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Pseudokinases play important roles in signal transduction and cellular processes similar to those of catalytically competent kinases. However, pseudokinase pharmacological tractability and conformational space accessibility are poorly understood. Pseudokinases have only recently been suggested to adopt "inactive" conformations or interact with conformation-specific kinase inhibitors (e.g., type II compounds). In this work, the heavily substituted pseudokinase STRADα, which possesses a DFG → GLR substitution in the catalytic site that permits nucleotide binding while impairing divalent cation coordination, is used as a test case to demonstrate the potential applicability of conformation-specific, type II compounds to pseudokinase pharmacology. Integrated structural modeling is employed to generate a "GLR-out" conformational ensemble. Likely interacting type II compounds are identified through virtual screening against this ensemble model. Biophysical validation of compound binding is demonstrated through protein thermal stabilization and ATP competition. Localization of a top-performing compound through surface methylation strongly suggests that STRADα can adopt the "GLR-out" conformation and interact with compounds that comply with the standard type II pharmacophore. These results suggest that, despite a loss of catalytic function, some pseudokinases, including STRADα, may retain the conformational switching properties of conventional protein kinases.


Ryan H B Smith, Zaigham M Khan, Peter Man-Un Ung, Alex P Scopton, Lisa Silber, Seshat M Mack, Alexander M Real, Avner Schlessinger, Arvin C Dar. Type II Binders Targeting the "GLR-Out" Conformation of the Pseudokinase STRADα. Biochemistry. 2021 Feb 02;60(4):289-302

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PMID: 33440120

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