Vemurafenib Inhibits Active PTK6 in PTEN-null Prostate Tumor Cells.


Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Genetics, University of Illinois at Chicago, Chicago, Illinois. [Email]


Protein tyrosine kinase 6 (PTK6, also called BRK) is overexpressed and activated in human prostate cancer. Loss of the tumor suppressor PTEN, a frequent event in prostate cancer, leads to PTK6 activation at the plasma membrane and its oncogenic signaling. The small molecule inhibitor vemurafenib, also known as PLX4032, and its tool analog PLX4720 were designed to inhibit constitutively active BRAF V600E, yet they also have potent effects against PTK6. Vemurafenib is used in the treatment of metastatic melanoma, but its efficacy in prostate cancer has not been assessed. When activated at the plasma membrane, PTK6 promotes signaling through FAK, EGFR, and ERK1/2, and we show this can be blocked by vemurafenib. In addition, PTK6-mediated cell growth, migration, and invasion are inhibited upon vemurafenib administration. Using a flank xenograft model, vemurafenib treatment reduced tumor burden. Using saturation transfer difference NMR and molecular docking, we demonstrate that vemurafenib binds in the active site of PTK6, inhibiting its activation. These structural studies provide insight into the PTK6-vemurafenib complex, which can be utilized for further refinement chemistry, whereas functional studies demonstrate that active PTK6 is a viable drug target in prostate cancer.

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