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Modi V, Dunbrack RL
Defining a new nomenclature for the structures of active and inactive kinases
Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A (2019) 116:6818-6827.
Targeting protein kinases is an important strategy for intervention in cancer. Inhibitors are directed at the active conformation or a variety of inactive conformations. While attempts have been made to classify these conformations, a structurally rigorous catalog of states has not been achieved. The kinase activation loop is crucial for catalysis and begins with the conserved DFGmotif. This motif is observed in two major classes of conformations, DFGin-a set of active and inactive conformations where the Phe residue is in contact with the C-helix of the N-terminal lobe-and DFGout-an inactive form where Phe occupies the ATP site exposing the C-helix pocket. We have developed a clustering of kinase conformations based on the location of the Phe side chain (DFGin, DFGout, and DFGinter or intermediate) and the backbone dihedral angles of the sequence X-D-F, where X is the residue before the DFGmotif, and the DFG-Phe side-chain rotamer, utilizing a density-based clustering algorithm. We have identified eight distinct conformations and labeled them based on the Ramachandran regions (A, alpha; B, beta; L, left) of the XDF motif and the Phe rotamer (minus, plus, trans). Our clustering divides the DFGin group into six clusters including BLAminus, which contains active structures, and two common inactive forms, BLBplus and ABAminus. DFGout structures are predominantly in the BBAminus conformation, which is essentially required for binding type II inhibitors. The inactive conformations have specific features that make them unable to bind ATP, magnesium, and/or substrates. Our structurally intuitive nomenclature will aid in understanding the conformational dynamics of kinases and structure-based development of kinase drugs.
Publication Date: 2019-04-02.
PMCID: PMC6452665
Last updated on Saturday, August 22, 2020