AlphaScreen-Based Assays: Ultra-High-Throughput Screening for Small-Molecule Inhibitors of Challenging Enzymes and Protein-Protein Interactions.
ABSTRACT: AlphaScreen technology has been routinely utilized in high-throughput screening assays to quantify analyte accumulation or depletion, bimolecular interactions, and post-translational modifications. The high signal-to-background, dynamic range, and sensitivity associated with AlphaScreens as well as the homogenous assay format and reagent stability make the technology particularly well suited for high-throughput screening applications. Here, we describe the development of AlphaScreen assays to identify small-molecule inhibitors of enzymes and protein-protein interactions using the highly miniaturized 1536-well format. The subsequent implementation of counter assays to identify false-positive compounds is also discussed.
Project description:Hsp90 has emerged as an important anticancer drug target because of its essential role in promoting the folding and maturation of many oncogenic proteins. The authors describe the development of the first high-throughput screen, based on AlphaScreen technology, to identify a novel type of Hsp90 inhibitors that interrupt its interaction with the cochaperone HOP. The assay used the 20-mer C-terminal peptide of Hsp90 and the TPR2A domain of HOP. Assay specificity was demonstrated by measuring different interactions using synthetic peptides, with measured IC50s in good agreement with reported values. The assay was stable over 12 h and tolerated DMSO up to 5%. The authors first validated the assay by screening against 20,000 compounds in a 384-well format. After further optimization into a 1536-well format, it was screened against an NIH Chemical Genomics Center library of 76,134 compounds, with a signal-to-background ratio of 78 and Z' factor of 0.77. The present assay can be used for discovery of novel small-molecule Hsp90 inhibitors that can be used as chemical probes to investigate the role of cochaperones in Hsp90 function. Such molecules have the potential to be developed into novel anticancer drugs, for use alone or in combination with other Hsp90 inhibitors.
Project description:Genetic target validation studies have demonstrated that the apoptosis signal-regulating kinase 1 (ASK1) represents an important target for the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis, cardiac diseases, and several neurodegenerative disorders. To identify small-molecule inhibitors of ASK1, we have developed a high-throughput screening-compatible, homogenous, biochemical assay using AlphaScreen technology. This novel assay design utilizes purified stress-activated ASK1 signalosome complex, and it monitors phosphorylation of its full-length native substrate, MKK6. The assay has been optimized in a 384-well format and validated by screening the Sigma LOPAC library. The results presented here demonstrate that the assay is sensitive and robust with a Z' factor value of 0.88±0.04 and a signal-to-background ratio of 11, indicating that this assay can be used to screen large chemical libraries to discover novel inhibitors of ASK1.
Project description:Improved therapies for the treatment of Trypanosoma brucei, the etiological agent of the neglected tropical disease human African trypanosomiasis, are urgently needed. We targeted T. brucei methionyl-tRNA synthetase (MetRS), an aminoacyl-tRNA synthase (aaRS), which is considered an important drug target due to its role in protein synthesis, cell survival, and its significant differences in structure from its mammalian ortholog. Previous work using RNA interference of MetRS demonstrated growth inhibition of T. brucei, further validating it as an attractive target. We report the development and implementation of two orthogonal high-throughput screening assays to identify inhibitors of T. brucei MetRS. First, a chemiluminescence assay was implemented in a 1536-well plate format and used to monitor adenosine triphosphate depletion during the aminoacylation reaction. Hit confirmation then used a counterscreen in which adenosine monophosphate production was assessed using fluorescence polarization technology. In addition, a miniaturized cell viability assay was used to triage cytotoxic compounds. Finally, lower throughput assays involving whole parasite growth inhibition of both human and parasite MetRS were used to analyze compound selectivity and efficacy. The outcome of this high-throughput screening campaign has led to the discovery of 19 potent and selective T. brucei MetRS inhibitors.
