Tangpo Yang, Adolfo Cuesta, Xiaobo Wan, Gregory B. Craven, Brad Hirakawa, Penney Khamphavong, Jeffrey R. May, John C. Kath, John D. Lapek Jr., Sherry Niessen, Alma L. Burlingame, Jordan D. Carelli & Jack Taunton
Nat Chem Biol (2022).
The expansion of the target landscape of covalent inhibitors requires the engagement of nucleophiles beyond cysteine. Although the conserved catalytic lysine in protein kinases is an attractive candidate for a covalent approach, selectivity remains an obvious challenge. Moreover, few covalent inhibitors have been shown to engage the kinase catalytic lysine in animals. We hypothesized that reversible, lysine-targeted inhibitors could provide sustained kinase engagement in vivo, with selectivity driven in part by differences in residence time. By strategically linking benzaldehydes to a promiscuous kinase binding scaffold, we developed chemoproteomic probes that reversibly and covalently engage >200 protein kinases in cells and mice. Probe–kinase residence time was dramatically enhanced by a hydroxyl group ortho to the aldehyde. Remarkably, only a few kinases, including Aurora A, showed sustained, quasi-irreversible occupancy in vivo, the structural basis for which was revealed by X-ray crystallography. We anticipate broad application of salicylaldehyde-based probes to proteins that lack a druggable cysteine.