[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The phosphoinositide-dependent protein kinase 1, PDK1, is a master kinase that phosphorylates the activation loop of up to 23 AGC kinases. S. cerevisiae has three PDK1 orthologues, Pkh1-3, which also phosphorylate AGC kinases, e.g. Ypk, Tpk, Pkc1 and Sch9. Pkh1 and 2 are redundant proteins involved in multiple essential cellular functions, including endocytosis and cell wall integrity. Based on similarities with the budding yeast, the Pkh of fungal infectious species was postulated as a novel target for antifungals. Here, we found that depletion of Pkh eventually induces oxidative stress and DNA double-strand breaks, leading to programmed cell death. This finding supports Pkh as an antifungal target since pharmacological inhibition of Pkh would lead to the death of yeast cells, the ultimate goal of antifungals. It was therefore of interest to further investigate the possibility to develop Pkh inhibitors with selectivity for Candida Pkh that would not inhibit the human ortholog. Here, we describe C. albicans Pkh2 biochemically, structurally and by using chemical probes in comparison to human PDK1. We found that a regulatory site on the C.albicans Pkh2 catalytic domain, the PIF-pocket, diverges from human PDK1. Indeed, we identified and characterized PS77, a new small allosteric inhibitor directed to the PIF-pocket, which has increased selectivity for C. albicans Pkh2. Together, our results describe novel features of the biology of Pkh and chemical biology approaches that support the validation of Pkh as a drug target for selective antifungals.
ACS Chemical Biology 08/2013; 8(10). DOI:10.1021/cb400452z · 5.36 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Protein kinases are key mediators of cellular signaling, and therefore, their activities are tightly controlled. AGC kinases are regulated by phosphorylation and by N- and C-terminal regions. Here, we studied the molecular mechanism of inhibition of atypical PKCζ and found that the inhibition by the N-terminal region cannot be explained by a simple pseudosubstrate inhibitory mechanism. Notably, we found that the C1 domain allosterically inhibits PKCζ activity and verified an allosteric communication between the PIF-pocket of atypical PKCs and the binding site of the C1 domain. Finally, we developed low-molecular-weight compounds that bind to the PIF-pocket and allosterically inhibit PKCζ activity. This work establishes a central role for the PIF-pocket on the regulation of PKCζ and allows us to envisage development of drugs targeting the PIF-pocket that can either activate or inhibit AGC kinases.