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1.  Modification and Functional Inhibition of Regulator of G-Protein Signaling 4 (RGS4) by 4-Hydroxy-2-nonenal 
Chemical research in toxicology  2013;26(12):1832-1839.
Oxidative stress has been implicated as a component of various pathologies including ischemia/reperfusion injury (IRI) and neurodegenerative diseases such as Parkinson's disease (PD) and schizophrenia. Similarly, regulator of G-protein signaling 4 (RGS4) has been implicated as an important player in each of these pathologies. RGS4, like other RGS proteins, is responsible for temporally regulating G-protein coupled receptor signaling by increasing the intrinsic GTPase activity of Gα subunit of the heterotrimeric signaling complex. In this study we evaluated whether modification by 4-hydroxy-2-nonenal (4HNE), a common lipid peroxidation product, inhibits RGS4. Using immunoprecipitation, we first determined RGS4 modification was occurring in cells at concentrations of 4HNE within reported physiological conditions. Following this determination, we evaluated modification of RGS4 by 4HNE by both Western blot and mass spectrometry (MS). Once it was established that covalent modification occurred only on cysteine containing constructs, tryptic digest followed by mass spectrometry analysis revealed modification occurs at cysteine residues 71, 148, and 183. In order to determine the effect 4HNE had on RGS4 activity, a steady-state colorimetric assay was used to analyze the GAP activity of Δ51-RGS4 as well as the cysteine null mutant. From the data, we determined that RGS4 activity can be modulated by 4HNE through modification at cysteine residues similar to previously reported small molecule inhibition of RGS4.
PMCID: PMC4441825  PMID: 24229325
2.  RGS17: an emerging therapeutic target for lung and prostate cancers 
Future medicinal chemistry  2013;5(9):10.4155/fmc.13.91.
Ligands for G-protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs) represent approximately 50% of currently marketed drugs. RGS proteins modulate heterotrimeric G proteins and, thus, GPCR signaling, by accelerating the intrinsic GTPase activity of the Gα subunit. Given the prevalence of GPCR targeted therapeutics and the role RGS proteins play in G protein signaling, some RGS proteins are emerging as targets in their own right. One such RGS protein is RGS17. Increased RGS17 expression in some prostate and lung cancers has been demonstrated to support cancer progression, while reduced expression of RGS17 can lead to development of chemotherapeutic resistance in ovarian cancer. High-throughput screening is a powerful tool for lead compound identification, and utilization of high-throughput technologies has led to the discovery of several RGS inhibitors, thus far. As screening technologies advance, the identification of novel lead compounds the subsequent development of targeted therapeutics appears promising.
PMCID: PMC3865709  PMID: 23734683
3.  Real-time monitoring of tyrosine hydroxylase activity using a plate reader assay 
Analytical biochemistry  2012;432(1):11-15.
Tyrosine hydroxylase (TH) is the rate-limiting step in dopamine (DA) synthesis, oxidizing tyrosine to l-DOPA, which is further metabolized to DA. Current assays for monitoring activity of this enzyme require extensive work-up, require long analysis time, and measure end points, thereby lacking real-time kinetics. This work presents the development of the first real-time colorimetric assay for determining the activity of TH using a plate reader. The production of l-DOPA is followed using sodium periodate to oxidize l-DOPA to the chromophore dopachrome, which can be monitored at 475 nm. Advantages to this method include decreased sample analysis time, shorter assay work-up, and the ability to run a large number of samples at one time. Furthermore, the assay was adapted for high-throughput screening and demonstrated an excellent Z-factor (>0.8), indicating suitability of this assay for high-throughput analysis. Overall, this novel assay reduces analysis time, increases sample number, and allows for the study of activity using real-time kinetics.
PMCID: PMC3579528  PMID: 23010244
Tyrosine hydroxylase; Real-time assay; Plate reader; Dopachrome; High-throughput screening
4.  RABL6A, a Novel RAB-Like Protein, Controls Centrosome Amplification and Chromosome Instability in Primary Fibroblasts 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(11):e80228.
