featuring the Echo acoustic technology
TITLES and AUTHORS
Histone methyltransferases (HMT) catalyze the methylation of histone tail lysines, resulting in changes in gene transcription. Misregulation of these enzymes has been associated with various forms of cancer, making this target class a potential new area for the development of novel chemotherapeutics. EZH2 is the catalytic component of the polycomb group repressive complex (PRC2), which selectively methylates histone H3 lysine 27 (H3K27). EZH2 is overexpressed in prostate, breast, bladder, brain, and other tumor types and is recognized as a molecular marker for cancer progression and aggressiveness. Several new reagents and assays were developed to aid in the identification of EZH2 inhibitors, and these were used to execute two high-throughput screening campaigns. Activity assays using either an H3K27 peptide or nucleosomes as substrates for methylation are described. The strategy to screen EZH2 with either a surrogate peptide or a natural substrate led to the identification of the same tractable series. Compounds from this series are reversible, are [3H]-S-adenosyl-L-methionine competitive, and display biochemical inhibition of H3K27 methylation.
In recent years, the increased use of cell-based functional assays for G protein-coupled receptors in high-throughput screening has enabled the design of robust assays to identify allosteric modulators (AMs) in addition to the more traditional orthosteric agonists and antagonists. In this article, the authors describe a screening format able to identify all ligand types using a triple-add assay that measures changes in cytosolic calcium concentration with three separate additions and reads in the same assay plate. This triple-add assay captures more small molecule ligand types than previously described assay formats without a significant increase in screening cost. Finally, the customizability of the triple-add assay to suit the needs of various AM screening programs is demonstrated.
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 184.108.40.206; 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.