MKK4/7 are kinases that phosphorylate JNKs and regulate the MAPK signaling pathway. Their overexpression has been associated with tumorigenesis and aggressiveness in cancers such as breast, prostate, non-small cell lung, and pediatric leukemia, making them a potential target for inhibitor development. Here, we report the discovery, development, and validation of a dual MKK4/7 inhibitor, BSJ-04-122, that covalently targets a conserved cysteine located before the DFG motif and displays excellent kinome selectivity. BSJ-04-122 exhibits potent cellular target engagement and induces robust target-specific downstream effects. The combination of the dual MKK4/7 inhibitor with a selective, covalent JNK inhibitor demonstrated an enhanced antiproliferative activity against triple-negative breast cancer cells. Taken together, the results show that BSJ-04-122 represents a pharmacological probe for MKK4/7 and credential covalent targeting as a way to explore the therapeutic potential of these kinases.
Keywords: MKK4/7; breast cancer; small-molecule kinase inhibitor; target therapy.
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