RABL6A (RAB-like 6 isoform A) is a novel protein that was originally identified based on its association with the Alternative Reading Frame (ARF) tumor suppressor. ARF acts through multiple p53-dependent and p53-independent pathways to prevent cancer. How RABL6A functions, to what extent it depends on ARF and p53 activity, and its importance in normal cell biology are entirely unknown. We examined the biological consequences of RABL6A silencing in primary mouse embryo fibroblasts (MEFs) that express or lack ARF, p53 or both proteins. We found that RABL6A depletion caused centrosome amplification, aneuploidy and multinucleation in MEFs regardless of ARF and p53 status. The centrosome amplification in RABL6A depleted p53−/− MEFs resulted from centrosome reduplication via Cdk2-mediated hyperphosphorylation of nucleophosmin (NPM) at threonine-199. Thus, RABL6A prevents centrosome amplification through an ARF/p53-independent mechanism that restricts NPM-T199 phosphorylation. These findings demonstrate an essential role for RABL6A in centrosome regulation and maintenance of chromosome stability in non-transformed cells, key processes that ensure genomic integrity and prevent tumorigenesis.
PMCID: PMC3839920  PMID: 24282525
5.  Expression and purification of recombinant human tyrosine hydroxylase as a fusion protein in Escherichia coli 
Tyrosine hydroxylase is the rate-limiting step in the synthesis of dopamine and is tightly regulated. Previous studies have shown it to be covalently modified and potently inhibited by 3,4-dihydroxyphenylacetaldehyde (DOPAL), an endogenous neurotoxin via dopamine catabolism which is relevant to Parkinson’s disease. In order to elucidate the mechanism of enzyme inhibition, a source of pure, active tyrosine hydroxylase was necessary. The cloning and novel purification of human recombinant TH from Escherichia coli is described here. This procedure led to the recovery of ~23 mg of pure, active and stable enzyme exhibiting a specific activity of ~17 nmol/min/mg. The enzyme produced with this procedure can be used to delineate the tyrosine hydroxylase inhibition by DOPAL and its relationship to Parkinson’s disease. This procedure improves upon previous methods because the fusion protein gives rise to high expression and convenient affinity-capture, and the cleaved and highly purified hTH makes the product useful for a wider variety of applications.
PMCID: PMC3525113  PMID: 22659380
Human tyrosine hydroxylase; Escherichia coli; Cloning and purification
6.  A High Throughput Screen for RGS Proteins Using Steady State Monitoring of Free Phosphate Formation 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(4):e62247.
G-protein coupled receptors are a diverse group that are the target of over 50% of marketed drugs. Activation of these receptors results in the exchange of bound GDP for GTP in the Gα subunit of the heterotrimeric G-protein. The Gα subunit dissociates from the β/γ subunits and both proceed to affect downstream signaling targets. The signal terminates by the hydrolysis of GTP to GDP and is temporally regulated by Regulators of G-protein Signaling (RGS) proteins that act as GTPase Activating Proteins (GAPs). This makes RGS proteins potentially desirable targets for “tuning” the effects of current therapies as well as developing novel pharmacotherapies. Current methods for evaluating RGS activity depend on laborious and/or expensive techniques. In this study we developed a simple and inexpensive assay for the steady state analysis of RGS protein GAP activity, using RGS4, RGS8 and RGS17 as models. Additionally, we report the use of RGS4 as a model for high throughput assay development. After initial setup, this assay can be conducted in a highly parallel fashion with a read time of less than 8 minutes for a 1536-well plate. The assay exhibited a robust Z-factor of 0.6 in a 1536-well plate. We conducted a pilot screen for inhibitors using a small, 2320 compound library. From this screen, 13 compounds were identified as compounds for further analysis. The successful development of this assay for high-throughput screening provides a low cost, high speed, simple method for assessing RGS protein activity.
PMCID: PMC3633906  PMID: 23626793
7.  Regulators of G protein signaling (RGS) Proteins as Drug Targets: Modulating GPCR Signal Transduction 
Journal of medicinal chemistry  2011;54(21):7433-7440.
PMCID: PMC3208131  PMID: 21916427
RGS; G protein; serotonin; dopamine; academic drug discovery; novel target; flow cytometry
8.  Differential modulation of mu-opioid receptor signaling to adenylyl cyclase by RGS proteins 4 or 8 and 7 in permeabilised C6 cells is Gα subtype dependent 
Journal of neurochemistry  2009;112(4):1026-1034.
