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Cofactor mimicry represents an attractive strategy for the development of enzyme inhibitors but can lead to off-target effects due to the evolutionary conservation of binding sites across the proteome. Here, we uncover the ADP-ribose (ADPr) hydrolase NUDT5 as an unexpected, noncovalent, off-target of clinical BTK inhibitors. Using a combination of biochemical, biophysical, and intact cell NanoBRET assays as well as X-ray crystallography, we confirm catalytic inhibition and cellular target engagement of NUDT5 and reveal an unusual binding mode that is independent of the reactive acrylamide warhead. Further investigation of the prototypical BTK inhibitor ibrutinib also revealed potent inhibition of the largely unstudied NUDIX hydrolase family member NUDT14. By exploring structure-activity relationships (SARs) around the core scaffold, we identify a potent, noncovalent, and cell-active dual NUDT5/14 inhibitor. Cocrystallization experiments yielded new insights into the NUDT14 hydrolase active site architecture and inhibitor binding, thus providing a basis for future chemical probe design.

Original publication




Journal article


Journal of medicinal chemistry

Publication Date



Centre for Medicines Discovery, Nuffield Department of Medicine, University of Oxford, Old Road Campus, Roosevelt Drive, Oxford OX3 7FZ, U.K.