December 2, 2011

Tinghu develops the first covalent pan-JNK inhibitors!

The mitogen activated kinases JNK1/2/3 are key enzymes in signaling modules that transduce and integrate extracellular stimuli into coordinated cellular response. Here we report the discovery of the first irreversible inhibitors of JNK1/2/3. We describe two JNK3 co-crystal structures at 2.60 and 2.97 Å resolutions that show the compounds form covalent bonds with a conserved cysteine residue. JNK-IN-8 is a selective JNK inhibitor that inhibits phosphorylation of c-Jun, a direct substrate of JNK kinase, in cells exposed to sub-micromolar drug in a manner that depends on covalent modification of the conserved cysteine residue. Extensive biochemical, cellular and pathway-based profiling establish the selectivity of JNK-IN-8 for JNK and suggest that the compound will be broadly useful as a pharmacological probe of JNK-dependent signal transduction. Potential lead compounds have also been identified for kinases including IRAK1, PIK3C3, PIP4K2C, and PIP5K3.