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ACS Chem Biol. 2012 Jan 20;7(1):185-96. doi: 10.1021/cb200305u. Epub 2011 Oct 21.

Selective aurora kinase inhibitors identified using a taxol-induced checkpoint sensitivity screen.

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Department of Cancer Biology, Dana Farber Cancer Institute, Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts 02115, United States.


The members of the Aurora kinase family play critical roles in the regulation of the cell cycle and mitotic spindle assembly and have been intensively investigated as potential targets for a new class of anticancer drugs. We describe a new highly potent and selective class of Aurora kinase inhibitors discovered using a phenotypic cellular screen. Optimized inhibitors display many of the hallmarks of Aurora inhibition including endoreduplication, polyploidy, and loss of cell viability in cancer cells. Structure-activity relationships with respect to kinome-wide selectivity and guided by an Aurora B co-crystal structure resulted in the identification of key selectivity determinants and discovery of a subseries with selectivity toward Aurora A. A direct comparison of biochemical and cellular profiles with respect to published Aurora inhibitors including VX-680, AZD1152, MLN8054, and a pyrimidine-based compound from Genentech demonstrates that compounds 1 and 3 will become valuable additional pharmacological probes of Aurora-dependent functions.

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