Identification of pregnane X receptor ligands using time-resolved fluorescence resonance energy transfer and quantitative high-throughput screening.
ABSTRACT: The human pregnane X nuclear receptor (PXR) is a xenobiotic-regulated receptor that is activated by a range of diverse chemicals, including antibiotics, antifungals, glucocorticoids, and herbal extracts. PXR has been characterized as an important receptor in the metabolism of xenobiotics due to induction of cytochrome P450 isozymes and activation by a large number of prescribed medications. Developing methodologies that can efficiently detect PXR ligands will be clinically beneficial to avoid potential drug-drug interactions. To facilitate the identification of PXR ligands, a time-resolved fluorescence resonance energy transfer (TR-FRET) assay was miniaturized to a 1,536-well microtiter plate format to employ quantitative high-throughput screening (qHTS). The optimized 1,536-well TR-FRET assay showed Z'-factors of >or=0.5. Seven- to 15-point concentration-response curves (CRCs) were generated for 8,280 compounds using both terbium and fluorescein emission data, resulting in the generation of 241,664 data points. The qHTS method allowed us to retrospectively examine single concentration screening datasets to assess the sensitivity and selectivity of the PXR assay at different compound screening concentrations. Furthermore, nonspecific assay artifacts such as concentration-based quenching of the terbium signal and compound fluorescence were identified through the examination of CRCs for specific emission channels. The CRC information was also used to define chemotypes associated with PXR ligands. This study demonstrates the feasibility of profiling thousands of compounds against PXR using the TR-FRET assay in a high-throughput format.
Project description:The pregnane X receptor (PXR) regulates the metabolism and excretion of xenobiotics and endobiotics by regulating the expression of drug-metabolizing enzymes and transporters. The unique structure of PXR allows it to bind many drugs and drug leads, possibly causing undesired drug-drug interactions. Therefore, it is crucial to evaluate whether chemicals or drugs bind to PXR. Fluorescence-based assays are preferred because of their sensitivity and nonradioactive nature. On the basis of our previously characterized 4 (BODIPY FL vinblastine), a high-affinity PXR probe, we developed 20 (BODIPY FL vindoline) and showed that it is a novel and potent PXR fluorescent probe with Kd of 256 nM in a time-resolved fluorescence resonance energy transfer (TR-FRET) binding assay with PXR. By using 20 (BODIPY FL vindoline) in the PXR TR-FRET assay, we obtained a more than 7-fold signal-to-background ratio and high signal stability (signal was stable for at least 120 min, and Z'-factor > 0.85 from 30 to 240 min). The assay can tolerate DMSO up to 2%. This assay has been used to evaluate a panel of PXR ligands for their PXR-binding affinities. The performance of 20 (BODIPY FL vindoline) in the PXR TR-FRET assay makes it an ideal PXR fluorescent probe, and the newly developed PXR TR-FRET assay with 20 (BODIPY FL vindoline) as a fluorescent probe is suitable for high-throughput screening to identify PXR-binding ligands.
Project description:NR2E3 is an orphan nuclear receptor expressed exclusively in photoreceptor cells of the retina. NR2E3-specific modulators may prolong photoreceptor survival in patients with dry age-related macular degeneration and other forms of retinal degeneration. To definitively establish NR2E3 as a photoreceptor protection target, identification of small-molecule NR2E3 modulators and their testing in animal models of retinal degeneration are required. Development of the high-throughput screen (HTS)-compatible screen for small-molecule NR2E3 modulators is the first step toward this goal.Purification protocol for isolation of the functionally competent soluble NR2E3 protein after its expression in the insect Sf9 cells was developed. The time-resolved fluorescence energy-transfer (TR-FRET) assay assessing agonist-sensitive interaction between apo-NR2E3 and transcriptional corepressor RetCOR was used for characterization of the previously reported putative NR2E3 agonist, Compound 11a, and to conduct the HTS for novel small-molecule NR2E3 modulators (direct and inverse agonists). A counterscreen TR-FRET assay that measures the affect of test compounds on PPAR? interaction with corepressor NCOR was used for assessing the specificity of compounds identified in the HTS.We developed the cell-free TR-FRET assay for small-molecule NR2E3 modulators, which is based on agonist-induced disruption of the interaction between GST-tagged apo-NR2E3 and MBP-tagged fragment of transcriptional corepressor RetCOR. Compound 11a, a putative NR2E3 agonist, did not affect the NR2E3-RetCOR interaction, as was established by its titration in the developed assay. The assay was miniaturized for an ultralow-volume 1,536-well format and automated into 3 simple pipetting steps. Consistent with excellent assay performance, the test runs established a Z'-score within the 0.6-0.8 range. Analysis of the mid-size National Institutes of Health collection of 315,001 structurally diverse drug-like compounds confirmed excellent assay performance, but did not reveal NR2E3-specific agonists or inverse agonists.A robust and reliable TR-FRET assay for small-molecule NR2E3-specific modulators suitable for the analysis of million compound-strong HTS libraries was developed. A previously described putative NR2E3 agonist, Compound 11a, is unlikely to represent a direct NR2E3 agonist. Application of the developed assay for screening of a more abundant and diverse compound collection be required for identification of synthetic NR2E3 ligands.
