An insight into the inhibitory selectivity of 4-(Pyrazol- 4-yl)-pyrimidines to CDK4 over CDK2

Revealing selectivity mechanism of cyclin-dependent kinases (CDK) and their inhibitors is an important issue to develop potential anticancer drugs. The substituted 4-(Pyrazol-4-yl)-pyrimidines are potent inhibitors of CDK4 but not of the highly homologous CDK2. In order to reveal the inhibitory selectivity of these inhibitors to CDK4 over CDK2, we select one of substituted 4-(Pyrazol-4-yl)-pyrimidines as a representative (marked as A1 hereunder) and perform molecular docking, molecular dynamics simulations and binding free energy analysis for CDK4/A1 and CDK2/A1, respectively. The electrostatic and van der Waals (vdW) interactions of the A1 inhibitor with CDK4/CDK2 are discussed. The computed binding free energies based on the MM-PBSA method are consistent with experimental bioactivity ranking of A1 inhibitor to CDK4/CDK2. On the other hand, the conformational characteristics of CDK2 and CDK4 induced by A1 inhibitor are analysed and revealed. Results demonstrate that the vdW interactions considerably contribute to binding of CDK4/CDK2 with A1 inhibitor and are similar in size. The hydrogen bonding between A1 inhibitor and CDK4/CDK2 is considerably favourable to the binding, in which the hydrogen bond between the NH group of the pyrazole group of A1 and the residue Asp158 of CDK4 plays a crucial role in inhibitory selectivity of A1 inhibitor to CDK4 over CDK2. The electrostatic interaction energy differences between the corresponding residues of CDK4/A1 and CDK2/A1 confirm the above inference. The conformational changes of CDK2 and CDK4 induced by A1 inhibitor influence the selectivity of A1 inhibitor to CDK4/CDK2.