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TITLES and AUTHORS
Archived formalin-fixed paraffin-embedded (FFPE) tissue collections represent a valuable informational resource for proteomic studies. Multiple FFPE core biopsies can be assembled in a single block to form tissue microarrays (TMAs). We describe a protocol for analyzing protein in FFPE -TMAs using matrix-assisted laser desorption/ionization (MALDI) imaging mass spectrometry (IMS). The workflow incorporates an antigen retrieval step following deparaffinization, in situ trypsin digestion, matrix application and then mass spectrometry signal acquisition. The direct analysis of FFPE -TMA tissue using IMS allows direct analysis of multiple tissue samples in a single experiment without extraction and purification of proteins. The advantages of high speed and throughput, easy sample handling and excellent reproducibility make this technology a favorable approach for the proteomic analysis of clinical research cohorts with large sample numbers. For example, TMA analysis of 300 FFPE cores would typically require 6 h of total time through data acquisition, not including data analysis.
The melanocortin MC4 receptor is a potential target for the development of drugs for both obesity and cachexia. Melanocortin MC4 receptor ligands known thus far are orthosteric agonists or antagonists, however the agonists, in particular, have generally exhibited unwanted side effects. For some receptors, allosteric modulators are expected to reduce side-effect profiles. To identify allosteric modulators of the melanocortin MC4 receptor, we created HEK293 cell lines coexpressing the human melanocortin MC4 receptor and a modified luciferase-based cAMP sensor. Monitoring luminescence as a readout of real-time intracellular cAMP concentration, we demonstrate that this cell line is able to report melanocortin agonist responses, as well as inverse agonist response to the physiological AgRP peptide. Based on the MC4R-GLO cell line, we developed an assay that was shown to meet HTS standards (Z′ = 0.50). A pilot screen run on the Microsource Spectrum compound library (n = 2000) successfully identified 62 positive modulators. This screen identified predicted families of compounds: β2AR agonists – the β2AR being endogenously expressed in HEK293 cells, an adenylyl cyclase activator and finally a distribution of phosphodiesterase (PDE) inhibitors well characterized or recently identified. In this last category, we identified a structural family of coumarin-derived compounds (imperatorin, osthol and prenyletin), along with deracoxib, a drug in veterinary use for its COX2 inhibitory properties. This latter finding unveiled a new off-target mechanism of action for deracoxib as a PDE inhibitor. Overall, these data are the first report of a HTS for allosteric modulators for a Gs protein coupled receptor.
D-cyclins are universally dysregulated in multiple myeloma and frequently overexpressed in leukemia. To better understand the role and impact of dysregulated D-cyclins in hematologic malignancies, we conducted a high-throughput screen for inhibitors of cyclin D2 transactivation and identified 8-ethoxy-2-(4-fluorophenyl)-3-nitro-2H-chromene (S14161), which inhibited the expression of cyclins D1, D2, and D3 and arrested cells at the G0/G1 phase. After D-cyclin suppression, S14161 induced apoptosis in myeloma and leukemia cell lines and primary patient samples preferentially over normal hematopoietic cells. In mouse models of leukemia, S14161 inhibited tumor growth without evidence of weight loss or gross organ toxicity. Mechanistically, S14161 inhibited the activity of phosphoinositide 3-kinase in intact cells and the activity of the phosphoinositide 3-kinases α, β, δ, and γ in a cell-free enzymatic assay. In contrast, it did not inhibit the enzymatic activities of other related kinases, including the mammalian target of rapamycin, the DNA-dependent protein kinase catalytic subunit, and phosphoinositide-dependent kinase-1. Thus, we identified a novel chemical compound that inhibits D-cyclin transactivation via the phosphoinositide 3-kinase/protein kinase B signaling pathway. Given its potent antileukemia and antimyeloma activity and minimal toxicity, S14161 could be developed as a novel agent for blood cancer therapy.