Project description:Hormonal regulation of cellular function involves the binding of small molecules with receptors that then coordinate subsequent interactions with other signal transduction proteins. These dynamic, multicomponent processes are difficult to track in cells and even in reconstituted in vitro systems, and most methods can monitor only two-component interactions, often with limited capacity to follow dynamic changes. Through a judicious choice of three organic acceptor fluorophores paired with a terbium donor fluorophore, we have developed the first example of a one-donor/three-acceptor multicolor time-resolved fluorescence energy transfer (TR-FRET) system, and we have exemplified its use by monitoring a ligand-regulated protein-protein exchange process in a four-component biological system. By careful quantification of the emission from each of the three acceptors at the four channels for terbium donor emission, we demonstrate that any of these donor channels can be used to estimate the magnitude of the three FRET signals in this terbium-donor triple-acceptor system with minimal bleedthrough. Using this three-channel terbium-based, TR-FRET assay system, we show in one experiment that the addition of a fluorescein-labeled estrogen agonist displaces a SNAPFL-labeled antiestrogen from the ligand binding pocket of a terbium-labeled estrogen receptor, at the same time causing a Cy5-labeled coactivator to be recruited to the estrogen receptor. This experiment demonstrates the power of a four-color TR-FRET experiment, and it shows that the overall process of estrogen receptor ligand exchange and coactivator binding is a dynamic but precisely coordinated process.
Project description:Mutations in the leucine-rich repeat kinase-2 (LRRK2) have been linked to Parkinson's disease. Recent studies show that inhibition of LRRK2 kinase activity decreased the level of phosphorylation at its own Ser910 and Ser935, indicating that these sites are prime targets for cellular readouts of LRRK2 inhibition.Using Time-Resolved Förster Resonance Energy Transfer (TR-FRET) technology, we developed a high-throughput cellular assay for monitoring LRRK2 phosphorylation at Ser935. LRRK2-Green Fluorescence Protein (GFP) fusions were expressed in cells via BacMam. Phosphorylation at Ser935 in these cells is detected using a terbium labeled anti-phospho-Ser935 antibody that generates a TR-FRET signal between terbium and GFP. LRRK2 wild-type and G2019S are constitutively phosphorylated at Ser935 in cells as measured by TR-FRET. The phosphorylation level is reduced for the R1441C mutant and little could be detected for the kinase-dead mutant D1994A. The TR-FRET cellular assay was further validated using reported LRRK2 inhibitors including LRRK2-IN-1 and our results confirmed that inhibition of LRRK2 can reduce the phosphorylation level at Ser935. To demonstrate the utility of this assay for screening, we profiled a small library of 1120 compounds. Three known LRRK2 inhibitors were identified and 16 hits were followed up in the TR-FRET and a cytotoxicity assay. Interestingly, out of the top 16 hits, five are known inhibitors of I?B phosphorylation, two CHK1 and two CDC25 inhibitors. Thirteen hits were further tested in a biochemical LRRK2 kinase activity assay and Western blot analysis for their effects on the phosphorylation of Ser910, Ser935, Ser955 and Ser973.We developed a TR-FRET cellular assay for LRRK2 Ser935 phosphorylation that can be applied to the screening for LRRK2 inhibitors. We report for the first time that several compounds such as IKK16, CHK1 inhibitors and GW441756 can inhibit LRRK2 Ser935 phosphorylation in cells and LRRK2 kinase activity in vitro.