Regulators of G protein signaling (RGS) proteins act as GTPase accelerating proteins (GAPs) to negatively modulate G protein signaling and are defined by a conserved RGS domain with considerable amino acid diversity. To determine the effects of specific, purified RGS proteins on mu-opioid signaling, C6 cells stably expressing a mu-opioid receptor were rendered permeable to proteins by treatment with digitonin. Mu-opioid inhibition of forskolin-stimulated adenylyl cyclase (AC) by DAMGO, a mu-specific opioid peptide, remained fully intact in permeabilized cells. Purified RGS domain of RGS4 added to permeabilized cells resulted in a two-fold loss in DAMGO potency but had no effect in cells expressing RGS-insensitive G proteins. The inhibitory effect of DAMGO was reduced to the same extent by purified RGS4 and RGS8. In contrast, the RGS domain of RGS7 had no effect and inhibited the action of RGS8 due to weak physical association with Gαi2 and minimal GAP activity in C6 cell membranes. These data suggest that differences in conserved RGS domains of specific RGS proteins contribute to differential regulation of opioid signaling to AC and that a permeabilized cell model is useful for studying the effects of specific RGS proteins on aspects of G protein-coupled receptor signaling.
PMCID: PMC2947325  PMID: 20002516
RGS proteins; mu-opioid; adenylyl cyclase; permeabilization; Gα proteins
9.  Use of Flow Cytometric Methods to Quantify Protein-Protein Interactions 
A method is described for the quantitative analysis of protein-protein interactions using the Flow Cytometry Protein Interaction Assay (FCPIA). This method is based upon immobilizing protein on a polystyrene bead, incubating these beads with a fluorescently labeled binding partner, and assessing the sample for bead-associated fluorescence in a flow cytometer. This method can be used to calculate protein-protein interaction affinities or to perform competition experiments with unlabeled binding partners or small molecules. Examples described in this protocol highlight the use of this assay in the quantification of the affinity of binding partners of the Regulator of G-Protein Signaling protein, RGS19, in either a saturation or competition format. An adaptation of this method that is compatible for High Throughput screening is also provided.
PMCID: PMC2849137  PMID: 20069525
RGS; G protein; Protein-Protein Interaction; FCPIA; High Throughput Screening; Multiplexing
10.  Novel Peptide Ligands of RGS4 from a Focused One-Bead, One-Compound Library 
Chemical biology & drug design  2008;72(2):111-119.
Regulators of G Protein Signaling (RGS) accelerate GTP hydrolysis by Gα subunits and profoundly inhibit signaling by G protein-coupled receptors. The distinct expression patterns and pathophysiologic regulation of RGS proteins suggest that inhibitors may have therapeutic potential. We previously reported the design, mechanistic evaluation and structure-activity relationships (SAR) of a disulfide-containing cyclic peptide inhibitor of RGS4, YJ34 (Ac-Val-Lys-c[Cys-Thr-Gly-Ile-Cys]-Glu-NH2, S-S) (Roof, et al. Chem Biol Drug Des 2006; 67:266-274). Using a focused one-bead, one-compound (OBOC) peptide library that contains features known to be necessary for the activity of YJ34, we now identify peptides that bind to RGS4. Six peptides showed confirmed binding to RGS4 by flow cytometry. Two analogs of peptide 2, (Gly-Thr-c[Cys-Phe-Gly-Thr-Cys]-Trp-NH2, S-S with a free or acetylated N-terminus) inhibited RGS4-stimulated Gαo GTPase activity at 25–50 μM. They selectively inhibit RGS4 but not RGS7, RGS16 and RGS19. Their inhibition of RGS4 does not depend on cysteine-modification of RGS4, as they do not lose activity when all cysteines are removed from RGS4. Peptide 2 has been modeled to fit in the same binding pocket predicted for YJ34 but in the reverse orientation.
PMCID: PMC2917810  PMID: 18637987
One-Bead; One-Compound Library (OBOC); Focused library; Regulators of G-Protein Signaling (RGS); Protein-protein interaction (PPI) inhibitors; Structure-activity relationship (SAR)
11.  Polyplexed FCPIA (Flow Cytometry Protein Interaction Assay): A Novel High Throughput Screening Paradigm For RGS Protein Inhibitors 
Journal of biomolecular screening  2009;14(6):610-619.
