PloS one

Lapatinib-binding protein kinases in the African trypanosome: identification of cellular targets for kinase-directed chemical scaffolds.

PMID 23437089


Human African trypanosomiasis is caused by the eukaryotic microbe Trypanosoma brucei. To discover new drugs against the disease, one may use drugs in the clinic for other indications whose chemical scaffolds can be optimized via a medicinal chemistry campaign to achieve greater potency against the trypanosome. Towards this goal, we tested inhibitors of human EGFR and/or VEGFR as possible anti-trypanosome compounds. The 4-anilinoquinazolines canertinib and lapatinib, and the pyrrolopyrimidine AEE788 killed bloodstream T. brucei in vitro with GI(50) in the low micromolar range. Curiously, the genome of T. brucei does not encode EGFR or VEGFR, indicating that the drugs recognize alternate proteins. To discover these novel targets, a trypanosome lysate was adsorbed to an ATP-sepharose matrix and washed with a high salt solution followed by nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NAD(+)). Proteins that remained bound to the column were eluted with drugs, and identified by mass spectrometry/bioinformatics. Lapatinib bound to Tb927.4.5180 (termed T. brucei lapatinib-binding protein kinase-1 (TbLBPK1)) while AEE788 bound Tb927.5.800 (TbLBPK2). When the NAD(+) wash was omitted from the protocol, AEE788, canertinib and lapatinib eluted TbLBPK1, TbLBPK2, and Tb927.3.1570 (TbLBPK3). In addition, both canertinib and lapatinib eluted Tb10.60.3140 (TbLBPK4), whereas only canertinib desorbed Tb10.61.1880 (TbCBPK1). Lapatinib binds to a unique conformation of protein kinases. To gain insight into the structural basis for lapatinib interaction with TbLBPKs, we constructed three-dimensional models of lapatinib•TbLBPK complexes, which confirmed that TbLBPKs can adopt lapatinib-compatible conformations. Further, lapatinib, AEE788, and canertinib were docked to TbLBPKs with favorable scores. Our studies (a) present novel targets of kinase-directed drugs in the trypanosome, and (b) offer the 4-anilinoquinazoline and pyrrolopyrimidines as scaffolds worthy of medicinal chemistry and structural biology campaigns to develop them into anti-trypanosome drugs.

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AEE788, ≥98% (HPLC)
CI-1033, ≥98% (HPLC)
C24H25ClFN5O3· 2HCl