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In Molecules (Basel, Switzerland)

The fusion oncoprotein Bcr-Abl is an aberrant tyrosine kinase responsible for chronic myeloid leukemia and acute lymphoblastic leukemia. The auto-inhibition regulatory module observed in the progenitor kinase c-Abl is lost in the aberrant Bcr-Abl, because of the lack of the N-myristoylated cap able to bind the myristoyl binding pocket also conserved in the Bcr-Abl kinase domain. A way to overcome the occurrence of resistance phenomena frequently observed for Bcr-Abl orthosteric drugs is the rational design of allosteric ligands approaching the so-called myristoyl binding pocket. The discovery of these allosteric inhibitors although very difficult and extremely challenging, represents a valuable option to minimize drug resistance, mostly due to the occurrence of mutations more frequently affecting orthosteric pockets, and to enhance target selectivity with lower off-target effects. In this perspective, we will elucidate at a molecular level the structural bases behind the Bcr-Abl allosteric control and will show how artificial intelligence can be effective to drive the automated de novo design towards off-patent regions of the chemical space.

Carofiglio Francesca, Trisciuzzi Daniela, Gambacorta Nicola, Leonetti Francesco, Stefanachi Angela, Nicolotti Orazio


Bcr-Abl, allosteric inhibitors, artificial intelligence, chronic myeloid leukemia, de novo design