Send to

Choose Destination
Chem Biol. 1995 Sep;2(9):601-8.

Molecular design and biological activity of potent and selective protein kinase inhibitors related to balanol.

Author information

Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, University of California, San Diego, La Jolla 92093, USA.



The protein kinase C (PKC) family of serine/threonine-specific protein kinases is involved in many cellular processes, and the unregulated activation of PKC has been implicated in carcinogenesis. PKC inhibitors thus have significant potential as chemotherapeutic agents. Recently, the fungal metabolite balanol was shown to be an exceptionally potent inhibitor of PKC. We previously developed a practical and efficient total synthesis of balanol. We set out to use this synthetic molecule, and several synthetic analogs, to probe the mechanism of PKC inhibition and to determine the effect of balanol on the activity of other protein kinases.


As well as inhibiting PKC, balanol is a potent inhibitor of cyclic AMP-dependent protein kinase (PKA), another protein serine/threonine kinase. Balanol does not, however, inhibit the Src or epidermal growth factor receptor protein tyrosine kinases. The inhibition of both PKC and PKA by balanol can be overcome by high concentrations of ATP, and molecular modeling studies suggest that balanol may function as an ATP structural analog. Although balanol discriminates rather poorly between PKC and PKA, only minor modifications to its molecular structure are required to furnish compounds that are highly specific inhibitors of PKA.


A number of balanol analogs have been designed and synthesized that, unlike balanol itself, exhibit dramatic selectivity between PKA and PKC. Thus, despite the substantial homology between the catalytic domains of PKA and PKC, there is enough difference to allow for the development of potent and selective inhibitors acting in this region. These inhibitors should be useful tools for analyzing signal transduction pathways and may also aid in the development of drugs with significant therapeutic potential.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free full text

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Elsevier Science
Loading ...
Support Center