Multiple conformational states of the HPK1 kinase domain in complex with sunitinib reveal the structural changes accompanying HPK1 trans-regulation

Eric Johnson, Michele McTigue, Rebecca A. Gallego, Ted W. Johnson, Sergei Timofeevski, Michael Maestre, Timothy S. Fisher, Robert Kania, Sansana Sawasdikosol, Steven Burakoff, Ciarán N. Cronin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations

Abstract

Hematopoietic progenitor kinase 1 (HPK1 or MAP4K1) is a Ser/Thr kinase that operates via the c-Jun N-terminal kinase (JNK) and extracellular signal-regulated kinase (ERK) signaling pathways to dampen the T-cell response and antitumor immunity. Accordingly, selective HPK1 inhibition is considered a means to enhance antitumor immunity. Sunitinib, a multi-re-ceptor tyrosine kinase (RTK) inhibitor approved for the management of gastrointestinal stromal tumors (GISTs), renal cell carcinoma (RCC), and pancreatic cancer, has been reported to inhibit HPK1 in vitro. In this report, we describe the crystal structures of the native HPK1 kinase domain in both nonphosphorylated and doubly phosphorylated states, in addition to a double phosphomimetic mutant (T165E,S171E), each com-plexed with sunitinib at 2.17–3.00-Å resolutions. The native nonphosphorylated cocrystal structure revealed an inactive dimer in which the activation loop of each monomer partially occupies the ATP- and substrate-binding sites of the partner monomer. In contrast, the structure of the protein with a doubly phosphorylated activation loop exhibited an active kinase conformation with a greatly reduced monomer–monomer interface. Conversely, the phosphomimetic mutant cocrystal structure disclosed an alternative arrangement in which the activation loops are in an extended domain-swapped configuration. These structural results indicate that HPK1 is a highly dynamic kinase that undergoes trans-regulation via dimer formation and extensive intramolecular and intermolecular remodeling of the activation segment.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)9029-9036
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Biological Chemistry
Volume294
Issue number23
DOIs
StatePublished - 7 Jun 2019

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