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The transforming growth factor beta-receptor I/activin receptor-like kinase 5 (TGFBR1/ALK5) and its close homologue ALK4 are receptor protein kinases associated with the development of diverse diseases, including cancer, fibrosis, heart diseases, and dysfunctional immune response. Therefore, ALK4/5 are among the most studied kinases, and several inhibitors have been developed. However, current commercially available inhibitors either lack selectivity or have not been comprehensively characterized, limiting their value for studying ALK4/5 function in cellular systems. To this end, we report the characterization of the 2-oxo-imidazopyridine, TP-008, a potent chemical probe with dual activity for ALK4 and ALK5 as well as the development of a matching negative control compound. TP-008 has excellent cellular potency and strongly abrogates phosphorylation of the substrate SMAD2 (mothers against decapentaplegic homologue 2). Thus, this chemical probe offers an excellent tool for mechanistic studies on the ALK4/5 signaling pathway and the contribution of these targets to disease.


Thomas Hanke, Jong Fu Wong, Benedict-Tilman Berger, Ismahan Abdi, Lena Marie Berger, Roberta Tesch, Claudia Tredup, Alex N Bullock, Susanne Müller, Stefan Knapp. A Highly Selective Chemical Probe for Activin Receptor-like Kinases ALK4 and ALK5. ACS chemical biology. 2020 Apr 17;15(4):862-870

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PMID: 32176847

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