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Dbf4-Cdc7 (DDK) Inhibitor PHA-767491 Displays Potent Anti-Proliferative Effects via Crosstalk with the CDK2-RB-E2F Pathway

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Article numbere2012
<mark>Journal publication date</mark>19/08/2022
Issue number8
Number of pages20
Publication StatusPublished
<mark>Original language</mark>English


Precise regulation of DNA replication complex assembly requires cyclin-dependent kinase (CDK) and Dbf4-dependent kinase (DDK) activities to activate the replicative helicase complex and initiate DNA replication. Chemical probes have been essential in the molecular analysis of DDK-mediated regulation of MCM2-7 activation and the initiation phase of DNA replication. Here, the inhibitory activity of two distinct DDK inhibitor chemotypes, PHA-767491 and XL-413, were assessed in cell-free and cell-based proliferation assays. PHA-767491 and XL-413 show distinct effects at the level of cellular proliferation, initiation of DNA replication and replisome activity. XL-413 and PHA-767491 both reduce DDK-specific phosphorylation of MCM2 but show differential potency in prevention of S-phase entry. DNA combing and DNA replication assays show that PHA-767491 is a potent inhibitor of the initiation phase of DNA replication but XL413 has weak activity. Importantly, PHA-767491 decreased E2F-mediated transcription of the G1/S regulators cyclin A2, cyclin E1 and cyclin E2, and this effect was independent of CDK9 inhibition. Significantly, the enhanced inhibitory profile of PHA-767491 is mediated by potent inhibition of both DDK and the CDK2-Rb-E2F transcriptional network, that provides the molecular basis for its increased anti-proliferative effects in RB+ cancer cell lines.