Nir London 1 , Rand M. Miller 2 , Shyam Krishnan 3 , Kenji Uchida 3 , John J. Irwin 4 , Oliv Eidam 1 , Lucie Gibold 5 , 6 , 7 , Peter Cimermančič 3 , Richard Bonnet 5 , 6 , 7 , Brian K. Shoichet 1 , 4 , Jack Taunton 3
26 October 2014
Chemical probes that form a covalent bond with a protein target often show enhanced selectivity, potency, and utility for biological studies. Despite these advantages, protein-reactive compounds are usually avoided in high-throughput screening campaigns. Here we describe a general method (DOCKovalent) for screening large virtual libraries of electrophilic small molecules. We apply this method prospectively to discover reversible covalent fragments that target distinct protein nucleophiles, including the catalytic serine of AmpC β-lactamase and noncatalytic cysteines in RSK2, MSK1, and JAK3 kinases. We identify submicromolar to low-nanomolar hits with high ligand efficiency, cellular activity and selectivity, including the first reported reversible covalent inhibitors of JAK3. Crystal structures of inhibitor complexes with AmpC and RSK2 confirm the docking predictions and guide further optimization. As covalent virtual screening may have broad utility for the rapid discovery of chemical probes, we have made the method freely available through an automated web server ( http://covalent.docking.org).