Project description:The retinoid acid receptor-related orphan receptors (RORs) represent important targets for the treatment of metabolic and immune disorders. Here the authors describe the application of AlphaScreen(®) technology to develop a high-throughput screening (HTS)-compatible assay to facilitate the discovery of ROR? modulators. Using the ligand binding domain (LBD) of ROR? and a peptide derived from the NR1 box of the nuclear receptor coactivator PGC-1?, a 384-well format assay was developed exhibiting high sensitivity, requiring only low nanomolar concentration of reagents. Recently, it was shown that oxysterols such as 7?-hydroxycholesterol (7?-OHC) function as modulators of the RORs. In this assay, 7?-OHC produced a concentration-response curve with an EC(50) of 162 nM, a Z' factor of 0.6, and a signal-to-background (S/B) ratio of 4.2, demonstrating that the assay is HTS compatible. Validation of the assay was afforded by screening against the Sigma LOPAC1280™ library in a 384-well format. In summary, the results presented here demonstrate that this assay can be used to screen large chemical libraries to discover novel modulators of ROR?.
Project description:2-Oxoglutarate- and Fe(ii)-dependent oxygenases are a major class of N(epsilon)-methyl lysine demethylases that are involved in epigenetic regulation. Assays suitable for implementation in a high-throughput manner have been lacking for these enzymes. Here, we describe the design and implementation of a robust and miniaturized high-throughput kinetic assay for inhibitors of JMJD2E using a formaldehyde dehydrogenase-coupled reaction with real-time fluorescence detection. Reactant compatibility studies resulted in simplification of the assay scheme to the mixing of two reagent solutions, both of which were stable overnight. The assay was miniaturized to a 4 microL volume in 1536-well format and was used to screen the library of pharmacologically active compounds (LOPAC(1280)). Inhibitors identified by the screen were further characterized in secondary assays including FDH counterscreen and demethylation assays that monitored demethylation by MALDI-TOF MS. The assay developed here will enable the screening of large compound libraries against the Jumonji demethylases in a robust and automated fashion.
Project description:Endocrine disrupting chemicals (EDCs) interfere with the biosynthesis, metabolism, and functions of steroid hormones, including estrogens and androgens. Aromatase enzyme converts androgen to estrogen. Thus, EDCs against aromatase significantly impact estrogen- and/or androgen-dependent functions, including the development of breast cancer. The current study aimed to develop a biologically relevant cell-based high-throughput screening assay to identify EDCs that act as aromatase inhibitors (AIs), estrogen receptor (ER) agonists, and/or ER antagonists. The AroER tri-screen assay was developed by stable transfection of ER-positive, aromatase-expressing MCF-7 breast cancer cells with an estrogen responsive element (ERE) driven luciferase reporter plasmid. The AroER tri-screen can identify: estrogenic EDCs, which increase luciferase signal without 17?-estradiol (E2); anti-estrogenic EDCs, which inhibit the E2-induced luciferase signal; and AI-like EDCs, which suppress a testosterone-induced luciferase signal. The assay was first optimized in a 96-well plate format and then miniaturized into a 1536-well plate format. The AroER tri-screen was demonstrated to be suitable for high-throughput screening in the 1536-well plate format, with a 6.9-fold signal-to-background ratio, a 5.4% coefficient of variation, and a screening window coefficient (Z-factor) of 0.78. The assay suggested that bisphenol A (BPA) functions mainly as an ER agonist. Results from screening the 446 drugs in the National Institutes of Health Clinical Collection revealed 106 compounds that modulated ER and/or aromatase activities. Among these, two AIs (bifonazole and oxiconazole) and one ER agonist (paroxetine) were confirmed through alternative aromatase and ER activity assays. These findings indicate that AroER tri-screen is a useful high-throughput screening system for identifying ER ligands and aromatase-inhibiting chemicals.
Project description:The mammalian high mobility group protein AT-hook 2 (HMGA2) is a multi-functional DNA-binding protein that plays important roles in tumorigenesis and adipogenesis. Previous results showed that HMGA2 is a potential therapeutic target of anticancer and anti-obesity drugs by inhibiting its DNA-binding activities. Here we report the development of a miniaturized, automated AlphaScreen ultra-high-throughput screening assay to identify inhibitors targeting HMGA2-DNA interactions. After screening the LOPAC1280 compound library, we identified several compounds that strongly inhibit HMGA2-DNA interactions including suramin, a century-old, negatively charged antiparasitic drug. Our results show that the inhibition is likely through suramin binding to the "AT-hook" DNA-binding motifs and therefore preventing HMGA2 from binding to the minor groove of AT-rich DNA sequences. Since HMGA1 proteins also carry multiple "AT-hook" DNA-binding motifs, suramin is expected to inhibit HMGA1-DNA interactions as well. Biochemical and biophysical studies show that charge-charge interactions and hydrogen bonding between the suramin sulfonated groups and Arg/Lys residues play critical roles in the binding of suramin to the "AT-hook" DNA-binding motifs. Furthermore, our results suggest that HMGA2 may be one of suramin's cellular targets.
