Development of the First Covalent Monopolar Spindle Kinase 1 (MPS1/TTK) Inhibitor

20 May 2021, Version 1


Monopolar spindle kinase 1 (MPS1/TTK) is a key element of the mitotic checkpoint securing proper chromosome segregation. It is being evaluated as a target in the treatment of aggressive tumors such as triple-negative breast cancer with several reversible inhibitors currently undergoing clinical trials. While long drug–target residence times have been suggested to be beneficial in the context of therapeutic MPS1 inhibition, no irreversible inhibitors are known. Here we present the design and characterization of the first irreversible covalent MPS1 inhibitor RMS-07 targeting a cysteine (Cys604) in the kinase's hinge region present only in few other protein kinases. The compound showed excellent MPS1 inhibitory potency and high selectivity against all protein kinases harboring an equivalent cysteine as well as in a larger differential scanning fluorimetry-based screening panel. Covalent binding was confirmed by mass spectrometry and X-ray crystal structure. We expect this tool compound to open new avenues for the design of MPS1-specific covalent chemical probes or drugs.


Monopolar spindle kinase 1
spindle assembly checkpoint
covalent inhibitors
protein kinases
chemical probes
structure-based design

Supplementary materials

Serafim Covalent TTK MPS1 Inhibitor RMS-07 preprint SI


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