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Packing defects as selectivity switches for drug-based protein inhibitors

Packing defects as selectivity switches for drug-based protein inhibitors


The conservation of structure across homolog proteins often diffuses the impact of drug-based inhibition by promoting alternative protein-ligand associations that may lead to toxic side effects. However, sticky packing defects are typically not conserved across homologs, making them valuable a priori targets to enhance specificity. By introducing a homology to quantify packing differences among proteins, we enable a previously undescribed strategy for the design of highly selective drug inhibitors involving ligands that wrap nonconserved packing defects. The selectivity of these ligands is validated by performing affinity assays on a cancer-related pharmacokinome. Minor reengineering of a powerful inhibitor guided by wrapping differences across its target kinome can selectively direct its impact toward a specific kinase. Thus, nonconserved packing defects may be used as selectivity switches across homolog targets, using spatial displacements of packing defects across aligned protein structures.
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