Project description:Long non-protein coding RNAs (lncRNAs) are an important class of molecules that help orchestrate key cellular events. Although their functional roles in cells are not well understood, thousands of lncRNAs and a number of possible mechanisms by which they act have been reported. LncRNAs can exert their regulatory function in cells by interacting with epigenetic enzymes. In this study, we developed a tool to study lncRNA-protein interactions for high-throughput screening of small-molecule modulators using AlphaScreen technology. We tested the interaction of two lncRNAs: brain-derived neurotrophic factor antisense (BDNF-AS) and Hox transcript antisense RNA (HOTAIR), with Enhancer of zeste homolog 2 (EZH2), a histone methyltransferase against a phytochemical library, to look for small-molecule inhibitors that can alter the expression of downstream target genes. We identified ellipticine, a compound that up-regulates BDNF transcription. Our study shows the feasibility of using high-throughput screening to identify modulators of lncRNA-protein interactions and paves the road for targeting lncRNAs that are dysregulated in human disorders using small-molecule therapies.
Project description:Chemotaxis and cell migration are fundamental, universal eukaryotic processes essential for biological functions such as embryogenesis, immunity, cell renewal, and wound healing, as well as for pathogenesis of many diseases including cancer metastasis and chronic inflammation. To identify novel chemotaxis inhibitors as probes for mechanistic studies and leads for development of new therapeutics, we developed a unique, unbiased phenotypic chemotaxis-dependent Dictyostelium aggregation assay for high-throughput screening using rapid, laser-scanning cytometry. Under defined conditions, individual Dictyostelium secrete chemoattractants, migrate, and aggregate. Chemotaxis is quantified by laser-scanning cytometry with a GFP marker expressed only in cells after chemotaxis/multi-cell aggregation. We applied the assay to screen 1,280 known compounds in a 1536-well plate format and identified two chemotaxis inhibitors. The chemotaxis inhibitory activities of both compounds were confirmed in both Dictyostelium and in human neutrophils in a directed EZ-TAXIscan chemotaxis assay. The compounds were also shown to inhibit migration of two human cancer cell lines in monolayer scratch assays. This test screen demonstrated that the miniaturized assay is extremely suited for high-throughput screening of very large libraries of small molecules to identify novel classes of chemotaxis/migratory inhibitors for drug development and research tools for targeting chemotactic pathways universal to humans and other systems.
Project description:Small ubiquitin-like modifier (SUMO1-3) is a small group of proteins that are ligated to lysine residues in target proteins. SUMO conjugation is a highly dynamic process, as SUMOylated proteins are rapidly deconjugated by SUMO proteases. SUMO conjugation/deconjugation plays pivotal roles in major cellular pathways and is associated with a number of pathological conditions. It is therefore of significant clinical interest to develop new strategies to screen for compounds to specifically interfere with SUMO conjugation/deconjugation. Here, we describe a novel high-throughput screening (HTS)-compatible assay to identify inhibitors of SUMO proteases. The assay is based on AlphaScreen technology and uses His-tagged SUMO2 conjugated to Strep-tagged SUMO3 as a SUMO protease substrate. A bacterial SUMOylation system was used to generate this substrate. A three-step purification strategy was employed to yield substrate of high quality. Our data indicated that this unique substrate can be readily detected in the AlphaScreen assays in a dose-dependent manner. Cleavage reactions by SUMO protease with or without inhibitor were monitored based on AlphaScreen signals. Furthermore, the assay was adapted to a 384-well format, and the interplate and interday variability was evaluated in eight 384-well plates. The average Z' factor was 0.83 ± 0.04, confirming the suitability for HTS applications.