Chemical structure-guided design of dynapyrazoles, cell-permeable dynein inhibitors with a unique mode of action

Elife. 2017 May 19;6:e25174. doi: 10.7554/eLife.25174.


Cytoplasmic dyneins are motor proteins in the AAA+ superfamily that transport cellular cargos toward microtubule minus-ends. Recently, ciliobrevins were reported as selective cell-permeable inhibitors of cytoplasmic dyneins. As is often true for first-in-class inhibitors, the use of ciliobrevins has in part been limited by low potency. Moreover, suboptimal chemical properties, such as the potential to isomerize, have hindered efforts to improve ciliobrevins. Here, we characterized the structure of ciliobrevins and designed conformationally constrained isosteres. These studies identified dynapyrazoles, inhibitors more potent than ciliobrevins. At single-digit micromolar concentrations dynapyrazoles block intraflagellar transport in the cilium and lysosome motility in the cytoplasm, processes that depend on cytoplasmic dyneins. Further, we find that while ciliobrevins inhibit both dynein's microtubule-stimulated and basal ATPase activity, dynapyrazoles strongly block only microtubule-stimulated activity. Together, our studies suggest that chemical-structure-based analyses can lead to inhibitors with improved properties and distinct modes of inhibition.

Keywords: Hedgehog pathway; biochemistry; chemical biology; human.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Crystallography, X-Ray
  • Dyneins / antagonists & inhibitors*
  • Enzyme Inhibitors / chemical synthesis*
  • Enzyme Inhibitors / chemistry
  • Enzyme Inhibitors / metabolism*
  • Humans
  • Molecular Structure
  • Pyrazoles / chemical synthesis*
  • Pyrazoles / chemistry
  • Pyrazoles / metabolism*
  • Quinazolinones / chemistry


  • Enzyme Inhibitors
  • Pyrazoles
  • Quinazolinones
  • Dyneins