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Keywords:

  • computational chemistry;
  • kinase inhibitors;
  • medicinal chemistry;
  • Parkinson’s disease;
  • polo-like kinase-2

Abstract

Polo-like kinase-2 (Plk-2) has been implicated as the dominant kinase involved in the phosphorylation of α-synuclein in Lewy bodies, which are one of the hallmarks of Parkinson’s disease neuropathology. Potent, selective, brain-penetrant inhibitors of Plk-2 were obtained from a structure-guided drug discovery approach driven by the first reported Plk-2–inhibitor complexes. The best of these compounds showed excellent isoform and kinome-wide selectivity, with physicochemical properties sufficient to interrogate the role of Plk-2 inhibition in vivo. One such compound significantly decreased phosphorylation of α-synuclein in rat brain upon oral administration and represents a useful probe for future studies of this therapeutic avenue toward the potential treatment of Parkinson’s disease.