Insights into the binding mode of MEK type-III inhibitors. A step towards discovering and designing allosteric kinase inhibitors across the human kinome
Protein kinases are critical drug targets for treating a large variety of human diseases. Type-III kinase inhibitors have attracted increasing attention as highly selective therapeutics. Thus, understanding the binding mechanism of existing type-III kinase inhibitors provides useful insights into designing new type-III kinase inhibitors. In this work, we have systematically studied the binding mode of MEK-targeted type-III inhibitors using structural systems pharmacology and molecular dynamics simulation. Our studies provide detailed sequence, structure, interaction-fingerprint, pharmacophore and binding-site information on the binding characteristics of MEK type-III kinase inhibitors. We hypothesize that the helix-folding activation loop is a hallmark allosteric binding site for type-III inhibitors. Subsequently, we screened and predicted allosteric binding sites across the human kinome, suggesting other kinases as potential targets suitable for type-III inhibitors.