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J Med Chem. 2002 Jun 6;45(12):2366-78.

Structural classification of protein kinases using 3D molecular interaction field analysis of their ligand binding sites: target family landscapes.

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Aventis Pharma Deutschland GmbH, DI&A Chemistry, Molecular Modeling, D-65926 Frankfurt am Main, Germany.


Protein kinases are critical components of signaling pathways and trigger various biological events. Several members of this superfamily are interesting targets for novel therapeutic approaches. All known eukaryotic protein kinases exhibit a conserved catalytic core domain with an adenosine 5'-triphosphate (ATP) binding site, which often is targeted in drug discovery programs. However, as ATP is common to kinases and other proteins, specific protein-ligand interactions are crucial prerequisites for valuable ATP site-directed ligands. In the present study, a set of 26 X-ray structures of eukaryotic protein kinases were classified into subfamilies with similar protein-ligand interactions in the ATP binding site using a chemometrical approach based on principal component analysis (PCA) and consensus PCA. This classification does not rely on protein sequence similarities, as descriptors are derived from three-dimensional (3D) binding site information only computed using GRID molecular interaction fields. The resulting classification, which we refer to as "target family landscape", lead to the identification of common binding pattern and specific interaction sites for particular kinase subfamilies. Moreover, those findings are in good agreement with experimental selectivity profiles for a series of 2,6,9-substituted purines as CDK inhibitors. Their interpretation in structural terms unveiled favorable substitutions toward selective CDK inhibitors and thus allowed for a rational design of specific ligands with minimized side effects. Additional 3D-quantitative structure-activity relationship (QSAR) analyses of a larger set of CDK-directed purines lead to the identification of essential structural requirements for affinity in this CDK ATP binding site. The combined interpretation of 3D-QSAR and the kinase target family landscape provides a consistent view to protein-ligand interactions, which are both favorable for affinity and selectivity in this important subfamily.

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