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Journal of biomolecular screening [journal]
- Drug Discovery for Human African Trypanosomiasis: Identification of Novel Scaffolds by the Newly Developed HTS SYBR Green Assay for Trypanosoma brucei. [JOURNAL ARTICLE]
- J Biomol Screen 2014 Oct 23.
Human African trypanosomiasis (HAT) is a vector-transmitted tropical disease caused by the protozoan parasite Trypanosoma brucei. High-throughput screening (HTS) of small-molecule libraries in whole-cell assays is one of the most frequently used approaches in drug discovery for infectious diseases. To aid in drug discovery efforts for HAT, the SYBR Green assay was developed for T. brucei in a 384-well format. This semi-automated assay is cost- and time-effective, robust, and reproducible. The SYBR Green assay was compared to the resazurin assay by screening a library of 4000 putative kinase inhibitors, revealing a superior performance in terms of assay time, sensitivity, simplicity, and reproducibility, and resulting in a higher hit confirmation rate. Although the resazurin assay allows for comparatively improved detection of slow-killing compounds, it also has higher false-positive rates that are likely to arise from the assay experimental conditions. The compounds with the most potent antitrypanosomal activity were selected in both screens and grouped into 13 structural clusters, with 11 new scaffolds as antitrypanosomal agents. Several of the identified compounds had IC50 <1 µM coupled with high selectivity toward the parasite. The core structures of the scaffolds are shown, providing promising new starting points for drug discovery for HAT.
- High-Content Image-Based Screening of a Signal Transduction Pathway Inhibitor Small-Molecule Library against Highly Pathogenic RNA Viruses. [JOURNAL ARTICLE]
- J Biomol Screen 2014 Oct 23.
High-content image-based screening was developed as an approach to test a small-molecule library of compounds targeting signal transduction pathways for antiviral activity against multiple highly pathogenic RNA viruses. Of the 2843 compounds screened, 120 compounds exhibited ≥60% antiviral activity. Four compounds (E225-0969, E528-0039, G118-0778, and G544-0735), which were most active against Rift Valley fever virus (RVFV) and showed broad-spectrum antiviral activity, were selected for further evaluation for their concentration-response profile and cytotoxicity. These compounds did not show any visible cytotoxicity at the highest concentration of compound tested (200 µM). All four of these compounds were more active than ribavirin against several viruses. One compound, E225-0969, had the lowest effective concentration (EC50 = 1.9-8.92 µM) for all the viruses tested. This compound was 13- and 43-fold more inhibitory against RVFV and Chikungunya virus (CHIKV), respectively, than ribavirin. The highest selectivity index (>106.2) was for E225-0969 against CHIKV. Time-of-addition assays suggested that all four lead compounds targeted early steps in the viral life cycle (entry and/or replication) but not virus egress. Overall, this work demonstrates that high-content image analysis can be used to screen chemical libraries for new antivirals against highly pathogenic viruses.
- Use of High-Throughput Mass Spectrometry to Reduce False Positives in Protease uHTS Screens. [JOURNAL ARTICLE]
- J Biomol Screen 2014 Oct 21.
As a label-free technology, mass spectrometry (MS) enables assays to be generated that monitor the conversion of substrates with native sequences to products without the requirement for substrate modifications or indirect detection methods. Although traditional liquid chromatography (LC)-MS methods are relatively slow for a high-throughput screening (HTS) paradigm, with cycle times typically ≥60 s per sample, the Agilent RapidFire High-Throughput Mass Spectrometry (HTMS) System, with a cycle time of 5-7 s per sample, enables rapid analysis of compound numbers compatible with HTS. By monitoring changes in mass directly, HTMS assays can be used as a triaging tool by eliminating large numbers of false positives resulting from fluorescent compound interference or from compounds interacting with hydrophobic fluorescent dyes appended to substrates. Herein, HTMS assays were developed for multiple protease programs, including cysteine, serine, and aspartyl proteases, and applied as a confirmatory assay. The confirmation rate for each protease assay averaged <30%, independent of the primary assay technology used (i.e., luminescent, fluorescent, and time-resolved fluorescent technologies). Importantly, >99% of compounds designed to inhibit the enzymes were confirmed by the corresponding HTMS assay. Hence, HTMS is an effective tool for removing detection-based false positives from ultrahigh-throughput screening, resulting in hit lists enriched in true actives for downstream dose response titrations and hit-to-lead efforts.