Project description:UBC13 is a noncanonical ubiquitin conjugating enzyme (E2) that has been implicated in a variety of cellular signaling processes due to its ability to catalyze formation of lysine 63-linked polyubiquitin chains on various substrates. In particular, UBC13 is required for signaling by a variety of receptors important in immune regulation, making it a candidate target for inflammatory diseases. UBC13 is also critical for double-strand DNA repair and thus a potential radiosensitizer and chemosensitizer target for oncology. The authors developed a high-throughput screening (HTS) assay for UBC13 based on the method of time-resolved fluorescence resonance energy transfer (TR-FRET). The TR-FRET assay combines fluorochrome (Fl)-conjugated ubiquitin (fluorescence acceptor) with terbium (Tb)-conjugated ubiquitin (fluorescence donor), such that the assembly of mixed chains of Fl- and Tb-ubiquitin creates a robust TR-FRET signal. The authors defined conditions for optimized performance of the TR-FRET assay in both 384- and 1536-well formats. Chemical library screens (total 456 865 compounds) were conducted in high-throughput mode using various compound collections, affording superb Z' scores (typically >0.7) and thus validating the performance of the assays. Altogether, the HTS assays described here are suitable for large-scale, automated screening of chemical libraries in search of compounds with inhibitory activity against UBC13.
Project description:CD47 is an immune checkpoint molecule that downregulates key aspects of both the innate and adaptive anti-tumor immune response via its counter receptor SIRP?, and it is expressed at high levels in a wide variety of tumor types. This has led to the development of biologics that inhibit SIRP? engagement including humanized CD47 antibodies and a soluble SIRP? decoy receptor that are currently undergoing clinical trials. Unfortunately, toxicological issues, including anemia related to on-target mechanisms, are barriers to their clinical advancement. Another potential issue with large biologics that bind CD47 is perturbation of CD47 signaling through its high-affinity interaction with the matricellular protein thrombospondin-1 (TSP1). One approach to avoid these shortcomings is to identify and develop small molecule molecular probes and pretherapeutic agents that would (1) selectively target SIRP? or TSP1 interactions with CD47, (2) provide a route to optimize pharmacokinetics, reduce on-target toxicity and maximize tissue penetration, and (3) allow more flexible routes of administration. As the first step toward this goal, we report the development of an automated quantitative high-throughput screening (qHTS) assay platform capable of screening large diverse drug-like chemical libraries to discover novel small molecules that inhibit CD47-SIRP? interaction. Using time-resolved Förster resonance energy transfer (TR-FRET) and bead-based luminescent oxygen channeling assay formats (AlphaScreen), we developed biochemical assays, optimized their performance, and individually tested them in small-molecule library screening. Based on performance and low false positive rate, the LANCE TR-FRET assay was employed in a ~90,000 compound library qHTS, while the AlphaScreen oxygen channeling assay served as a cross-validation orthogonal assay for follow-up characterization. With this multi-assay strategy, we successfully eliminated compounds that interfered with the assays and identified five compounds that inhibit the CD47-SIRP? interaction; these compounds will be further characterized and later disclosed. Importantly, our results validate the large library qHTS for antagonists of CD47-SIRP? interaction and suggest broad applicability of this approach to screen chemical libraries for other protein-protein interaction modulators.
Project description:Epigenetics is an emerging field that demands selective cell-permeable chemical probes to perturb, especially in vivo, the activity of specific enzymes involved in modulating the epigenetic codes. Coactivator-associated arginine methyltransferase 1 (CARM1) is a coactivator of estrogen receptor ? (ER?), the main target in human breast cancer. We previously showed that twofold overexpression of CARM1 in MCF7 breast cancer cells increased the expression of ER?-target genes involved in differentiation and reduced cell proliferation, thus leading to the hypothesis that activating CARM1 by chemical activators might be therapeutically effective in breast cancer. Selective, potent, cell-permeable CARM1 activators will be essential to test this hypothesis. Here we report the development of a cell-based, time-resolved (TR) FRET assay that uses poly(A) binding protein 1 (PABP1) methylation to monitor cellular activity of CARM1. The LanthaScreen TR-FRET assay uses MCF7 cells expressing GFP-PABP1 fusion protein through BacMam gene delivery system, methyl-PABP1 specific antibody, and terbium-labeled secondary antibody. This assay has been validated as reflecting the expression and/or activity of CARM1 and optimized for high throughput screening to identify CARM1 allosteric activators. This TR-FRET platform serves as a generic tool for functional screening of cell-permeable, chemical modulators of CARM1 for elucidation of its in vivo functions.
