Polo-like kinases (PLKs) play critical roles throughout mitosis. Here, we report that wortmannin, which was previously thought to be a highly selective inhibitor of phosphoinositide (PI) 3-kinases, is a potent inhibitor of mammalian PLK1. Observation of the wortmannin-PLK1 interaction was enabled by a tetramethylrhodamine-wortmannin conjugate (AX7503) that permits rapid detection of PLK1 activity and expression in complex proteomes. Importantly, we show that wortmannin inhibits PLK1 activity in an in vitro kinase assay with an IC 50 of 24 nM and when incubated with intact cells. Taken together, our results indicate that, at the concentrations of wortmannin commonly used to inhibit PI 3-kinases, PLK1 is also significantly inhibited.
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