- High-Throughput Screening Platform for Natural Product-Based Drug Discovery Against 3 Neglected Tropical Diseases: Human African Trypanosomiasis, Leishmaniasis, and Chagas Disease. [JOURNAL ARTICLE]
- J Biomol Screen 2014 Oct 20.
African trypanosomiasis, leishmaniasis, and Chagas disease are 3 neglected tropical diseases for which current therapeutic interventions are inadequate or toxic. There is an urgent need to find new lead compounds against these diseases. Most drug discovery strategies rely on high-throughput screening (HTS) of synthetic chemical libraries using phenotypic and target-based approaches. Combinatorial chemistry libraries contain hundreds of thousands of compounds; however, they lack the structural diversity required to find entirely novel chemotypes. Natural products, in contrast, are a highly underexplored pool of unique chemical diversity that can serve as excellent templates for the synthesis of novel, biologically active molecules. We report here a validated HTS platform for the screening of microbial extracts against the 3 diseases. We have used this platform in a pilot project to screen a subset (5976) of microbial extracts from the MEDINA Natural Products library. Tandem liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry showed that 48 extracts contain potentially new compounds that are currently undergoing de-replication for future isolation and characterization. Known active components included actinomycin D, bafilomycin B1, chromomycin A3, echinomycin, hygrolidin, and nonactins, among others. The report here is, to our knowledge, the first HTS of microbial natural product extracts against the above-mentioned kinetoplastid parasites.
- Novel High-Throughput Deoxyribonuclease 1 Assay. [JOURNAL ARTICLE]
- J Biomol Screen 2014 Oct 17.
Deoxyribonuclease I (DNase I), the most active and abundant apoptotic endonuclease in mammals, is known to mediate toxic, hypoxic, and radiation injuries to the cell. Neither inhibitors of DNase I nor high-throughput methods for screening of high-volume chemical libraries in search of DNase I inhibitors are, however, available. To overcome this problem, we developed a high-throughput DNase I assay. The assay is optimized for a 96-well plate format and based on the increase of fluorescence intensity when fluorophore-labeled oligonucleotide is degraded by the DNase. The assay is highly sensitive to DNase I compared to other endonucleases, reliable (Z' ≥ 0.5), and operationally simple, and it has low operator, intraassay, and interassay variability. The assay was used to screen a chemical library, and several potential DNase I inhibitors were identified. After comparison, 2 hit compounds were selected and shown to protect against cisplatin-induced kidney cell death in vitro. This assay will be suitable for identifying inhibitors of DNase I and, potentially, other endonucleases.
- Automation of a Phospho-STAT5 Staining Procedure for Flow Cytometry for Application in Drug Discovery. [JOURNAL ARTICLE]
- J Biomol Screen 2014 Oct 16.
Drug discovery often requires the screening of compound libraries on tissue cultured cells. Some major targets in drug discovery belong to signal transduction pathways, and PerFix EXPOSE* allows easy flow cytometry phospho assays. We thus investigated the possibility to further simplify and automate this assay, to allow the direct screening of drugs targeting signaling pathways. We show here the sensitivity of this fully automated assay on human growth hormone (hGH)-driven JAK/STAT5-activated IM-9 cells, and we discuss the throughput of this system, which is compatible with medium-throughput drug screening. Because the kit works directly on whole blood samples, ex-vivo assays are also possible with this approach, which could allow for the screening of drugs under more physiological conditions.
- Fluorescence-Based Screening Assays for the NAD+-Dependent Histone Deacetylase smSirt2 from Schistosoma mansoni. [JOURNAL ARTICLE]
- J Biomol Screen 2014 Oct 16.
Sirtuins are NAD(+)-dependent histone deacetylases (HDACs) that cleave off acetyl but also other acyl groups from the ϵ-amino group of lysines in histones and other substrate proteins. Five sirtuin isoforms are encoded in the genome of the parasitic pathogen Schistosoma mansoni. During its life cycle, S. mansoni undergoes drastic changes in phenotype that are associated with epigenetic modifications. Previous work showed strong effects of hSirt2 inhibitors on both worm life span and reproduction. Thus, we postulate smSirt2 as a new antiparasite target. We report both the optimization of a homogeneous fluorescence-based assay and the development of a new heterogeneous fluorescence-based assay to determine smSirt2 activity. The homogeneous assay uses a coumarin-labeled acetyl lysine derivative, and the heterogeneous version is using a biotinylated and fluorescence-labeled oligopeptide. Magnetic streptavidin-coated beads allow higher substrate loading per well than streptavidin-coated microtiter plates and make it possible to screen for inhibitors of either smSirt2 or its human isoform (hSirt2) for selectivity studies. We also present hits from a pilot screen with inhibitors showing an IC50 lower than 50 µM. Binding of the hits to their targets is rationalized by docking studies using a homology model of smSirt2.
