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Individuals with the rare developmental disorder fibrodysplasia ossificans progressiva (FOP) experience disabling heterotopic ossification caused by a gain of function mutation in the intracellular region of the BMP type I receptor kinase ALK2, encoded by the gene ACVR1. Small molecule BMP type I receptor inhibitors that block this ossification in FOP mouse models have been derived from the pyrazolo[1,5-a]pyrimidine scaffold of dorsomorphin. While the first derivative LDN-193189 exhibited pan inhibition of BMP receptors, the more recent compound LDN-212854 has shown increased selectivity for ALK2. Here we solved the crystal structure of ALK2 in complex with LDN-212854 to define how its binding interactions compare to previously reported BMP and TGFβ receptor inhibitors. LDN-212854 bound to the kinase hinge region as a typical type I ATP-competitive inhibitor with a single hydrogen bond to ALK2 His286. Specificity arising from the 5-quinoline moiety was associated with a distinct pattern of water-mediated hydrogen bonds involving Lys235 and Glu248 in the inactive conformation favoured by ALK2. The structure of this complex provides a template for the design of future ALK2 inhibitors under development for the treatment of FOP and other related conditions of heterotopic ossification.

Original publication




Journal article



Publication Date





251 - 258


BMP, Crystal structure, Drug, Fibrodysplasia ossificans progressiva, Heterotopic ossification, Kinase inhibitor, Activin Receptors, Type I, Animals, Bone Morphogenetic Protein Receptors, Myositis Ossificans, Protein Binding, Pyrazoles, Pyrimidines, Quinolines, Sf9 Cells