Intracellular signaling cascades are a series of regulated protein-protein interactions that may provide a number of targets for potential drug discovery. Here, we examine the interaction of Regulators of G protein signaling (RGS) proteins with the G protein Gαo, using a flow cytometry protein interaction assay (FCPIA). FCPIA accurately measures nanomolar binding constants of this protein-protein interaction, and has been used in high throughput screening. This report focuses on five RGS proteins (4, 6, 7, 8 and 16). In order to increase the content of screens, we assessed high throughput screening of these RGS proteins in multiplex, by establishing binding constants of each RGS with Gαo in isolation, and then in a multiplex format with five RGS proteins present. In order to use this methodology as a higher-content multiplex protein-protein interaction screen, we established Z' factor values for RGS proteins in multiplex of 0.73 to 0.92, indicating this method is suitable for screening using FCPIA. To increase throughput, we also compressed a set of 8,000 compounds by combining 4 compounds in a single assay well. Subsequent deconvolution of the compounds mixtures verified the identification of active compounds at specific RGS targets in our mixtures using the polyplexed FCPIA method.
PMCID: PMC2908316  PMID: 19531661
G protein; RGS; Flow Cytometry; FCPIA; High throughput screening
12.  Microfabricated Channel Array Electrophoresis for Rapid Characterization and Screening of Enzymes using RGS-G Protein Interactions as a Model System 
Analytical chemistry  2008;80(13):5225-5231.
A microfluidic chip consisting of parallel channels designed for rapid electrophoretic enzyme assays was developed. Radial arrangement of channels and a common waste channel allowed chips with 16 and 36 electrophoresis units to be fabricated on a 7.62 × 7.62 cm glass substrate. Fluorescence detection was achieved using a Xe arc lamp source and commercial CCD camera to image migrating analyte zones in individual channels. Chip performance was evaluated by performing electrophoretic assays for G protein GTPase activity on chip using BODIPY-GTP as enzyme substrate. A 16-channel design proved to be useful in extracting kinetic information by allowing serial electrophoretic assays from 16 different enzyme reaction mixtures at 20 s intervals in parallel. This system was used to rapidly determine enzyme concentrations, optimal enzymatic reaction conditions, and Michaelis-Menton constants. A chip with 36 channels was used for screening for modulators of the G protein: RGS protein interaction by assaying the amount of product formed in enzyme reaction mixtures that contained test compounds. 36 electrophoretic assays were performed in 30 s suggesting the potential throughput up to 4,320 assays per hour with appropriate sample handling procedures. Both designs showed excellent reproducibility of peak migration time and peak area. Relative standard deviations of normalized peak area of enzymatic product BODIPY-GDP were 5% and 11% respectively in the 16 and 36-channel designs.
PMCID: PMC2597779  PMID: 18465881
13.  A covalent peptide inhibitor of RGS4 identified in a focused one-bead, one compound library screen 
BMC Pharmacology  2009;9:9.
Regulators of G protein signaling (RGSs) accelerate GTP hydrolysis by Gα subunits and profoundly inhibit signaling by G protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs). The distinct expression patterns and pathophysiologic regulation of RGS proteins suggest that inhibitors may have therapeutic potential. We recently described a focused one-bead, one-compound (OBOC) library screen to identify peptide inhibitors of RGS4. Here we extend our observations to include another peptide with a different mechanism of action.
Peptide 5nd (Tyr-Trp-c [Cys-Lys-Gly-Leu-Cys]-Lys-NH2, S-S) blocks the RGS4-Gαo interaction with an IC50 of 28 μM. It forms a covalent, dithiothreitol (DTT) sensitive adduct with a mass consistent with the incorporation of one peptide per RGS. Peptide 5nd activity is abolished by either changing its disulfide bridge to a methylene dithioether bridge, which cannot form disulfide bridges to the RGS, or by removing all cysteines from the RGS protein. However, no single cysteine in RGS4 is completely necessary or sufficient for 5nd activity.
Though it has some RGS selectivity, 5nd appears to be a partially random cysteine modifier. These data suggest that it inhibits RGS4 by forming disulfide bridges with the protein.
PMCID: PMC2700083  PMID: 19463173

Results 1-13 (13)