Dual-specificity, tyrosine phosphorylation-regulated kinases (DYRKs) and cdc2-like kinases (CLKs) recently attracted attention due to their central involvement in various pathologies.

We here describe a family of DYRK/CLK inhibitors derived from Leucettines and the marine natural product Leucettamine B. Forty-five N2-functionalized 2-aminoimidazolin-4-ones bearing a fused [6 + 5]-heteroarylmethylene were synthesized. Benzothiazol-6-ylmethylene was selected as the most potent residue among 15 different heteroarylmethylenes. 186 N2-substituted 2-aminoimidazolin-4-ones bearing a benzothiazol-6-ylmethylene, collectively named Leucettinibs, were synthesized and extensively characterized. Subnanomolar IC50 (0.5−20 nM on DYRK1A) inhibitors were identified and one Leucettinib was modeled in DYRK1A and cocrystallized with CLK1 and the weaker inhibited off-target CSNK2A1. Kinase-inactive isomers of Leucettinibs (>3−10 μM on DYRK1A), named iso-Leucettinibs, were synthesized and characterized as suitable negative control compounds for functional experiments. Leucettinibs, but not iso-Leucettinibs, inhibit the phosphorylation of DYRK1A substrates in cells. Leucettinibs provide new research tools and potential leads for further optimization toward therapeutic drug candidates.

J. Med. Chem., 2023, 66, 10694

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