- Assays, Surrogates, and Alternative Technologies for a TB Lead Identification Program Targeting DNA Gyrase ATPase. [JOURNAL ARTICLE]
- J Biomol Screen 2014 Oct 9.
Mycobacterium tuberculosis (Mtb) DNA gyrase ATPase was the target of a tuberculosis drug discovery program. The low specific activity of the Mtb ATPase prompted the use of Mycobacterium smegmatis (Msm) enzyme as a surrogate for lead generation, since it had 20-fold higher activity. Addition of GyrA or DNA did not significantly increase the activity of the Msm GyrB ATPase, and an assay was developed using GyrB alone. Inhibition of the Msm ATPase correlated well with inhibition of Mtb DNA gyrase supercoiling across three chemical scaffolds, justifying its use. As the IC50 of compounds approached the enzyme concentration, surrogate assays were used to estimate potencies (e.g., the shift in thermal melt of Mtb GyrB, which correlated well with IC50s >10 nM). Analysis using the Morrison equation enabled determination of [Formula: see text]s in the sub-nanomolar range. Surface plasmon resonance was used to confirm these IC50s and measure the Kds of binding, but a fragment of Mtb GyrB had to be used. Across three scaffolds, the dissociation half life, t1/2, of the inhibitor-target complex was ≤8 min. This toolkit of assays was developed to track the potency of enzyme inhibition and guide the chemistry for progression of compounds in a lead identification program.
- A Magnetic Bead-Based Ligand Binding Assay to Facilitate Human Kynurenine 3-Monooxygenase Drug Discovery. [JOURNAL ARTICLE]
- J Biomol Screen 2014 Oct 8.
Human kynurenine 3-monooxygenase (KMO) is emerging as an important drug target enzyme in a number of inflammatory and neurodegenerative disease states. Recombinant protein production of KMO, and therefore discovery of KMO ligands, is challenging due to a large membrane targeting domain at the C-terminus of the enzyme that causes stability, solubility, and purification difficulties. The purpose of our investigation was to develop a suitable screening method for targeting human KMO and other similarly challenging drug targets. Here, we report the development of a magnetic bead-based binding assay using mass spectrometry detection for human KMO protein. The assay incorporates isolation of FLAG-tagged KMO enzyme on protein A magnetic beads. The protein-bound beads are incubated with potential binding compounds before specific cleavage of the protein-compound complexes from the beads. Mass spectrometry analysis is used to identify the compounds that demonstrate specific binding affinity for the target protein. The technique was validated using known inhibitors of KMO. This assay is a robust alternative to traditional ligand-binding assays for challenging protein targets, and it overcomes specific difficulties associated with isolating human KMO.
- A Novel In Vitro Approach for Simultaneous Evaluation of CYP3A4 Inhibition and Kinetic Aqueous Solubility. [JOURNAL ARTICLE]
- J Biomol Screen 2014 Oct 8.
In the early stages of the drug discovery process, evaluation of the drug metabolism and physicochemical properties of new chemical entities is crucial to prioritize those candidates displaying a better profile for further development. In terms of metabolism, drug-drug interactions mediated through CYP450 inhibition are a significant safety concern, and therefore the effect of new candidate drugs on CYP450 activity should be screened early. In the initial stages of drug discovery, when physicochemical properties such as aqueous solubility have not been optimized yet, there might be a large number of candidate compounds showing artificially low CYP450 inhibition, and consequently potential drug-drug interaction toxicity might be overlooked. In this work, we present a novel in vitro approach for simultaneous evaluation of CYP3A4 inhibition potential and kinetic aqueous solubility (NIVA-CYPI-KS). This new methodology is based on fluorogenic CYP450 activities and turbidimetric measurements for compound solubility, and it provides a significant improvement in the use of resources and a better understanding of CYP450 inhibition data.