Binding of the antibacterial drug clofoctol and analogues to the Cdc7/Dbf4 kinase complex. A computational study
Drugs targeting the cell division cycle kinase 7 (Cdc7) are actively searched for the treatment of different pathologies such as amyotrophic lateral sclerosis and cancer. Cdc7 interacts with multiple protein partners, including protein Dbf4 to form the Dbf4-dependent kinase (DDK) complex which regulates DNA replication initiation. Cdc7 and its activator Dbf4 are over-expressed in some cancers. The antibacterial drug clofoctol (CFT), used to treat respiratory tract infections, has been shown to block Cdc7 kinase activity, acting as a non-ATP-competitive inhibitor, capable of arresting DNA synthesis in cancer cells. We have modeled the interaction of CFT with the DDK complex and identified four potential binding sites at the interface of the Cdc7/Dbf4 heterodimer: at T109 and D128 (Cdc7), V220 and I330 (Dbf4). CFT behaves as an interfacial protein-protein inhibitor of the Cdc7/Dbf4 complex, limiting drug access to the proximal kinase site. Six CFT analogues have been tested for binding to the kinase complex. Two potent binders were analyzed in detail. The CFT structure was modulated to replace the two chlorine atoms with hydroxyl groups. The empirical potential energy of interaction (ΔE) calculated with hydroxylated compounds points to a more favorable interaction with the DDK complex, in particular at D128 site with the compound bearing two ortho-OH groups. Our work contributes to the identification of novel DDK inhibitors.
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