Recent advances in the design of choline kinase α inhibitors and the molecular basis of their inhibition
Upregulated choline metabolism, characterized by an increase in phosphocholine (PCho), is a hallmark of oncogenesis and tumor progression. Choline kinase (ChoK), the enzyme responsible for PCho synthesis, has consequently become a promising drug target for cancer therapy and as such a significant number of ChoK inhibitors have been developed over the last few decades. More recently, due to the role of this enzyme in other pathologies, ChoK inhibitors have also been used in new therapeutic approaches against malaria and rheumatoid arthritis. Here, we review research results in the field of ChoKα inhibitors from their synthesis to the molecular basis of their binding mode. Strategies for the development of inhibitors and their selectivity on ChoKα over ChoKβ, the plasticity of the choline‐binding site, the discovery of new exploitable binding sites, and the allosteric properties of this enzyme are highlighted. The outcomes summarized in this review will be a useful guide to develop new multifunctional potent drugs for the treatment of various human diseases.