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PLoS One. 2011 Jan 10;6(1):e15929. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0015929.

Allosteric interactions between the myristate- and ATP-site of the Abl kinase.

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Department of Chemistry & Chemical Biology, and The Barnett Institute for Chemical and Biological Analysis, Northeastern University, Boston, Massachusetts, United States of America.


Abl kinase inhibitors targeting the ATP binding pocket are currently employed as potent anti-leukemogenic agents but drug resistance has become a significant clinical limitation. Recently, a compound that binds to the myristate pocket of Abl (GNF-5) was shown to act cooperatively with nilotinib, an ATP-competitive inhibitor to target the recalcitrant "T315I" gatekeeper mutant of Bcr-Abl. To uncover an explanation for how drug binding at a distance from the kinase active site could lead to inhibition and how inhibitors could combine their effects, hydrogen exchange mass spectrometry (HX MS) was employed to monitor conformational effects in the presence of both dasatinib, a clinically approved ATP-site inhibitor, and GNF-5. While dasatinib binding to wild type Abl clearly influenced Abl conformation, no binding was detected between dasatinib and T315I. GNF-5, however, elicited the same conformational changes in both wild type and T315I, including changes to dynamics within the ATP site located approximately 25 Å from the site of GNF-5 interaction. Simultaneous binding of dasatinib and GNF-5 to T315I caused conformational and/or dynamics changes in Abl such that effects of dasatinib on T315I were the same as when it bound to wild type Abl. These results provide strong biophysical evidence that allosteric interactions play a role in Abl kinase downregulation and that targeting sites outside the ATP binding site can provide an important pharmacological tool to overcome mutations that cause resistance to ATP-competitive inhibitors.

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