Concerted multidisciplinary efforts have led to the development of Cyclin-Dependent Kinase inhibitors (CDKi's) as small molecule drugs and chemical probes of intracellular CDK function. However, conflicting data has been reported on the inhibitory potency of CDKi's and a systematic characterization of affinity and selectivity against intracellular CDKs is lacking. We have developed a panel of cell-permeable energy transfer probes to quantify target occupancy for all 21 human CDKs in live cells, and present a comprehensive evaluation of intracellular isozyme potency and selectivity for a collection of 46 clinically-advanced CDKi's and tool molecules. We observed unexpected intracellular activity profiles for a number of CDKi's, offering avenues for repurposing of highly potent molecules as probes for previously unreported targets. Overall, we provide a broadly applicable method for evaluating the selectivity of CDK inhibitors in living cells, and present a refined set of tool molecules to study CDK function.
Structural Genomics Consortium, UNC Eshelman School of Pharmacy, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, NC, 27599, USA.