Cyclin-dependent kinases (CDK) are attractive targets for drug discovery due to their wide range of cellular functions. CDK11 is an understudied CDK with roles in transcription and splicing, cell cycle regulation, neuronal function, and apoptosis. In this study, we describe a medicinal chemistry campaign to identify a CDK11 inhibitor. Employing a promising but nonselective CDK11-targeting scaffold (JWD-047), extensive structure-guided medicinal chemistry modifications led to the identification of ZNL-05-044. A combination of biochemical evaluations and NanoBRET cellular assays for target engagement guided the SAR towards a 2,4-diaminothiazoles CDK11 probe with significantly improved kinome-wide selectivity over JWD-047. CDK11 inhibition with ZNL-05-044 leads to G2/M cell cycle arrest, consistent with prior work evaluating OTS964, and impacts CDK11-dependent mRNA splicing in cells. Together, ZNL-05-044 serves as a tool compound for further optimization and interrogation of the consequences of CDK11 inhibition.
- Kinase inhibitor
- Serine/threonine protein kinase
- Structure-activity relationship
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Drug Discovery
- Organic Chemistry