[4,5-f]isoquinoline-7-one (CMP6) and (3R,4R)-3-[4-methyl-3-[N-methyl-N-(7H-pyrrolo[2,3-d]pyrimidin-4-yl)amino]piperidin-1-yl]-3-oxopropionitrile (CP-690,550), and compare them with the corresponding JAK2 PTK inhibitor complexes. Both inhibitors bound in a similar manner to JAK1, namely buried deep within a constricted ATP-binding site, thereby providing a basis for the potent inhibition of JAK1. As expected, the mode of inhibitor binding in JAK1 was very similar to that observed in JAK2, highlighting the challenges in developing JAK-specific inhibitors that target the ATP-binding site. Nevertheless, differences surrounding the JAK1 and JAK2 ATP-binding sites were apparent, thereby providing a platform for the rational design of JAK2- and JAK1-specific inhibitors.

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