Interactions of an Anti-Sickling Drug with Hemoglobin in Red Blood Cells from a Patient with Sickle Cell Anemia.Bioconjug Chem. 2019 03 20; 30(3):568-571.BC
The pathophysiology associated with sickle cell disease (SCD) includes hemolytic anemia, vaso-occlusive events, and ultimately end organ damage set off by the polymerization of deoxygenated hemoglobin S (HbS) into long fibers and sickling of red blood cells (RBCs). One approach toward mitigating HbS polymerization is to pharmacologically stabilize the oxygenated (R) conformation of HbS and thereby reduce sickling frequency and SCD pathology. GBT440 is an α-subunit-specific modifying agent that has recently been reported to increase HbS oxygen binding affinity and consequently delay in vitro polymerization. In addition, animal model studies have demonstrated the potential for GBT440 to be a suitable therapeutic for daily oral dosing in humans. Here, we report an optimized method for detecting GBT440 intermediates in human patient hemolysate using a combination of HPLC and mass spectrometry analysis. First, oxygen dissociation curves (ODCs) analyzed from patient blood showed that oxygen affinity increased in a dose dependent manner. Second, HPLC and integrated mass spectrometric analysis collectively confirmed that GBT440 labeling was specific to the α N-terminus thereby ruling out other potential ligand binding sites. Finally, the results from this optimized analytical approach allowed us to detect a stable α-specific GBT440 adduct in the patient's hemolysate in a dose dependent manner. The results and methods presented in this report could therefore potentially help therapeutic monitoring of GBT440 induced oxygen affinity and reveal critical insight into the biophysical properties of GBT440 Hb complexes.