Inhibitors of the Abl kinase directed at either the ATP- or myristate-binding site

Biochim Biophys Acta. 2010 Mar;1804(3):454-62. doi: 10.1016/j.bbapap.2009.12.009.


The ATP-competitive inhibitors dasatinib and nilotinib, which bind to catalytically different conformations of the Abl kinase domain, have recently been approved for the treatment of imatinib-resistant CML. These two new drugs, albeit very efficient against most of the imatinib-resistant mutants of Bcr-Abl, fail to effectively suppress the Bcr-Abl activity of the T315I (or gatekeeper) mutation. Generating new ATP site-binding drugs that target the T315I in Abl has been hampered, amongst others, by target selectivity, which is frequently an issue when developing ATP-competitive inhibitors. Recently, using an unbiased cellular screening approach, GNF-2, a non-ATP-competitive inhibitor, has been identified that demonstrates cellular activity against Bcr-Abl transformed cells. The exquisite selectivity of GNF-2 is due to the finding that it targets the myristate binding site located near the C-terminus of the Abl kinase domain, as demonstrated by genetic approaches, solution NMR and X-ray crystallography. GNF-2, like myristate, is able to induce and/or stabilize the clamped inactive conformation of Abl analogous to the SH2-Y527 interaction of Src. The molecular mechanism for allosteric inhibition by the GNF-2 inhibitor class, and the combined effects with ATP-competitive inhibitors such as nilotinib and imatinib on wild-type Abl and imatinib-resistant mutants, in particular the T315I gatekeeper mutant, are reviewed.

MeSH terms

  • Adenosine Triphosphate / chemistry*
  • Adenosine Triphosphate / metabolism
  • Allosteric Regulation / drug effects
  • Allosteric Regulation / genetics
  • Benzamides
  • Crystallography, X-Ray
  • Drug Resistance, Neoplasm / drug effects
  • Drug Resistance, Neoplasm / genetics
  • Humans
  • Imatinib Mesylate
  • Mutation, Missense
  • Myristic Acid / chemistry*
  • Myristic Acid / metabolism
  • Neoplasms / drug therapy
  • Neoplasms / enzymology
  • Neoplasms / genetics
  • Nuclear Magnetic Resonance, Biomolecular
  • Piperazines / chemistry
  • Piperazines / therapeutic use
  • Protein Kinase Inhibitors / chemistry*
  • Protein Kinase Inhibitors / therapeutic use
  • Protein Structure, Tertiary / genetics
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-abl / antagonists & inhibitors*
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-abl / chemistry*
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-abl / genetics
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-abl / metabolism
  • Pyrimidines / chemistry
  • Pyrimidines / therapeutic use


  • Benzamides
  • Piperazines
  • Protein Kinase Inhibitors
  • Pyrimidines
  • Myristic Acid
  • Imatinib Mesylate
  • Adenosine Triphosphate
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-abl