Dipeptidyl peptidase 1 (DPP1) (EC 22.214.171.124; also known as cathepsin C, cathepsin J, dipeptidyl aminopeptidase, and dipeptidyl aminotransferase) is a lysosomal cysteinyl protease of the papain family involved in the intracellular degradation of proteins. Isolated enzyme assays for DPP1 activity using a variety of synthetic substrates such as dipeptide or peptide linked to amino-methyl-coumarin (AMC) or other fluorophores are well established. There is, however, no report of a simple whole-cell-based assay for measuring lysosomal DPP1 activity other than the use of flow cytometry (fluorescence-activated cell sorting) or the use of invasive activity-based probes or the production of physiological products such as neutrophil elastase. The authors investigated a number of DPP1 fluorogenic substrates that have the potential to access the lysosome and enable the measurement of DPP1 enzyme activity in situ. They describe the development and evaluation of a simple noninvasive fluorescence assay for measuring DPP1 activity in fresh or cryopreserved human THP-1 cells using the substrate H-Gly-Phe-AFC (amino-fluoro-coumarin). This cell-based fluorescence assay can be performed in a 96-well plate format and is ideally suited for determining the cell potency of potential DPP1 enzyme inhibitors.
atients with melanoma metastatic to regional lymph nodes exhibit a range in tumor progression, survival, and treatment. Current approaches to stratify patients with this stage of disease predominantly involve clinical and histological methods. Molecular classification thus far has focused almost exclusively on genetic mutations. In this study, proteomic data from 69 melanoma lymph node metastases and 17 disease free lymph nodes acquired by histology-directed MALDI imaging mass spectrometry were used to classify tumor from control lymph node and to molecularly sub-classify patients with stage III disease. From these data, 12 survival associated protein signals and 3 recurrence associated signals in the acquired mass spectra were combined to generate a multiplex molecular signature to group patients into either poor or favorable groups for recurrence and survival. Proteins represented in the signature include cytochrome c, s100 A6, histone H4, and cleaved forms of thymosin β-4, thymosin β-10, and ubiquitin. In total over 40 protein signals from the tissue were identified.
Investigations of the human skin proteome by classical analytical procedures have not addressed spatial molecular distributions in whole skin biopsies. The aim of this study was to develop methods for detection of protein signatures and their spatial disposition in human skin using advanced molecular imaging technology based on mass spectrometry technologies. This technology allows for the generation of protein images at specific molecular weight values without the use of antibody while maintaining tissue architecture. Two experimental approaches were employed: MALDI-MS profiling, where mass spectra were taken from discrete locations based on histology, and MALDI-IMS imaging, where complete molecular images were obtained at various MW values. In addition, proteins were identified by in situ tryptic digestion, sequence analysis of the fragment peptides, and protein database searching. We have detected patterns of protein differences that exist between epidermis and dermis as well as subtle regional differences between the papillary and reticular dermis. Furthermore, we were able to detect proteins that are constitutive features of human skin as well as those associated with unique markers of individual variability.
Numerous bacterial pathogens, particularly those that colonize fast-flow areas in the bladder and gastrointestinal tract, require motility to establish infection and spread beyond the initially colonized tissue. Vibrio cholerae strains of serogroups O1 and O139, the causative agents of the diarrheal illness cholera, express a single polar flagellum powered by sodium motive force and require motility to colonize and spread along the small intestine. Therefore, motility may be an attractive target for small molecules that can prevent and/or block the infective process. In this study, we describe a high-throughput screening (HTS) assay to identify small molecules that selectively inhibit bacterial motility. The HTS assay was used to screen an ∼8,000-compound structurally diverse chemical library for inhibitors of V. cholerae motility. The screen identified a group of quinazoline-2,4-diamino analogs that completely suppressed motility without affecting the growth rate in broth. A further study on the effects of one analog, designated Q24DA, showed that it induces a flagellated but nonmotile (Mot−) phenotype and is specific for the Na+-driven flagellar motor of pathogenic Vibrio species. A mutation conferring phenamil-resistant motility did not eliminate inhibition of motility by Q24DA. Q24DA diminished the expression of cholera toxin and toxin-coregulated pilus as well as biofilm formation and fluid secretion in the rabbit ileal loop model. Furthermore, treatment of V. cholerae with Q24DA impacted additional phenotypes linked to Na+ bioenergetics, such as the function of the primary Na+ pump, Nqr, and susceptibility to fluoroquinolones. The above results clearly show that the described HTS assay is capable of identifying small molecules that specifically block bacterial motility. New inhibitors such as Q24DA may be instrumental in probing the molecular architecture of the Na+-driven polar flagellar motor and in studying the role of motility in the expression of other virulence factors.
