Inhibition of signal transduction downstream of the IL-23 receptor represents an intriguing approach to the treatment of autoimmunity. Using a chemogenomics approach marrying kinome-wide inhibitory profiles of a compound library with the cellular activity against an IL-23-stimulated transcriptional response in T lymphocytes, a class of inhibitors was identified that bind to and stabilize the pseudokinase domain of the Janus kinase tyrosine kinase 2 (Tyk2), resulting in blockade of receptor-mediated activation of the adjacent catalytic domain. These Tyk2 pseudokinase domain stabilizers were also shown to inhibit Tyk2-dependent signaling through the Type I interferon receptor but not Tyk2-independent signaling and transcriptional cellular assays, including stimulation through the receptors for IL-2 (JAK1- and JAK3-dependent) and thrombopoietin (JAK2-dependent), demonstrating the high functional selectivity of this approach. A crystal structure of the pseudokinase domain liganded with a representative example showed the compound bound to a site analogous to the ATP-binding site in catalytic kinases with features consistent with high ligand selectivity. The results support a model where the pseudokinase domain regulates activation of the catalytic domain by forming receptor-regulated inhibitory interactions. Tyk2 pseudokinase stabilizers, therefore, represent a novel approach to the design of potent and selective agents for the treatment of autoimmunity.
Keywords: Allosteric Regulation; Janus Kinase (JAK); Molecular Pharmacology; Pseudokinase; Signal Transduction; Structural Biology.
© 2015 by The American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Inc.