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Rüben, Katharina; Wurzlbauer, Anne; Walte, Agnes; Sippl, Wolfgang; Bracher, Franz and Becker, Walter (2015): Selectivity Profiling and Biological Activity of Novel beta-Carbolines as Potent and Selective DYRK1 Kinase Inhibitors.
In: PLOS ONE 10(7), e0132453 [PDF, 4MB]

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DYRK1A is a pleiotropic protein kinase with diverse functions in cellular regulation, including cell cycle control, neuronal differentiation, and synaptic transmission. Enhanced activity and overexpression of DYRK1A have been linked to altered brain development and function in Down syndrome and neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer's disease. The beta-carboline alkaloid harmine is a high affinity inhibitor of DYRK1A but suffers from the drawback of inhibiting monoamine oxidase A (MAO-A) with even higher potency. Here we characterized a series of novel harmine analogs with minimal or absent MAO-A inhibitory activity. We identified several inhibitors with submicromolar potencies for DYRK1A and selectivity for DYRK1A and DYRK1B over the related kinases DYRK2 and HIPK2. An optimized inhibitor, AnnH75, inhibited CLK1, CLK4, and haspin/GSG2 as the only off-targets in a panel of 300 protein kinases. In cellular assays, AnnH75 dose-dependently reduced the phosphorylation of three known DYRK1A substrates (SF3B1, SEPT4, and tau) without negative effects on cell viability. AnnH75 inhibited the cotranslational tyrosine autophosphorylation of DYRK1A and threonine phosphorylation of an exogenous substrate protein with similar potency. In conclusion, we have characterized an optimized beta-carboline inhibitor as a highly selective chemical probe that complies with desirable properties of drug-like molecules and is suitable to interrogate the function of DYRK1A in biological studies.

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