National Center for
3EL8: Crystal Structure Of C-Src In Complex With Pyrazolopyrimidine 5
Chem. Biol. (2008) 15 p.1015-1022
The cancer drug, Imatinib, is a selective Abl kinase inhibitor that does not inhibit the closely related kinase c-Src. This one drug and its ability to selectively inhibit Abl over c-Src has been a guiding principle in virtually all kinase drug discovery efforts in the last 15 years. A prominent hypothesis explaining the selectivity of Imatinib is that Abl has an intrinsic ability to adopt an inactive conformation (termed DFG-out), whereas c-Src appears to pay a high intrinsic energetic penalty for adopting this conformation, effectively excluding Imatinib from its ATP pocket. This explanation of the difference in binding affinity of Imatinib for Abl versus c-Src makes the striking prediction that it would not be possible to design an inhibitor that binds to the DFG-out conformation of c-Src with high affinity. We report the discovery of a series of such inhibitors. We use structure-activity relationships and X-ray crystallography to confirm our findings. These studies suggest that small molecules are capable of inducing the generally unfavorable DFG-out conformation in c-Src. Structural comparison between c-Src in complex with these inhibitors allows us to speculate on the differential selectivity of Imatinib for c-Src and Abl.