Optimized Plk1 PBD Inhibitors Based on Poloxin Induce Mitotic Arrest and Apoptosis in Tumor Cells

Andrej Scharow, Monika Raab, Krishna Saxena, Sridhar Sreeramulu, Denis Kudlinzki, Santosh Gande, Christina Dötsch, Elisabeth Kurunci-Csacsko, Susan Klaeger, Bernhard Kuster, Harald Schwalbe, Klaus Strebhardt, Thorsten Berg

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

51 Scopus citations


Polo-like kinase 1 (Plk1) is a central regulator of mitosis and has been validated as a target for antitumor therapy. The polo-box domain (PBD) of Plk1 regulates its kinase activity and mediates the subcellular localization of Plk1 and its interactions with a subset of its substrates. Functional inhibition of the Plk1 PBD by low-molecular weight inhibitors has been shown to represent a viable strategy by which to inhibit the enzyme, while avoiding selectivity issues caused by the conserved nature of the ATP binding site. Here, we report structure-activity relationships and mechanistic analysis for the first reported Plk1 PBD inhibitor, Poloxin. We present the identification of the optimized analog Poloxin-2, displaying significantly improved potency and selectivity over Poloxin. Poloxin-2 induces mitotic arrest and apoptosis in cultured human tumor cells at low micromolar concentrations, highlighting it as a valuable tool compound for exploring the function of the Plk1 PBD in living cells.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2570-2579
Number of pages10
JournalACS Chemical Biology
Issue number11
StatePublished - 20 Nov 2015


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