Cyclin-dependent kinase 9 (CDK9) activity is correlated with worse outcomes of triple-negative breast cancer (TNBC) patients. The heterodimer between CDK9 with cyclin T1 is essential for maintaining the active state of the kinase and targeting this protein–protein interaction (PPI) may offer promising avenues for selective CDK9 inhibition. Herein, we designed and generated a library of metal complexes bearing the 7-chloro-2-phenylquinoline CˆN ligand and tested their activity against the CDK9–cyclin T1 PPI. Complex 1 bound to CDK9 via an enthalpically-driven binding mode, leading to disruption of the CDK9–cyclin T1 interaction in vitro and in cellulo. Importantly, complex 1 showed promising anti-metastatic activity against TNBC allografts in mice and was comparably active compared to cisplatin. To our knowledge, 1 is the first CDK9–cyclin T1 PPI inhibitor with anti-metastatic activity against TNBC. Complex 1 could serve as a new platform for the future design of more efficacious kinase inhibitors against cancer, including TNBC.
Scopus Subject Areas
- Pharmacology, Toxicology and Pharmaceutics(all)
- Kinase inhibitor
- Metal complex
- Protein–protein interaction
- Triple-negative breast cancer