Development of a CDK10/CycM in vitro Kinase Screening Assay and Identification of First Small-Molecule Inhibitors

Thomas Robert, Jared L. Johnson, Roxane Guichaoua, Tomer M. Yaron, Stéphane Bach, Lewis C. Cantley, Pierre Colas

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11 Scopus citations


Cyclin-dependent kinases (CDKs) constitute a family of 20 serine/threonine protein kinases that play pivotal roles in the regulation of numerous important molecular and cellular processes. CDKs have long been considered promising therapeutic targets in a variety of pathologies, and the recent therapeutic success of CDK4/6 inhibitors in breast cancers has renewed interest in their therapeutic potential. Small-molecule inhibitors have been identified for every human CDK, except for CDK10. The only recent discovery of an activating cyclin (CycM) for CDK10 enabled us to identify its first phosphorylation substrates and gain insights into its biological functions. Yet, our knowledge of this kinase remains incomplete, despite it being the only member of its family that causes severe human developmental syndromes, when mutated either on the cyclin or the CDK moiety. CDK10 small-molecule inhibitors would be useful in exploring the functions of this kinase and gauging its potential as a therapeutic target for some cancers. Here, we report the identification of an optimized peptide phosphorylation substrate of CDK10/CycM and the development of the first homogeneous, miniaturized CDK10/CycM in vitro kinase assay. We reveal the ability of known CDK inhibitors, among which clinically tested SNS-032, riviciclib, flavopiridol, dinaciclib, AZD4573 and AT7519, to potently inhibit CDK10/CycM. We also show that NVP-2, a strong, remarkably selective CDK9 inhibitor is an equally potent CDK10/CycM inhibitor. Finally, we validate this kinase assay for applications in high-throughput screening campaigns to discover new, original CDK10 inhibitors.

Original languageEnglish
Article number147
JournalFrontiers in Chemistry
StatePublished - 27 Feb 2020
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© Copyright © 2020 Robert, Johnson, Guichaoua, Yaron, Bach, Cantley and Colas.


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We thank IBiSA (French infrastructures for biology, health sciences and agronomy) and Biogenouest (Western France life science and environment core facility network) for supporting the KISSf screening facility. We thank Jane Endicott for the generous gift of baculoviruses directing the expression of MBP-CDK9 and GST-CycT1. We thank Carly Gamble for the construction of the pFastBacDual: GST-CDK10/Strep2-CycM plasmid.

FundersFunder number
Biogenouest (Western France life science and environment core facility networkGST-CycT1
Carly GambleGST-CDK10
Ligue contre le Cancer Grand Ouest
Petra Pharmaceuticals
Infrastructures en Biologie Santé et Agronomie
Ligue Contre le Cancer


    • CDK10
    • CDK10tide
    • Cyclin M
    • NVP-2
    • kinase inhibitors
    • screening assay


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