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1.  A Reversible and Highly Selective Inhibitor of the Proteasomal Ubiquitin Receptor Rpn13 Is Toxic To Multiple Myeloma Cells 
The proteasome is a multi-subunit complex responsible for most non-lysosomal turnover of proteins in eukaryotic cells. Proteasome inhibitors are of great interest clinically, particularly for the treatment of multiple myeloma (MM). Unfortunately, resistance arises almost inevitably to these active site-targeted drugs. One strategy to overcome this resistance is to inhibit other steps in the protein turnover cascade mediated by the proteasome. Previously, Anchoori et al. identified Rpn13 as the target of an electrophilic compound (RA-190) that was selectively toxic to MM cells (Cancer Cell 24, 791–805 (2013)), suggesting that this sub-unit of the proteasome is also a viable cancer drug target. Here we describe the discovery of the first highly selective, reversible Rpn13 ligands and show that they are also selectively toxic to MM cells. These data strongly support the hypothesis that Rpn13 is a viable target for the development of drugs to treat MM and other cancers.
PMCID: PMC4455945  PMID: 25914958
Multiple myeloma; proteasome; Rpn13; peptoid; combinatorial chemistry; peptoid
2.  Discovery of Native Autoantigens via Antigen Surrogate Technology: Application to Type 1 Diabetes 
ACS Chemical Biology  2014;10(2):401-412.
A fundamental goal in understanding the mechanisms of autoimmune disease is the characterization of autoantigens that are targeted by autoreactive antibodies and T cells. Unfortunately, the identification of autoantigens is a difficult problem. We have begun to explore a novel route to the discovery of autoantibody/autoantigen pairs that involves comparative screening of combinatorial libraries of unnatural, synthetic molecules for compounds that bind antibodies present at much higher levels in the serum of individuals with a given autoimmune disease than in the serum of control individuals. We have shown that this approach can yield “antigen surrogates” capable of capturing disease-specific autoantibodies from serum. In this report, we demonstrate that the synthetic antigen surrogates can be used to affinity purify the autoantibodies from serum and that these antibodies can then be used to identify their cognate autoantigen in an appropriate tissue lysate. Specifically, we report the discovery of a peptoid able to bind autoantibodies present in about one-third of nonobese diabetic (NOD) mice. The peptoid-binding autoantibodies were highly enriched through peptoid affinity chromatography and employed to probe mouse pancreatic and brain lysates. This resulted in identification of murine GAD65 as the native autoantigen. GAD65 is a known humoral autoantigen in human type 1 diabetes mellitus (T1DM), but its existence in mice had been controversial. This study demonstrates the potential of this chemical approach for the unbiased identification of autoantigen/autoantibody complexes.
PMCID: PMC4339956  PMID: 25474415
3.  Utility of Redundant Combinatorial Libraries in Distinguishing High and Low Quality Screening Hits 
ACS Combinatorial Science  2014;16(6):259-270.
Large one-bead one-compound (OBOC) combinatorial libraries can be constructed relatively easily by solid-phase split and pool synthesis. The use of resins with hydrophilic surfaces, such as TentaGel, allows the beads to be used directly in screens for compounds that bind selectively to labeled proteins, nucleic acids, or other biomolecules. However, we have found that this method, while useful, has a high false positive rate. In other words, beads that are scored as hits often display compounds that prove to be poor ligands for the target of interest when they are resynthesized and carried through validation trials. This results in a significant waste of time and resources in cases where putative hits cannot be validated without resynthesis. Here, we report that this problem can be largely eliminated through the use of redundant OBOC libraries, where more than one bead displaying the same compound is present in the screen. We show that compounds isolated more than once are likely to be high quality ligands for the target of interest, whereas compounds isolated only once have a much higher likelihood of being poor ligands. While the use of redundant libraries does limit the number of unique compounds that can be screened at one time in this format, the overall savings in time, effort, and materials makes this a more efficient route to the isolation of useful ligands for biomolecules.
PMCID: PMC4053090  PMID: 24749624
OBOC library; peptoids; redundant library; nonspecific binding; antibody screen; antigen surrogate; serum screen
4.  An Ultra-High Throughput Cell-Based Screen for Wee1 Degradation Inhibitors 
Journal of biomolecular screening  2010;15(8):907-917.
The tyrosine kinase Wee1 is part of a key cellular sensing mechanism that signals completion of DNA replication, ensuring proper timing of entry into mitosis. Wee1 acts as an inhibitor of mitotic entry by phosphorylating cyclin-dependent kinase CDK1. Wee1 activity is mainly regulated at the protein level through its phosphorylation and subsequent degradation by the ubiquitin proteasome pathway. To facilitate identification of small molecules preventing Wee1 degradation, a homogeneous cell-based assay was developed using HeLa cells transiently transfected with a Wee1-Luciferase fusion protein. To insure uHTS compatibility, the assay was scaled to 1,536-well plate format and cells were transfected in bulk and cryopreserved. This miniaturized homogenous assay demonstrated robust performance, with a calculated Z′ factor of 0.65±0.05. The assay was screened against a publicly available library of ~218,000 compounds in order to identify Wee1 stabilizers. Nonselective, cytotoxic and promiscuous compounds were rapidly triaged through the use of a similarly formatted counterscreen that measured stabilization of a N-cyclin B-Luciferase fusion protein, as well as execution of viability assessment in the parental HeLa cell line. This screening campaign led to the discovery of four unrelated cell-permeable small molecules that showed selective Wee1-Luciferase stabilization with micromolar potency. One of these compounds, SID4243143, was shown to inhibit cell cycle progression, underscoring the importance of Wee1 degradation to the cell cycle. Our results suggest that this uHTS approach is suitable for identifying selective chemical probes that prevent Wee1 degradation, and generally applicable to discovering inhibitors of the ubiquitin proteasome pathway.
PMCID: PMC3082437  PMID: 20660794
Wee1; degradation; stabilizer; reporter assay; transient transfection; cryopreserved cells; ubiquitin; proteasome

Results 1-4 (4)