Project description:The thyroid hormone receptors (TR) are members of the nuclear hormone receptor (NHR) superfamily that regulate development, growth, and metabolism. Upon ligand binding, TR releases bound corepressors and recruits coactivators to modulate target gene expression. Steroid receptor coactivator 2 (SRC2) is an important coregulator that interacts with TR? to activate gene transcription. To identify novel inhibitors of the TR? and SRC2 interaction, the authors performed a quantitative high-throughput screen (qHTS) of a TR?-SRC2 fluorescence polarization assay against more than 290 000 small molecules. The qHTS assayed compounds at 6 concentrations up to 92 µM to generate titration-response curves and determine the potency and efficacy of all compounds. The qHTS data set enabled the characterization of actives for structure-activity relationships as well as for potential artifacts such as fluorescence interference. Selected qHTS actives were tested in the screening assay using fluoroprobes labeled with Texas Red or fluorescein. The retest identified 19 series and 4 singletons as active in both assays with 40% or greater efficacy, free of compound interference, and not toxic to mammalian cells. Selected compounds were tested as independent samples, and a methylsulfonylnitrobenzoate series inhibited the TR?-SRC2 interaction with 5 µM IC(50). This series represents a new class of thyroid hormone receptor-coactivator modulators.
Project description:Assays for ATPases have been enabled for high-throughput screening (HTS) by employing firefly luciferase to detect the remaining ATP in the assay. However, for any enzyme assay, measurement of product formation is a more sensitive assay design. Recently, technologies that allow detection of the ADP product from ATPase reactions have been described using fluorescent methods of detection. We describe here the characterization of a bioluminescent assay that employs firefly luciferase in a coupled-enzyme assay format to enable detection of ADP levels from ATPase assays (ADP-Glo, Promega Corp.). We determined the performance of the ADP-Glo assay in 1,536-well microtiter plates using the protein kinase Clk4 and a 1,352 member kinase focused combinatorial library. The ADP-Glo assay was compared to the Clk4 assay performed using a bioluminescence ATP-depletion format (Kinase-Glo, Promega Corp). We performed this analysis using quantitative HTS (qHTS) where we determined potency values for all library members and identified approximately 300 compounds with potencies ranging from as low as 50 nM to >10 microM, yielding a robust dataset for the comparison. Both assay formats showed high performance (Z'-factors approximately 0.9) and showed a similar potency distribution for the actives. We conclude that the bioluminescence ADP detection assay system is a viable generic alternative to the widely used ATP-depletion assay for ATPases and discuss the advantages and disadvantages of both approaches.
Project description:Methylated DNA binding proteins such as Methyl-CpG Binding Domain Protein 2 (MBD2) can transduce DNA methylation alterations into a repressive signal by recruiting transcriptional co-repressor complexes. Interfering with MBD2 could lead to reactivation of tumor suppressor genes and therefore represents an attractive strategy for epigenetic therapy. We developed and compared fluorescence polarization (FP) and time-resolved fluorescence resonance energy transfer (TR-FRET)-based high-throughput screening (HTS) assays to identify small-molecule inhibitors of the interaction between the methyl binding domain of MBD2 (MBD2-MBD) and methylated DNA. Although both assays performed well in 96-well format, the TR-FRET assay (Z' factor = 0.58) emerged as a superior screening strategy compared with FP (Z' factor = 0.08) when evaluated in an HTS 384-well plate format. Using TR-FRET, we screened the Sigma LOPAC library for MBD2-MBD inhibitors and identified four compounds that also validated in a dose-response series. This included two known DNA intercalators (mitoxantrone and idarubicin) among two other inhibitory compounds (NF449 and aurintricarboxylic acid). All four compounds also inhibited the binding of SP-1, a transcription factor with a GC-rich binding sequence, to a methylated oligonucleotide, demonstrating that the activity was nonspecific. Our results provide proof of principle for using TR-FRET-based HTS to identify small-molecule inhibitors of MBD2 and other DNA-protein interactions.