Histone deacetylase (HDAC) enzymes modify the acetylation state of histones and other important proteins. Aberrant HDAC enzyme function has been implicated in many diseases, and the discovery and development of drugs targeting these enzymes is becoming increasingly important. In this article, the authors report the evaluation of homogeneous, single-addition, bioluminogenic HDAC enzyme activity assays that offer less assay interference by compounds in comparison to fluorescence-based formats. The authors assessed the key operational assay properties including sensitivity, scalability, reproducibility, signal stability, robustness (Z′), DMSO tolerance, and pharmacological response to standard inhibitors against HDAC-1, HDAC-3/NcoR2, HDAC-6, and SIRT-1 enzymes. These assays were successfully miniaturized to a 10 µL assay volume, and their suitability for high-throughput screening was tested in validation experiments using 640 drugs approved by the Food and Drug Administration and the Hypha Discovery MycoDiverse natural products library, which is a collection of 10 049 extracts and fractions from fermentations of higher fungi and contains compounds that are of low molecular weight and wide chemical diversity. Both of these screening campaigns confirmed that the bioluminogenic assay was high-throughput screening compatible and yielded acceptable performance in confirmation, counter, and compound/extract and fraction concentration-response assays.
Although reversible CYP3A inhibition testing is well established for predicting the drug-drug interaction potential of clinical candidates, time-dependent inhibition (TDI) has become the focus of drug designers only recently. Failure of several late-stage clinical candidates has been attributed to TDI, and this mechanism is also suspected to play a role in liver toxicities often observed in preclinical species. Measurement of enzyme inactivation rates (kinact and KI) is technically challenging, and a great deal of variability can be found in the literature. In this article, we have evaluated the TDI potential for 400 registered drugs using a high-throughput assay format based on determination of the inactivation rate (kobs) at a single concentration of test compound (10 M). The advantages of this new assay format are highlighted by comparison with data generated using the IC50 shift assay, a current standard approach for preliminary assessment of TDI. With use of an empirically defined positive/negative kobs bin of 0.02 min1, only 4% of registered drugs were found to be positive. This proportion increased to more than 20% when in-house lead optimization molecules were considered, emphasizing the importance of identifying this property in selection of promising drug candidates. Finally, it is suggested that the data and technology described here may be a good basis for building structure-activity relationships and in silico modeling.
Transforming growth factor β (TGF-β) type I receptor (activin receptor–like kinase 5, ALK5) has been identified as a promising target for fibrotic diseases. To find a novel inhibitor of ALK5, the authors performed a high-throughput screen of a library of 420 000 compounds using dephosphorylated ALK5. From primary hits of 1521 compounds, 555 compounds were confirmed. In total, 124 compounds were then selected for follow-up based on their unique structures and other properties. Repeated concentration–response testing and final interference assays of the above compounds resulted in the discovery of a structurally novel ALK5 inhibitor (compound 8) (N-(thiophen 2-ylmethyl)-3-(3,4,5 trimethoxyphenyl)imidazo[1,2β]pyridazin 6-amine) with a low IC50 value of 0.7 µM. Compound 8 also inhibited the TGF-β-induced nuclear translocation of SMAD with an EC50 value of 0.8 µM. Kinetic analysis revealed that compound 8 inhibited ALK5 via mixed-type inhibition, suggesting that it may bind to ALK5 differently than other published adenosine triphosphate site inhibitors.