Madeline E Kavanagh, Benjamin D Horning, Roli Khattri, Nilotpal Roy, Justine P Lu, Landon R Whitby, Jaclyn C Brannon, Albert Parker, Joel M Chick, Christie L Eissler, Ashley Wong, Joe L Rodriguez, Socorro Rodiles, Kim Masuda, John R Teijaro, Gabriel M Simon, Matthew P Patricelli, Benjamin F Cravatt
The JAK family of non-receptor tyrosine kinases includes four subtypes (JAK1, JAK2, JAK3, and TYK2) and is responsible for signal transduction downstream of diverse cytokine receptors. JAK inhibitors have emerged as important therapies for immuno(onc)ological disorders, but their use is limited by undesirable side effects presumed to arise from poor subtype selectivity, a common challenge for inhibitors targeting the ATP-binding pocket of kinases. Here, we describe the chemical proteomic discovery of a druggable allosteric cysteine present in the non-catalytic pseudokinase domain of JAK1 (C817) and TYK2 (C838), but absent from JAK2 or JAK3. Electrophilic compounds selectively engaging this site block JAK1-dependent transphosphorylation and cytokine signaling, while appearing to act largely as “silent” ligands for TYK2. Importantly, the allosteric JAK1 inhibitors do not impair JAK2-dependent cytokine signaling and are inactive in cells expressing a C817A JAK1 mutant. Our findings thus reveal an allosteric approach for inhibiting JAK1 with unprecedented subtype selectivity.